Imagineering CEO Khurrum Dhanji Discusses New AS9100 Guidebook

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Imagineering is the kind of company I like: a company that sees a need and fills it, identifies a challenge and meets it. I have had many conversations with President and CFO Parvin Dhanji, CEO Khurrum Dhanji, and other team members and I always come away very impressed with their dedication to their community, associates, and customers. That’s why it was no surprise to me that they teamed with I-Connect007 to publish this long overdue guide to AS9100, The Printed Circuit Buyer's Guide to...AS9100 Certification

I have read the book and found it to be just what the doctor ordered in terms of answering all the right questions and taking the mystery out of this certification. To those of you who have anything to do with AS9100, I would urge you to download and read it as soon as you can. After reading the book I wanted to learn more about it: What was the back story? Why was it written and for whom was it written? I reached out to author Khurrum Dhanji to get his insights on this book. 

Dan: Khurrum, this must be an exciting time for you with the new book being published. First, why publish this book right now? 

Khurrum: Before I answer your question, I just want to thank you for taking the time to sit with me and discuss this book, which has been a long time in the making. I don’t mean to embarrass you, but you have been a source of inspiration for me for over 25 years, I have read all your articles and made sure that all my sales people read them too. You have been a tour de force in our industry, so thank you for taking time for this interview; it means a lot to me. 

Now, to answer your question, yes, it is always exciting around here. We are in such a dynamic industry, technology is changing on a weekly basis, and an it has been an evolution of process and engineering coming together. This certification has validated what we have been doing here for last 32 years: quality, workmanship, and pride are commonly used phrases at Imagineering. We have continually raised the bar here and it shows. 

As we were going through our certification process I started to make lots of notes which ended up becoming a guide—a guide that I did not mind sharing with other companies and even with my competitors. I believe that the only way we can get strong as an industry is by sharing our resources. We should be competing with the overseas market and not with each other. The demand in the aerospace market has been increasing over the years and I believe that trend will continue, and even accelerate in the current administration. 

Dan: Khurrum, what is your background and how long have you been in our business? 

Khurrum: I've been with Imagineering for more than 15 years now and have been involved with everything from shipping to purchasing. I've dabbled in sales and AP/AR and finally made my way to upper management. I wanted to understand every facet of this business before I took over as CEO. So it has been a long time coming. 

Dan: Tell us something about the company. 

Khurrum: How much time do you have [laughs]? With over 30 years of experience in the PCB contract manufacturing industry, with a customer list that includes technology leaders such as Whirlpool, Siemens, Motorola, Honeywell, and GE., Imagineering is known for its same-day prototype and aggressive quick-turn offering and is proud to be one of the industry pioneers in creating a truly web-based approach to the quoting and ordering of PCBs, components and assembly—all at one place and all at one time. By the way, only 40% of what we do is considered prototypes; the rest are small- to medium-volume production. I jokingly say that we are in quick turn proto-duction business. 

Dan: Can you explain to me what exactly AS9100 is and why is it important? 

Khurrum: AS9100 is a quality standard required by the aerospace industry. This certification is an internationally recognized standard focused on quality requirements necessary in the defense and aerospace industry. The AS9100 is a technical specification aiming to the development of a quality management system for the aerospace industry. It provides for continued improvement, emphasizing defect prevention and the reduction of variation and waste. AS9100 fully incorporates the ISO 9001 standard.

Dan: What kind of end-customers are requiring AS9100? 

Khurrum: Not just the customers in aerospace, but also the customers who are OEMs and just want it for qualification to penetrate into aerospace so they can increase their market share. So really, it is open to everyone. 

Dan: Who was this book written for?  

Khurrum: Like I said, I just wanted to share it with everyone, people who are in this industry, outsiders, or those trying to get their feet wet in this industry. 

Dan: As the title indicates, this is primarily for people who are buying AS9100 PCBs, right? But I would think it would be useful for others as well? 

Khurrum: Yes, it’s pretty non-technical, and it’s meant for novices all the way up to the buyers. 

Dan: What is the difference between AS9100-certified boards and others that are say Mil-P-55110 certified? 

Khurrum: Interesting question. The short answer is that AS9100 is more process- and systems-oriented while Mil-P-55110 is more product-driven, although I must say, as I’m sure you’re aware, 55110 is now being replaced by 31032, which will put some of the product responsibility on the fabricators. They will be doing more product reliability testing than the old 55110 where you had to send product out to DESC labs to be tested. AS9100, which this book is about, is like ISO on steroids. It is much more involved with a company’s systems and how they are controlled. AS9100 also involves more team members working in TRB’s and always searching for ways to increase the system and process efficiencies and handle risk management. 

Dan: That is exactly what I wanted to know. One last question: How do you expect this year to evolve? 

Khurrum: We are very optimistic going into 2017. We ended last year on high note and we expect that to continue. As you know Dan, we are a truly global company so instead of being hindered by what is going on in the world we can take advantage of what is going on and bring to our customers the best value possible. 

Dan: I get it. Very good. Once again, congratulations on the new book and all the best to you, your family, and your company in 2017. 

Khurrum: Thank you, Dan, and the same to you. 

To get your own free download of The Printed Circuit Buyer's Guide to...™ AS9100 Certification, click here


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