CAVU Café: Royboy’s Prose & Cons

*Note: The views expressed in CAVU Café: Royboy’s Prose & Cons blog are those solely of the writer and are not necessarily shared by the Aviation Suppliers Association or the Association’s staff, members, or Board of Directors.

   About Roy Resto


In the Aviation/Aerospace industry, Manufacturers, Airlines, AMO/Repair Stations, and Distributors all conduct Receiving and Shipping Inspections of their aircraft parts. I have experience with all of these, so I thought I’d share some critical observations. First a little sarcastic humor from the distributor community:

  • Salesman: “I meet my quotas by buying everything as quickly as I can issue PO’s. If it gets through my Receiving Inspectors it must be good…”
  • Salesman: “I secretly drop ship everything, so I have nothing rejected by my Receiving Inspectors.”
  • Salesman: “Keep me on the roster so I can sign my own Material Certs and C of C’s in case an Inspector is not around or rejects my order.”
  • Salesman: “I make the company the most money by having the highest sales, so I insist on having admin rights on our ERP system to bypass the controls on the Approved Suppliers. QA can catch up and fix it later.”
  • Shipping and Receiving Inspectors: “The salesmen with the highest numbers are the biggest violators of processes, procedures, and policy; management blinks their eyes at this. Their silence reinforces bad behavior…”

Perhaps I was a little too liberal in my use of the word ‘humor’ in characterizing those quotes, but indeed these behaviors exist and are seldom spoken of in the open. We’ll come back to this later in the Chain of Command/Org Chart paragraph.


Before I get started, I want to draw your attention to the ASA’s new on-line training courses. Keep this link in your favorites or bookmarked, since new courses will continue to be added or updated. I also mention it since it’s our intention to post some courses about Receiving and Shipping Inspections. This article is a warmup for those courses.


Fundamentally, most of the functions performed during receiving and shipping are the same. For example, entries in the ERP system, documentation review, and visual inspection. The simple essential difference between the two are illustrated below:

We’ll address these in the Documentation section, but next let’s examine visual and documentation inspections.


As recently as the early 1990’s there existed great emphasis on performing a thorough visual inspection of the part. Along came ‘Bogus Parts’, SUPs, and Trace requirements, and there was a pronounced shift to the importance of documentation. Since then there has been a noticeable atrophy in visual inspection skills. Excuses include that the inspector is not a certified maintenance technician or mechanic, and therefore should not be expected to perform an acceptable level of visual inspections. I’ve also seen where some inspectors are shy or fearful about removing the caps from ESD parts to inspect the pins, even though they have a functional ESD station!

Do you need to be a certified maintenance technician or mechanic to spot these?


It’s my opinion that it takes about three years before being fully confident in the skills of a new inspector in reviewing documentation, particularly in the aftermarket. Much less qualification time is involved if all you’re doing is receiving new (as in factory new) parts, so for the purpose of this article I’ll stick to the more troublesome aftermarket scenarios.

By the way, as a side discussion, permit me to engage in a bit of whingeing regarding that pesky term ‘Factory New’, or FN. We continue to see the occasional use of this term even though it is nowhere defined by an authoritative source. If it just came off the assembly line to you, no one will debate that it’s Factory New. On the other hand, if it came you to off the assembly line and you’ve had it in stock for 5 years, is it still FN? In my opinion the issue can be settled with the answer to one question; is it still under the manufacturer’s warranty? If yes, it is still FN. Back to our topic.

Regarding documentation, there is a fundamental rule Royboy continually harps on: Documentation regarding the condition of the part and documentation regarding trace are separate and distinct! For example, you may have a beautiful EASA Form 1 for an Overhauled Part, but the company listed on the Form 1 is the AMO who performed the overhaul. The Trace in nearly all cases is to another entity. The exception being when you purchased the part from the AMO who also overhauled it (145 trace), or you have an 8130-3 from the manufacturer (PAH/DAH/POA trace) for a new part.

Problematic issues with documentation in the aftermarket include the following:

  • The paperwork states trace to an FAA 129 Air Carrier, but cross checking cannot confirm this.
  • The condition of the part is AR for As-Removed, but there is no trace to whatever the part was removed from.
  • There are gaps in the trace.
  • The Terms and Conditions of your PO/RO were not met. For example, you required a Dual Release or shelf life restrictions, and these were not met.
  • The part came from a disassembly/teardown project, but there is no removal tag or manifest (or equivalent) for the part.
  • The part being sold is from an exchange transaction but trace to the removed-from asset is lacking.
  • Issues with documentation for Life Limited Parts.


Business Law 101: You enter into an agreement to buy or sell through the instrument of a Purchase Order; is the PO a contract? YES! Are the T&Cs a part of the contract? YES!

The language on T&Cs varies widely from single sentences to as much as 5 pages, or links to the 5 pages as contained on a website (I’m sure those are all carefully read).

I’ve seen much too often that the only portion of the POs being reviewed are for qty, price, and part number. These are all critical but what about those T&Cs?

On Receiving Inspections, you are checking that your own T&Cs were met. On Shipping Inspections, that the customer’s T&Cs were met.

Customer T&Cs that are commonly overlooked include the following:

  • The customer asked for a dual release, only a single release was provided.
  • There are directions on PMA usage. Did you flow this down on your RO for the part?
  • There are directions on DER repairs. Did you flow this down on your RO for the part?
  • There are specified requirements for documentation for new and used parts.
  • There are limitations on trace sources.
  • There are limitations on shelf life.

I once saw a unique airline T&C which stated that only parts repaired or overhauled by one of their approved suppliers listed on their link to the list were acceptable. I asked was this checked and the answer was no. They stated that the customer had already accepted this and other shipments so they assumed it was ok. I hear that frequently as if it’s acceptable to continually deviate from customer T&Cs since they continue to accept the parts. This is followed by my question; would it be ok if we both called the customer to verify this practice? The question is usually followed by a pregnant pause…

Regarding the inspection of the customer’s T&Cs: There are two models:

    1. The shipping inspector looks at all the customer POs. This is the legacy model but is the most effective. Issues include:
    • The shipping inspector only looks at the ship-to information, p/n, and condition. The T&Cs are overlooked.
    • There’s not always a PO to look at. The transaction may have been initiated by a phone call, text, or email, and the PO follows later, after shipment.
    • The salesman has the PO but has not made it available to the shipping department (this is common).

    2. Upon receipt of the PO, any special requirements were flowed down into the firm’s ERP system and show up in pick tickets and/or subsequent POs to purchase or repair the parts. Issues include:

    • This requires discipline on behalf of the sales or purchasing employees to carefully and diligently enter the information from the customer. That discipline and diligence is not consistently seen…

A final observation regarding those bothersome T&Cs: Some firms enter into agreements or contracts with their customers. It is commonplace for the customer to list their T&Cs in those agreements you are signing. A challenge for you is how are you flowing down those otherwise unseen T&Cs to your staff and shipping department? This is a source of frequent weaknesses.


In the design of organisations in aviation, it is customary practice to have the quality organisation have its own ‘branch’, separate and not reporting to the organisation it performs its quality duties for. The theory is that this should assure the independence of the quality function to not be unduly influenced by their internal ‘customers’. Safety is always enhanced by a robust and independent quality department. Royboy’s observed rule of thumb: The larger the firm, the more independence QA has. In worst case scenarios the inspectors in receiving and shipping are puppets of the sales or the production department; There, I said it and I meant it. Which model exists at your firm?

Royboy’s parting tongue-in-cheek sarcasm and observations:

  • Too much friction between production (or sales) and the quality department:
    • There’s a leadership problem being neglected.
    • There are real quality problems and root cause analysis is superficial.
    • Union negotiations are becoming hot.
  • Some or occasional friction:
    • Royboy considers this to be healthy; manage it.
  • No friction:
    • Red flags
    • ‘Hey, it’s all good, we met our numbers!’

Over ‘n out

Roy ‘Royboy’ Resto

  • Posted By Roy Resto | 12/2/2019 5:32:39 PM

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