Standards and instruction Featured

8:46am EDT February 25, 2005
SAE International's core competencies, dating back to its founding in 1905, have been standards writing and continuing education for its members. The expertise in both of those areas applied broadly has resulted in two divisions that offer valuable services to industry and additional revenue to SAE International.

One such initiative leverages the talent and experience of a pool of seasoned engineers to provide consulting help to industry. The second puts standards to work to speed the certification process for aerospace manufacturers.

About two years ago, SAE International's COO Ray Morris saw an opportunity to supply engineering talent and business acumen by connecting retired engineers who had held executive positions in the auto industry to companies in need of engineering talent for consulting engagements. The Automotive Resources Institute checks each prospective consultant's credentials and handles the billing and other administrative details for a fee. Currently, the department has about 40 consultants on its roster, all of whom have experience at the director of engineering level or higher.

The Performance Review Institute, or PRI, is a division that certifies suppliers to the aerospace industry. Vendors to aerospace manufacturers must be audited to assure that their processes meet the standards of each manufacturer. For example, a manufacturer of structural members must assure that it is using the proper processes for treating metal for strengthening or corrosion resistance.

Suppliers used to be subject to frequent audits by the manufacturers, which meant that multiple customers would conduct their own audits of their operations. To streamline certification, PRI audits and then certifies the suppliers, assuring that the proper processes are in place. Launched a decade ago, PRI now has 60 employees and produces about $17 million in annual revenue.