Q. We are a manufacturer of pretreatment chemicals with a large focus on the automotive industry, and we would like to get our product approved on some Mil Specs. Who or what government department handles this?— M.M.
A. The Department of Defense has a Qualified Product Listing (QPL) for each of its specifications. I have not personally been through the process, so am not familiar with the amount of red tape and bureaucracy associated with this sort of program. This website provides a comprehensive start for understanding the existing QPL, with information on specifications, the approval process and contacts to initiate the supplier process: dscc.dla.mil/offices/sourcing_and_qualification.
If you are an existing supplier to the automotive industry, I assume you already know and understand this, but obtaining additional qualifications to military standards will do little or nothing to improve your market. Most companies in the automotive sector generally defer to existing specifications within several of the automotive OEMs. Additionally, there are a number of other standards agencies such as ASTM, ISO and especially SAE that provide much of the supporting specifications used in the automotive industry. If you are planning to expand your business into other areas within the United States, the approval to the military standards could be beneficial, but this should be weighed against the added costs and work necessary to gain these approvals.