Safety and Quality Management Systems
For the majority of part 121, 135, 139, and 91 operators with a strong culture of safety, the transition to SMS is a fairly simple process, one that can be accomplished relatively quickly and cost effectively with the right planning and guidance. The basic SMS framework is for the most part, a standardized document with common elements applicable to all aviation operators regardless of size, staffing, or even industry. What is different between operators is their culture of safety, level of participation, and attitude towards the new program.
And that is where our team can make all the difference in the world. Developing your manuals, training your team, setting up your reporting platform and establishing your IEP is frankly the easy part. Getting your people to buy-in and embrace the new system is where our real value proposition exceeds expectations. You see, we start with the "why" and by the time we are done, your team is on board and your program is providing benefits you hadn't even considered related to SMS. Intangibles like improved morale, higher levels of hazard awareness, shared roles and responsibilities, and better team work, just to name a few. That's the stuff that really matters, that justifies the time and money you invest in the system. We obviously ensure your program conforms to the standard and meets the pending regulation (that's the easy part), but we do so much more to help you achieve the goals of the program, (continuous improvement) including:
The FAA's airport pilot SMS project spent between $74,000 to more than $200,000 to achieve what was in essence, the same end result, which indicates a substantial variation in methodology and understanding of the goals of the safety management system. Part 121 was issued an SMS regulation this year and has up to three years to adopt the program, so you can guess how much that will cost.
For part 91 and 135 operators who were required to implement SMS starting in 2006 (ICAO SMS mandate), the experience has been far less costly, but equally challenging in achieving the goal of continuous improvement. Having assisted hundreds of these operators with their initial implementations, we learned early on to keep it simple and easy to use.
One challenge facing operators is collecting and managing appropriate data so you can benefit from predictive analysis. Another challenge is getting full participation from every single employee in the operation, which directly impacts morale and safety levels. And finally, learning to use all of the SMS tools, protocols, and procedures effectively together, while building your culture of safety and striving for continuous improvement is probably the biggest challenge of all. And that's what we do best.
"SMS is all about decision-making. Thus it has to be a decision-maker's tool, not a traditional safety program separate and distinct from business and operational decision making. Safety beings from both the top down and the bottom up. Everyone from the receptionist, ramp worker, pilot, manager, and FAA inspector has a role to perform", (FAA).