Aviation Leadership and the Relationship with QMS & SMS

Steve Bentley MD of Sofema Aviation Service (www.sassofia.com ) looks at the opportunities provided to the Aviation Execs by QMS & SMS

How Aviation Business Leaders interact with the Quality Management System (QMS) and the Safety Management System (SMS) provide an insight into the effectiveness of Management Role.


Because both the QMS and SMS are “Data Rich” and it is data which enables key decision makers to analyse business exposure and to develop appropriate responses and behaviours which can be used to develop and drive the business.

So, What Makes a Good Leader?

Throughout my 45 years of involvement in aviation the industry growth continues at a pace. Such growth off course drives a need for leaders. Leaders who are able to drive the business forward. Good Leaders are able to look at aviation holistically to ensure that the various sources of talent are identified and such people are provided with an opportunity to develop organically.

A strong business leader is able to not only deliver value but to create value beyond safety, service, and efficiency.

The Purpose of QMS & SMS

The relationship between a Quality Management System (QMS) and a Safety Management System (SMS) has developed into a very close association in the aviation industry.

An Integrated approach related to QMS & SMS is without doubt a crucial element in any successful organisation.

It is apparent there is some confusion between the specific functions of QMS & SMS namely a quality assurance management system and that of a safety assurance management system.

So consider that Quality is essentially looking at compliance, and Safety is looking at Risk.

In essence Quality Assurance is determining gaps based on non compliance with either the regulatory requirements or organisational requirements.

Safety Assurance is looking at weakness in the organisational system which raises the exposure to risk. Safety Assurance is a forward looking process and Quality Assurance is a reward looking process.

As SMS continues to evolve and become more regulated, it will take on a dominant role in a company’s overall strategy. Safety Management Systems focus extensively on the analysis of the data derived from the contributing elements of the various impacted areas.

Leaders have the opportunity to establish the balance of production goals (delivery of services) versus protection goals (safety).

Consider the following fundamental quality principles which may be embedded in your organisations SMS.

Customer focus – production with efficiency minimum cost for the highest standard

Leadership – Driving Competence throughout the Organisation Involvement of people Buy in and feedback ensures motivation

Process Approach to drive efficiency and cost effectiveness

Efficiency – “A measure of whether the right amount of resources have been used to deliver a process, service or activity. An efficient process achieves its objectives with the minimum amount of time, money, people or other resources.”

Effectiveness – “A measure of whether the objectives of a process, service or activity have been achieved. An effective process or activity is one that achieves its agreed objectives.”

Systems Approach to Management

The systems approach to management requires every manager to be more precise about decision-making and information flow. The Company should have an overall system of corporate objectives. Systems must be set up to realize these objectives as efficiently as possible.

Business Continual Improvement

First, you should measure success based upon the financial results.

A second way to measure success is by using an assessment tool.

A third way to measure success is to understand how you are viewed by your stakeholders.

Factual Approach to Decision Making

When it comes to decision making, the factual approach plays an important role within the management system. The ability to make effective & appropriate decisions is essential to ensure customer satisfaction, employee management and overall increased operations within the organisation.

Final Thoughts

Organizational leaders who are able to direct their focus on the value that can be added to the organisation driven by both QMS and SMS can drive both efficiency and sustainment of the management systems.

Sofema Aviation Services www.sassofia.com offers a range of Regulatory Compliant and Vocational Training Courses including Management Soft Skills.

For additional information please see the website or emailoffice@sassofia.com