November 12, 2013


How to identify areas which need special attention and how to focus our efforts on making sure we can deliver in all relevant areas.

Which areas of the organization need special attention? …and what do we mean by special attention?

We may believe that we know where are key areas are, however the whole point of the SMS is to develop data which can be managed and assessed and which will help us to understand over time how our SMS performance is being ensured.

So to work without documentation is actually counter productive to the integrity of the SMS, conversely if we can develop meaningful documented processes it will become far easier to monitor the effectiveness of the safety Management System over time.

So a good place to start is to assess all recent (reactive) events (within the last 2 years) but to look at them in another way. Can we see any cross company issues?  Is there anything which features in multiple events?

For example, related to culture, manpower, tooling, documentation, process or procedures.

We can use our Safety Expert Group to do the Analysis and to report the findings and issues through the Safety Action Group in this way we not only face the issues in a pragmatic and effective way, we raise the profile.

We can also use this opportunity to develop Organisational Tools as previously described to add an organizational dimension to the process and to ensure as far as possible consistency.

Alternative ways of starting the process is to create brainstorming activities and fact finding surveys, even cultural surveys to understand where the perception lies regarding the organization exposures.

Another way is to examine the Quality Audits over the last 12 months, to look at them not as Quality Findings but as a source of exposure within the organization, to examine for Organizational Risk.

Once we have decided where to focus our initial energy we can elect to manage as a project.

As with all projects if they are going to be successful they should have an “owner” and a time-line for compliance.

The owner of the SMS Project should be the Business Area Owner or the Post Holder,

Please not it is not intended that this person should battle alone rather that they become the project champion.

The project owner should be provided with all necessary support from colleagues and the Safety Office and Safety Manager.

The single most important elements are Communication and Trust; Communication has to be effective and is actually the easier of the two.

Trust must be earned and takes time to build.

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Aviation Safety, Quality Audit, Safety Management System, SMS performance, SMS Project, Sofema Aviation Services