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SMS First Steps – How to Create an SMS Implementation Plan

What Is an SMS Implementation Plan?

SMS First Steps - Implementation Plan
As a safety manager, the implementation plan is your road-map to success, but finding guidance on how to create one is difficult at best.

The FAA doesn’t provide an implementation plan for the latest Part 5 regulations, but there is an implementation plan suggested by ICAO 9859.

ICAO recommends a 5-year plan with 4 phases of implementation, but this plan may not work well for small organizations, or those with many elements already in place.

RELATED: How to Implement SMS in Small Organizations

The 4 phase plan can be pretty overwhelming at first. Remind yourself that a complete SMS implementation may take years; you’re planning a long-term project. Your implementation plan is the document that guides your organization through this process.

Download Sample Implementation Plans

Once you’ve completed your gap analysis for your aviation safety management system (SMS), your next step as safety manager is to create the implementation plan. Your implementation plan will be unique to your organization, but every plan should clearly outline the steps required to put your SMS program into practice.

It may not have been obvious at the time, but this is what your gap analysis was leading up to. Your initial gap analysis revealed any SMS elements already in place as well as which are currently lacking. Then, by listing shortcomings from your gap analysis, you have quickly created a rough outline of your implementation plan.

So what’s left to do? Now you’re going to use that rough outline to create a comprehensive plan to put in place a fully-functional SMS program. If that sounds like a lot of work, keep reading.

How Do I Create an Implementation Plan?

Much like a big research paper or a major renovation, it can help to break down SMS implementation plans  into small, manageable pieces. Rather than trying to tackle the whole plan at once, focus on creating a plan for each shortcoming from your gap analysis.

You’ve already laid out what needs to be done, and you probably have an idea of who should do it and when it should be done. Start with one item on the list and write out your plan. Make sure to include the:

  • Timeline/Schedule
  • Responsible Person/Team
  • Resources
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) also known as Safety Performance Indicators (SPIs)

Be sure to check in with department heads or subject matter experts to see if they notice any flaws in your plan. Finding these pitfalls before presenting or implementing your plan will save you time and frustration along the way.

As you go, you’ll want to organize all this information in a way that makes it useful. This can be as simple as a spreadsheet in MS Excel listing each requirement with a column for the plan to accomplish it. Here are two free implementation plan templates if you’d like to work in Excel:

Download SMS Implementation Plan

Another method would be to create your plan in MS Word or Google Docs. While not tailored for aviation SMS, there are quite a few templates available online for inspiration. They may be more daunting or harder to translate to aviation, but they are in a format that your management may recognize and relate to.

If you have a larger operation, or a lot of tasks to accomplish, you might find yourself overwhelmed by these solutions. In this case, you might require project management software or a more advanced SMS database solution designed to satisfy aviation SMS requirements.

While your implementation plan is an important document, remember it is also a living one. Your implementation could take years, so be prepared to review and change the plan as your SMS matures. Include in your plan a process to review to monitor requirements and make adjustments as necessary.

Remember, the only constant in life is change.

Why Do I Need an Implementation Plan?

When you’re finished, your plan will demonstrate where you are now, where you aim to go, and what steps need to be taken to achieve that goal. Not only does the plan provide a road-map to success for you and your organization, but it makes your progress measurable.

At this point in your SMS journey, you should have already secured commitment from top-leadership. If you haven’t, your implementation plan is a great tool to help management understand the requirements and your vision to implement their SMS. If you already have top management support, then you have a great tool to help keep them on board and updated of your progress.

When you create a solid SMS implementation plan, you’re speaking management’s language. Your plan provides them with beginning and ending points as well as the steps you’ll take to make it happen.

RELATED: How to Earn Top Management Support for Aviation SMS Programs

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in dealing with management, and people in general, making it easy for them to say yes vastly increases the chance they’ll get on board.

Hopefully this helps to answer some questions about your SMS implementation plan. If it has, or if there’s more you want to know, leave me a comment below! Also, let me know what other questions you have so that we can explore them together!

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Topics: Aviation SMS Implementation

Site content provided by Northwest Data Solutions is meant for informational purposes only. Opinions presented here are not provided by any civil aviation authority or standards body.           SOURCE : http://aviationsafetyblog.asms-pro.com/blog/sms-first-steps-implementation-plan

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What is Change Management in Your Aviation SMS?

What Is Change Management?

Safety and change management in aviation industryIn the aviation industry, it’s important to manage change effectively. Change can be organizational, procedural, or technological.

Change occurs any time an established practice is altered.

Change can seem small, like changing suppliers. Or it could be a large change, like adding a new type of airplane to your feet.

When you plan for changes before they happen, you can take measures to proactively manage risk as well. Managing risk is a fundamental part of managing change.

Forming the Team

A team approach is crucial to managing change effectively. Before sitting down to start planning, identify experts who can advise on the plan.

These experts may be internal or external. They do not need to have decision making power, but they do need to understand the process you are planning to change.

Experts bring experience to the table that is impossible to replicate. Your experts will be able to see potential safety impacts that otherwise might have been missed.

Download Management of Change Template

Change Management Procedure

As with any large planning task, it’s important to follow a procedure when managing change. In this case, procedures ensure that the considerations we make are trackable.

The procedure for safety and change management involves identifying the series of micro-changes that make up the change as a whole. By identifying the micro-changes, it will be easier to spot potential safety impacts.

To uncover potential safety impacts, your team should also identify possible scenarios that could arise from the change.

Take the time to perform a risk assessment on these scenarios and plan for any necessary control measures to mitigate risk.

RELATED: Understanding Management of Change in Aviation SMS Programs

Limitations of Change Management

The best teams can foresee many possible outcomes and create plans for the worst-case scenarios. Even so, the process has limitations.

Change management is a generic process and each change is different. Make sure to modify your process to fit the change you’re planning for. The details of the method will differ for each unique change.

To further offset this limitation, vigorously pursue a detailed, thorough analysis. This way, with the engagement of experts, your team will be able to predict many possible safety outcomes.


What’s your safety management style? Find out with this quiz!

Safety Management Style Quiz

Topics: Quality-Safety Management

Site content provided by Northwest Data Solutions is meant for informational purposes only. Opinions presented here are not provided by any civil aviation authority or standards body.    SOURCE : http://aviationsafetyblog.asms-pro.com/blog/safety-and-change-management

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Why/When Aviation Safety Managers Don’t Need Operational Experience

What Does Being an Aviation Safety Manager Mean?

Aviation Safety Manager Job Without Experience

Aviation safety managers are responsible for the development, operation and continuous improvement of our world’s airline and airport’s safety management systems (SMS). Safety managers facilitate the management of all safety-related issues according to ICAO’s requirements following the four pillars:

  • Safety Policy;
  • Safety Risk Management;
  • Safety Assurance; and
  • Safety Promotion.

Most airlines and airports require that safety managers have five years of operational experience as a condition before hiring. Many LinkedIn groups discussing aviation safety management systems confirm the practice requiring operational experience of new safety managers.

Many new aviation safety professionals are seeking to switch professions from either:

  • Aviation departments not focusing on flight operations; or
  • Completely different companies outside the aviation industry.

These inexperienced safety professionals are frustrated with the “five years of operational experience requirement” and see it as a needless roadblock.

This article discusses why (and when) aviation safety officers should not need operational experience to effectively perform their SMS duties.

Safety Managers Have No Operational Control

Safety managers should never be Department Heads, except as a Dept Head for the safety department. Otherwise, conflicts of interest could develop between operational objectives and safety concerns.

Safety managers report directly to account executives. Even for safety-related issues, safety managers do not have the power to overturn or override operational decisions of other departments.

Although safety managers report directly to accountable executives, this doesn’t mean they should be considered as tattle-tales. Dept Heads still bear the responsibility to inform accountable executives of major safety concerns within their respective area of operational control.

Safety managers have special training that Dept Heads do not, namely:

  • Risk assessments;
  • Safety data classification; and
  • Risk analysis based on safety-related data.

Safety managers advise Dept Heads of potential risks. They may also recommend corrective and preventive actions, but these are only “recommendations.” Dept Heads bear all the responsibility concerning which corrective actions are implemented.

Many airlines and airports place the burden of risk monitoring onto safety managers; however, it is still the responsibility of Dept Heads to monitor risk and occasionally re-evaluate known hazards.

Following this logic, we readily see that safety managers with operational experience are more valuable to Dept Heads.

Smaller Organizations Should Require Operational Experience

Aviation safety managers need operational experience for jobs at smaller airlines and airports

Smaller organizations typically have no safety committees. Safety committees sometimes work closely with safety managers to perform:

  • Risk assessments on reported issues;
  • Proactive hazard identification;
  • Evaluations of safety initiatives;
  • Reviews of SMS program effectiveness;
  • Active monitoring of industry-related safety concerns; and
  • Reviews of training program effectiveness.

Safety managers without operational experience are not prepared to independently manage the above tasks. Smaller organizations need safety managers that have had considerable experience in either flight ops or maintenance. Otherwise, the risk will never be managed to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP) because the safety manager does not understand ALARP.

Furthermore, smaller airlines and airports typically have part-time safety managers. Again, safety managers should not be Dept Heads controlling operations. Smaller operations do not have the resources to consistently monitor and mentor the activities of the part-time safety manager.

In short, smaller airlines and airports need safety managers with at least five years of operational experience.

Organizations Without Safety Committees Should Require Operational Experience

Safety committees are particularly useful to monitor risk and to help consistently mitigate risk to ALARP. Not all airlines and airports have safety committees. However, those with safety committees can afford to hire safety managers without operational experience.

Safety committees encourage discussions of safety-related issues from an inter-departmental perspective. As stated above, safety committees can possibly mentor inexperienced safety managers.

While safety managers are managing the administrative details of the SMS program, safety committees will then participate in tandem with the safety manager to perform:

When Safety Committees Fail New Safety Managers

We claimed that operators with safety committees can hire inexperienced safety managers. This is not a universal assumption and there are some risks with this approach. Below are a few considerations to determine whether your airline or airport can hire safety managers without experience, based on safety committee activities and culture.

  • Safety committees must be active and meet regularly (more than once per quarter);
  • Safety committees participate in evaluating the risk of all newly reported issues;
  • All issues are reviewed by the safety committee before closing.

I would venture that 80% of companies with safety committees would not benefit from a safety manager without experience because they don’t meet regularly enough. Furthermore, most safety committees don’t want to deal with low risk, routine safety concerns when there may be scores of more pressing issues. A safety manager with operational experience would be more beneficial and free up time for the safety committee to focus on more pressing issues.

We know several operators that require safety committee participation for ALL risk management activities. Again, most operators with safety committees use the safety committee for reviews or brainstorming sessions. But there are about 20% of safety committees that evaluate risk for everything. Personally, I don’t believe this is efficient as only higher risk issues are dealt with.

Final Thoughts on New Safety Managers without Experience

Many new safety managers approach us for career advice. These newly minted aviation safety professionals are eager to participate in making a difference in the aviation industry. While having recently completed aviation safety courses, most are frustrated when trying to acquire a position as an aviation safety professional.

If I were a new safety professional, I would not seek out a position at a smaller company.

Furthermore, I would focus on airlines and airports that have active safety committees. Operators with active safety committees are the best fit for new safety managers entering the industry.


Download Safety Manager Checklists

If you are a safety manager and want to become more proficient, we recommend you learn how aviation risk management tools can enhance your productivity and assure regulatory compliance. These three videos offer a great insight into aviation risk management processes.

Watch 3 Risk Management Solution Demo Videos

Topics: 2-Safety Risk Management

Site content provided by Northwest Data Solutions is meant for informational purposes only. Opinions presented here are not provided by any civil aviation authority or standards body.

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5 Types of Aviation Safety Managers

Managerial Style is Critical for Safety Managers

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How aviation safety managers conduct oversight is extremely important for their aviation SMS program.

The particular management style of a safety manager can make or break an aviation SMS program.

What kind of style do you use or do you recognize in your safety manager?

Having an answer to this question allows you to:

  • Play on your strengths;
  • Become a more effective safety manager;
  • Adopt a different style of management that fits in better with your organization; and
  • Understand how you interact with employees.

There is no “best” management style. Every organization has different needs, and different management styles work better in different companies. That being said, there are certain management styles that will be looked on more favorably for developing a quality safety culture.

Here are 5 types of aviation safety managers in risk management programs.

1 – The Expert Safety Manager

The expert safety manager style is the most feasible of all positive management styles. This style will:

  • Make clear straightforward safety decisions;
  • Have understandable and good reasons for safety decisions; and
  • Will be able to train employees on most important oversight agency compliance requirements.

These safety managers gain authority and respect by having a broad understanding of requirements, best practices, and safety philosophy. With the growing body of oversight requirements, this style is a natural one for safety managers to shoot for.

Pros: easiest and most natural way to gain respect and support for the SMS program. Cons: requires have very strong knowledge of all aspects of safety, and ongoing learning.

2 – The Respected Manager

The amiable safety manager is the kind of safety manager whose aviation SMS program probably won’t receive an audit finding for employees’ not knowing the safety manager’s name. Amiable safety managers gain respect, trust, and support for the SMS program by having positive personal qualities, such as:

  • Interacts and interfaces with all employees equally;
  • Genuinely listens to the safety concerns of employees;
  • Gives lots of feedback to reporters of safety issues; and
  • Attempts to involve all employees in change management.

Employees with this type of safety manager may follow the SMS program purely out of respect and personal loyalty to the safety manager. Such a safety manager tends to have the following traits:

  • Charismatic;
  • Integrity;
  • Against corporate culture; and
  • Able to connect with many different types of people.

This type of safety manager is probably the best type of manager for building a positive safety culture and sustainable risk management program. However, achieving a status of “universally well-liked” is extremely difficult, especially as programs get larger.

Pros: high influential, strong following for safety program. Cons: Very hard to do.

3 – The Top Down Manager

The top down safety manager relies heavily on his/her formal position in the company (i.e., the companies’ org chart). This type of safety manager may have:

  • Another formal position in the company, such as an upper management role; or
  • Been given a wide berth of authority by the accountable executive.

At the very least, this type of management style will wield a lot of formal authority. For organizations that need a strong, archetypical manager figure to keep the safety program in line, having a high-level manager endorse the program can be a very powerful incentive.

The idea is that with this type of manager, employees can expect rewards/disciplinary action from the safety manager that extends beyond the boundaries of safety (i.e., salary bonuses, promotions, probation). This kind of safety manager can use these incentives to promote the safety program.

Pros: safety program has a lot of authority and resources to be well organized and efficient. Cons: tendency to make safety program feel like a “management thing.”

4 – The Disciplinary Manager

This type of safety manager is generally frowned upon in the aviation safety community, as it is generally associated with not being in line with non-punitive reporting.

This type of management style is exactly what it sounds:

  • Relies on disciplinary action to keep safety behavior in check; and
  • Very clear rules regarding non-conformance.

This is not sustainable for a long-term management modus operandi. However, some safety programs that are spinning out of control may need some short term tough love from management. In the face of rebellious employees or strong resistance to change, this type of management style can be effective.

Once again however, it can also kill efficient SMS implementation, and in general management should be wary of being identified as a disciplinarian.

Pros: can help in situations of open rebellion or resistance against change management. Cons: can backfire and hurt safety culture, and not a sustainable management style.

5 – The Corporate Safety Manager

The connected safety management style is a safety management style whereby a manager gains support for the safety program by getting strong support and camaraderie among upper management. This camaraderie can lead to:

Getting upper management’s open support is a big deal for any safety program. For an SMS program to be implemented in a sustainable way, it needs to be supported by upper management. Case in point, we have seen many “fully implemented” safety programs completely collapse when the responsible safety manager leaves the company; in every situation, that safety manager did not have upper management support.

The downside with this management style is the tendency towards corporate cronyism. Moreover, this style of safety management will probably need to “prove” that they are qualified for their job, such as also trying to be a safety expert.

Pros: demonstrates that upper management has full support of safety program. Cons: will kill safety program if employees don’t feel that this manager is qualified for position.

Wondering what kind of safety manager you are? You might surprise yourself. Take the free quiz below and find out below.

SOURCE :

SMS Pro Aviation Safety Software Blog 4 Airlines & Airports  http://aviationsafetyblog.asms-pro.com/blog/5-types-of-aviation-safety-managers

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How to Overcome Iceberg of Ignorance in Aviation SMS

What is the Iceberg of Ignorance

CRM-iceberg-analysis-top-mgmt

The Iceberg of Ignorance was first developed in 1989 by a consultant named Sidney Yoshida. The Iceberg of Ignorance is a model that addressed concerns about safety awareness in large organizations. This model contends that of all problems:

  • Only 4% of problems are known to upper managers;
  • Only 9% of problems are known to middle managers;
  • 74% of problems are known to supervisors; and
  • 100% of problems are known to staff and front-line employees.

The idea is that management is only aware of the “tip of the iceberg.” This model has some rather obvious problems, namely that:

  • Top managers will be aware of problems that staff has no idea about.

However, this model does identify the important fact that:

  • Top managers are bound to be aware of high level problems; but
  • Not the many, many small problems that plague staff and eventually can lead to big problems.

Iceberg of Ignorance Reconstructed

In aviation SMS, this model is probably more useful when slightly reconstructed as being an awareness of quality vs quantity:

  • Top managers (decision makers) are aware of the few, high level problems, but are not aware of the many minor issues;
  • As we move down the latter, awareness of quality issues goes down, and awareness of quantify goes up; and
  • Staff are not necessarily aware of the high level, trending problems, but are pointedly aware of the many minor problems that cause them problems every day.

This idea seems rather obvious: top managers are much more concerns with the “serious” problems, and front-line employees are concerned with the minor issues that cause frustration every day.

But the other reality is that most organizations simply don’t have a meaningful way to for the “minor issues” to go all the away up the communication ladder for top mangaers to be aware of them.

These are important truths that leads to many preventable accidents and incidents every year.

Why Iceberg of Ignorance Matters in Risk Management

The reason the Iceberg of Ignorance (reconstructed) matters is because of one important point:

  • All serious problems are the result of many smaller problems that went unnoticed or un-managed.

One study found that for:

  • Every serious incident;
  • There were 59 smaller, “minor” incidents; and
  • 600 minor conditions.

As decision makers, if top manages can be more aware of the “minor” issues and conditions, they have the power to stop these issues/conditions before they lead to a serious incident. This is why the Iceberg of Ignorance matters to top managers and employees.

To overcome this issue:

  • Top managers need to make a concerted effort to be aware of minor issues and conditions.

Overcoming this issue happens primarily through changing your hazard reporting system requirements.

Overcome Iceberg of Ignorance Through Hazard Reporting

Overcome ignorance in your SMS requires:

  • Having decision makers be aware of minor problems;
  • Having staff and front-line employees see importance of minor problems; and
  • Ensuring that front-line employees report these minor problems.

In real world terms, it looks like this: all issues should be reported, even trivial concerns. Trivial concerns lead to bigger problems. Reporting all concerns requires a bit more work on the part of safety managers having to manage these issues, but it ensures safety managers are making decisions based on an awareness of all of the data, rather than just the ostensible problems.

SOURCE :

SMS Pro Aviation Safety Software Blog 4 Airlines & Airports

http://aviationsafetyblog.asms-pro.com/blog/how-to-overcome-iceberg-of-ignorance-in-aviation-sms