5 Most Important Things to Know Before Buying Aviation SMS Database

SMS Pro Aviation Safety Software Blog 4 Airlines & Airports

5 Most Important Things to Know Before Buying Aviation SMS Database

                                                              Northwest Data Solutions

Posted by Christopher Howell on Dec 6, 2018 10:00:00 AM  

I Don’t Need an Aviation SMS Database!…or Do I?

Many aviation service providers today are researching features and capabilities to acquire databases to address documentation requirements of their aviation safety management system (SMS). Alternatively, these operators are not looking to acquire an SMS database, but to:

  1. learn how to design an SMS database in-house; or
  2. cobble together single point solutions to satisfy SMS regulators.

Why are aviation SMS databases important?

What should an aviation service provider know before running out and buying the cheapest SMS database on the market?

Aviation (SMS) are composed of structured processes. In most cases, aviation SMS enforce, and in other situations, encourage, aviation service providers to manage their SMS according to best practices established by:

The reason SMS databases are so important to aviation service providers is that many SMS documentation requirements need long term data storage and retrieval strategies from many disparate data sources. Let that sink in. You may even wish to re-read that sentence. The important phrase is:

long term data storage and retrieval strategies from many disparate data sources

For readers whose eyes are rolling back in their heads, this simply means that you need to store and retrieve data from many areas of the SMS that have different data elements, such as data from:

  • Safety reporting;
  • Accident investigations;
  • Hazard identification;
  • SMS Training;
  • Risk controls; and
  • Safety communications.

SMS Databases Automate Labor Intensive Tasks

In an SMS, there are many risk management activities that are time sensitive with due dates that cannot slip through the cracks. Otherwise, SMS regulatory auditors will identify your substandard safety performance and issue audit findings. After reacting to repeat audit findings, operators either:

  • end up complying and get proper tools to address substandard performance;
  • modify company’s risk management processes; or
  • lose their certificate (in two to four years based on my experience).

In addition to alerting safety teams and management of “problems in your risk management processes,” SMS databases are use to accurately automate labor-intensive data analysis and monitoring tasks, like

  • generating reports and trending charts;
  • providing and tracking SMS training;
  • detecting trends and automatically alerting management of trends;
  • collecting safety reports from various sources (web, email, third parties);
  • tracking hazard identification processes;
  • risk management processes;
  • safety communications;
  • setting and monitoring key safety performance indicators (KPIs or SPIs).

Based on many years of observations, aviation service providers are not having problems with reacting to events and applying corrective and preventive actions, the problems I see are operators having problems are managing the documentation. As I mentioned earlier, there data management tasks required in an SMS are no joke.

Furthermore, operators know what is most important to their operations (KPIs), their problem arises from:

  • monitoring;
  • measuring; 
  • analyzing; 
  • identifying trends; and
  • documenting results and corrective actions when necessary.

SMS is structured process. Operators need help documenting their risk management processes. As they start working the process and documenting their actions, then they will start being able to demonstrate continuous improvement of the SMS.

Factors Determining Benefits of SMS Database 

To help safety teams in their search for an aviation SMS database, here are a few things to consider before you throw time and energy into implementing aviation SMS software or building your own. Not every aviation service provider needs an SMS database.

I’ll be the first to tell you that some operators should not purchase an SMS database. Their safety culture and management commitment will not support long term data management initiatives.

There are several considerations that determine whether an SMS database will add any value to your company, such as:

  • Top management commitment;
  • Safety budget
  • Organization’s size and complexity;
  • Existing technological capabilities;
  • Employee technological maturity;
  • Maturity of SMS implementation;
  • Short term strategic business initiatives;
  • Effectiveness of regulatory oversight; and
  • Safety culture.

What Is an Aviation SMS Database?

Northwest Data Solutions

As of 2019, the Australians and Canadians are still the ones who most fully embrace the ICAO 2006 SMS mandate. These requirements are explained in ICAO Document 9859.

The rest of the world can learn from the growing pains suffered by the Canadians and Australians during their SMS implementations. For those of us that have been following SMS from the beginning, we have been able to identify trends in their SMS implementation processes.

Since these two countries paved the “SMS way,” countries following in their footsteps can leapfrog technological hurdles faced earlier by these two countries. “Leapfrogging” is a concept that you may run into during business and economic discussions. The best example that always sticks with me from my college days is the “mobile phone” example.

Third world countries adopted mobile phones without having to bear the huge expense of “hard-line” phones. In short, they leapfrogged over the hard line phones and directly adopted mobile phone technology. This leapfrogging allowed these counties to forebear the horrendous expense of telephone poles and tens of  thousands of miles of telephone wires.

Along the same vein, aviation service providers that are not in the leading technological edge of SMS data management can leapfrog technologies that have proven ineffective in managing SMS documentation requirements, such as spreadsheets and poorly integrated “point solutions.”

If your company has more than 50 employees, you should not consider spreadsheets to store SMS data. You will regret this and the accountable executive will not be pleased with the unnecessary risk. Another rule of thumb based on over a dozen years of observations is:

Do not use spreadsheets in companies with high employee turnover, even for small companies with 15-20 employees.

Point Solutions Next Phase of SMS Data Management Evolution

Point solutions are software products designed to satisfy one major business requirement, such as:

  • Safety reporting system;
  • Auditing system; 
  • Document management system; or
  • Training and qualifications system.

There are companies like Sabre and ETQ that actively search to acquire and market point solutions to provide to the aviation industry. These companies don’t generally develop solutions, but acquire point solutions and add them to their stable of software offerings.

In a few instances, these companies will integrate multiple point solutions into a single platform or product and relabel the new “integrated solution” under their brand. You may know this as “white labeling.” A white label product is produced by one company and then rebranded by another company to make it appear as if they made it. 

Point solutions may satisfy a particular business need, but often are not easily configurable to meet unique business needs. This becomes more true with white label SMS solutions because the company marketing the SMS solution doesn’t have the technological ability to easily customize the solution.

Another disadvantage of point solutions is that technical and customer support are not as responsive because support tickets are routed from the solutions provider back to the original software developers, and then returns through the same process. This “support ticket routing game” becomes obvious when tech support takes more than a couple hours to contact you with a solution to your problem. If technical support and flexible configuration capabilities are important to your company’s long term data management strategy, point solutions should not be considered.

The advantage of point solutions is that they are cheaper than fully integrated databases that have all the features required in a complete SMS database. Most operators don’t need all features in the beginning of their SMS implementations, so a point solution scratches the immediate itch.

Point solutions are a short-game strategy. There are valid business cases for adopting point solutions, but if you are a small company with fewer than 60 employees, these point solutions will come back and haunt you in five to six years into your SMS implementation. Larger operators may have available IT resources to integrate multiple point solutions, but if you are a smaller operator, or your IT support staff are overworked, then you should avoid point solutions in your SMS implementation.

Integrated Point Solutions Comprised of Multiple Databases

Point solutions usually have at least one database for each system; therefore, if your company has six point solutions to manage all SMS documentation requirements, then you will potentially have at least six distinct databases to store data. This is not an efficient data management strategy for aviation SMS.

Unfortunately, this complexity is hidden from clients who buy an integrated solution comprised of multiple point solutions. To the customer, they are buying “Brand X SMS.” They think they are buying “one product” when in reality, they may be buying 6 or 8 different “white label” products wrapped in a cute package with fancy marketing speak. Unsuspecting customers may not know what is under the covers until years later as they wonder why it is so hard to have a user-friendly configurable system.

The quickest way to spot these “white-label” integrated SMS solutions is look at their public facing documentation. How much detail do they show? If they don’t show much detail about their SMS solutions, chances are that this will be a white-label SMS package that may have been created for another industry, like:

  • Chemical;
  • Energy (petroleum);
  • Automotive, etc.

Best SMS Database is Designed For Specifically for SMS

The best solution with the lowest long-term maintenance cost is the single, enterprise-capable SMS database that was designed specifically to address aviation SMS documentation and performance monitoring requirements. An easy way to tell if an SMS database was designed specifically for the aviation industry is to look at the industry types the company markets to. It becomes highly unlikely the SMS database was built for aviation SMS when the SMS database provider is also selling to the other industries, like:

  • Automotive;
  • Chemical; 
  • Food;
  • Construction; and
  • Oil and gas.

Is it important that your SMS database provider sells to other industries? Are you concerned about the depth of SMS database provider’s subject matter expertise? These are both valid points to consider.

Retooling Systems In-House to Manage SMS Data Needs

Similar to the white-label software providers, some operators have been re-tooling existing database solutions, such as SharePoint and Spiceworks to serve as their SMS database. We have seen some ingenious hacks using “help desk support software” that was designed to support IT teams. The business argument was that the price was right.

This is again a short-game strategy.

As we have seen in Australia and Canada, in the early stages of the SMS implementation, safety mangers don’t know what data they are going to collect. What are they going to do with the data once they get it. These safety managers were addressing one implementation point at a time, without the experience of what the end game looks like. It was only years later, usually six to eight years, that accountable executives and safety teams realize that they had an unrealistic picture of the final product – and by final product, I’m referring the fully implemented SMS.

Based on what they knew at the time, safety managers adopted available tools in house, which were the spreadsheets, point solutions or retooled software solutions hacked together to satisfy the “immediate need” to demonstrate “something.”

Major shortcomings these operators finally realize after about three-to-five years is that they lack:

  • automated notifications of schedule slippages;
  • real-time SMS performance monitoring;
  • KPI management and KPI monitoring;
  • industry-accept hazard identification and risk control monitoring;
  • SMS-specific charting tools to analyze data and spot trends; and
  • automated email notifications from major activities (feedback and task assignment notifications).

As you can see, point solutions are great and scratch an immediate itch, but lack long term sustainability. For a long term SMS data management strategy, don’t implement your SMS using point solutions.

Benefits of an SMS Database During SMS Implementation

We have worked with hundreds of aviation service providers in many countries since 2007 as they implemented SMS, or as they re-implemented failed systems. We provide an SMS database built following ICAO’s four components. In short, we have seen hundreds of SMS implementations and we are also SMS data management experts. We are not white-label SMS resellers, but genuine aviation SMS database architects and developers.

We have worked with many different types of operations, which is very cool for us. As you may know, it is not just airlines and airports that are required to implement formal SMS. The list also includes, 

  • Aviation maintenance;
  • Air traffic control;
  • Flight Schools;
  • Aviation equipment manufacturers;
  • Ground handling companies.

In the early days after ICAO mandated formal SMS adoption, the Canadians and Australians resorted to tools they knew best and had in-house, including:

  • MS Word,
  • MS Excel, 
  • MS Access, and maybe
  • SharePoint.

After several years of implementing their SMS, many of these companies realized that the data management requirements of fully implemented SMS required professionally designed SMS databases. To be perfectly candid, they didn’t realize this solely on their own, but from SMS auditors. This became even more evident for companies with more than 100 employees, regardless of whether they were:

  • Airlines;
  • Airports; or
  • Aviation maintenance organizations.

For the major operators with more than 1,000 employees, these companies have IT support that could either develop their own system or integrate multiple point solutions to address regulatory requirements.

These smaller to mid-sized companies also tried in-house solutions and point solutions. Finally, they had come to realize that it is easier, more cost effective and less risky to simply acquire an SMS database from a company that focuses on such systems. After all, you don’t buy an aircraft from an auto manufacturer. Subject matter expertise runs more deeply in a company that dedicates its energies to satisfying SMS data management requirements.

From my experience, aviation service providers in the Middle East and Europe didn’t suffer as long as the Canadians in their SMS implementations. This may be due to better training or a better understanding of the data management requirements of these fully developed aviation SMS. If you are an operator in the Middle East, your biggest challenge will be to acquire top management commitment and support to acquire tools to demonstrate SMS compliance. Each geographic region has their own challenges. Luckily, I’ve been blessed by being exposed to most regions around the world.

So what does an aviation SMS database offer before, during and after an SMS implementation process?

  • Centralized data storage;
  • SMS gap analysis tools to evaluate existing tools and processes;
  • SMS implementation management;
  • Secure access by all members of the aviation organization based on role;
  • Improved data security;
  • Improved organizational communication; 
  • Enhanced accountability;
  • Less risk to the organization; and
  • Real-time SMS performance monitoring.

Best Practices Achievable Using SMS Databases

Professionally designed aviation SMS databases can also ensure that operators are following data management best practices. When multiple managers have access to the same data, there is less chance to ignore reported hazards and safety concerns. There is increased accountability and transparency across the organization’s SMS.

In addition to best practices, employees become more involved in the SMS when the SMS database is user-friendly and the workflows are logical. There is nothing more of a buzz-kill than a crappy SMS database that doesn’t work or is not user friendly.

A poorly designed SMS database is a threat to your safety culture. I learned long ago that an airline will suffer a long time before ditching substandard software. It is expensive to change. You have to consider

  • legacy data to import into the new system;
  • training employees on the new system; and
  • reviewing SMS manual to align risk management processes to new software.

The point is that it is less expensive to choose wisely in the first place. Otherwise your company’s safety culture will suffer for many years to come, unless you get out of the bad relationship within the first year or two.

SMS Databases Encourage Repeatable Risk Management Processes

SMS is a structured process. Perhaps the single most important advantage of an SMS database is that it facilitates repeatable risk management processes. Business rules can be enforced to ensure designed risk management procedures are followed according to your SMS manual. This becomes increasingly important for larger companies that are “process driven” or companies with high staff turnover.

The SMS database also reduces risk for the accountable executive. They can be assured the SMS is performing in all areas of the organization and alert management when substandard safety performance is detected. If your company needs repeatable risk management processes, and you don’t have time to develop your own, the quick fix is to acquire an SMS database.

Not having defined risk management processes becomes especially more important when the operator still doesn’t have a good SMS manual. SMS manuals are a major concern for new SMS implementations as safety managers work diligently to organize:

  • Safety policies;
  • Duties and responsibilities of key safety personnel;
  • Organizational chart;
  • Safety reporting processes;
  • Risk management processes;
  • Auditing and safety assurance;
  • Hazard analysis (safety risk analysis); 
  • Safety training;
  • and so on…

Some SMS database solutions have an SMS manual template to get new operators started on the right track and to reduce frustrations. SMS manual templates allow safety managers to get a huge jump start on their SMS implementation. This becomes increasingly important when safety managers come to an organization with poorly documented risk management processes. 

Safety managers without documented risk management processes are grasping for some sort of help, and these SMS manual templates are wonderful because they have well-defined, industry accepted best practices already incorporated in the SMS manual templates.

What to Expect from Aviation SMS Software?

When we talk about an aviation SMS database, it is important to understand that the database is simply half of the solution. The user interface is the other half. Most safety professionals think that the SMS database and the user-interface are the same. However, if the safety manager has an IT background, the safety manager will realize the database is only used to store organized data in logical tables, like a spreadsheet.

To be absolutely correct, SMS software, in most cases, is a Web application. This is a detail that may not excite you, but if you are thinking about buying an SMS database, you will also be getting the front-end where the user interacts with the database using pretty workflows and business logic that prompts you to do something. The Web application may also enforce data restraints, such as required fields, or send email notifications when you assign a task to another user.

To us in the IT world, what I described is a Web application, but you may recognize it as a “software program.” There is a database in the back end that stores data. You can think of the database as having hundreds of related data tables. Software (the Web application) accesses this data, either retrieving or storing the data according to security and functional requirements of the software.

An aviation SMS software program offers little value unless the user interface is:

  • Full-featured;
  • Intuitive;
  • User-friendly;
  • Flexible (or configurable); and
  • Easily adaptable when technologies change (such as from desktop to mobile).

When you shop for your aviation SMS database, consider your goals and needs. For example, if you are already using SharePoint, you may not need a robust version-controlled document management system integrated within your safety portal.

At the bare minimum, your aviation safety database should consist of the following:

  • Web-based hazard reporting forms;
  • Automated email notification of events;
  • Risk management workflow to assess, classify and perform investigations;
  • Corrective/Preventive Action tracking;
  • KPI management and monitoring;
  • Data analysis and export features to MS Excel; and
  • User-friendly charting and graphing tools.

Again, these are the bare minimum features the cheapest aviation SMS database software should offer. The more sophisticated systems will have:

  • Offline features for safety reporting and auditing;
  • Proactive hazard analysis (safety risk analysis);
  • Hazard and risk registers;
  • Message boards with “read files”;
  • Auditing suites for scheduling and managing audits;
  • Training and qualification management; 
  • SMS training delivery and tracking of initial and recurrent SMS training; and
  • SMS performance monitoring dashboards.

To sum this up, your SMS database scratches the itch affecting all aviation safety managers:

“how and where do I store all my SMS documentation?”

SMS Performance Monitoring Is Required

Your accountable executive has major responsibilities to the SMS. For starters, they need to make sure their SMS is properly implemented and working as designed across the entire organization. They also need to regularly review safety performance. Whenever problems are identified, either by the safety team or by external auditors, they are responsible for fixing the substandard safety performance.

In order to assure the accountable executive that the SMS is performing, you will need tools to monitor SMS performance. SMS performance monitoring dashboards and email notifications (or alerts) afford accountable executives some assurance that the SMS is performing as expected. The alternative is the accountable executive may as well be on another planet, unaware of what will happen to him should a major event occur.

The unaware accountable executive will be the one who is not committed to the SMS and will not support the SMS budget for the SMS database. The unaware accountable executive deserves a “spreadsheet SMS” because they are telling the safety team that all he is concerned with is a “paper SMS.” He just wants to check the box.

I’ll keep repeating that a “paper SMS” is not always a bad thing. There are business cases that support “checking the box.” However, if your company really is sincere about benefiting from SMS risk management processes, then the accountable executive needs to budget for an SMS database to effectively monitor SMS performance and be able to respond to substandard performance in a timely manner.

What Options Do I Have with Aviation SMS Databases

When it comes to aviation SMS software solutions, the options are virtually endless and are growing daily. Technology constantly changes, so even the existing aviation SMS databases are changing rapidly.

Most of the popular aviation SMS solutions are subscription based and some have the option of hosting on your server. With a subscription to aviation SMS database software, the subscription payments are typically monthly or annually. Costs vary by the number of employees or number of aircraft. Operators that focus pricing on the number of aircraft are commonly flight operations specific and their solutions are not as flexible as those that don’t focus on aircraft.

There are also some free aviation SMS solutions on the market. Free aviation SMS software may be great for starting your SMS program, but don’t expect to have all the features of a paid subscription. Smaller operators and many governmental agencies without an aviation SMS budget typically sign up for the free aviation SMS subscriptions.

Are Aviation SMS Databases Right for Our Company?

If your company has more than 20 employees, you should invest in an aviation SMS software program to save yourself pain and misery caused by managing the aviation SMS requirements.

Experience has shown that aviation service providers will suffer about eight to ten years of pain before realizing that they need help managing all the data associated with required aviation SMS documentation.

If you don’t have top management support, then an aviation SMS database may not be your answer. Lack of top management support is the number one reason why aviation SMS fail.

A good rule of thumb is; if your company has 40 or more employees, you will definitely need software tools to manage your data. Otherwise, expect to have audit findings and know that you will suffer repeatedly whenever auditors come calling.

What Benefits Can We Expect with Aviation SMS Database

We will review the benefits described above:

  • Centralized data storage;
  • Secure access by all members of the aviation organization;
  • Improved data security;
  • Improved organizational communication;
  • Enhanced safety culture;
  • Repeatable risk management processes;
  • Enhanced accountability; and
  • Less risk to accountable executive.

Which Aviation SMS Databases Are Worth Considering?

There are probably three or four aviation SMS software providers that have comparable products. If you Google “aviation SMS software,” you will find the top companies on the first page. Aviation SMS database programs are not that expensive, with some of them as low as $100 per month for smaller operators.

Before you purchase an aviation SMS software solutions, make sure the database will be able to grow with your needs. Also, research how the SMS database will help solve your problems when you are implementing your aviation SMS program.

Did I mention that we provide an SMS database?

If you need an SMS database,

  • we are not white-label; and
  • we have a single, enterprise-grade database; with
  • excellent customer support

 

After watching the videos above, you may have questions. Sign up for a live demo. No pressure.

Published August 2015. Last updated January 2019.

Topics: Aviation SMS Database

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

SOAR Next-Generation SMS Audit & Safety Issue Resolution

SOAR+

is a computer-based safety of operations audit, risk assessment and resolution of safety issues (ROSI) process supporting E-IOSA, IASA, ISBAO as well as SAIs, EPIs, DOD, ICAO, regulatory compliance, NetJets, internal QA/evaluation, and/or custom audit protocols.  SOAR+ raises the bar by risk-ranking audit standards, then reporting results in an intuitive, executive-friendly format that establishes a means for quantifying returns on investment (ROI) in safety.

SOAR+ is imminently configurable; e.g. A CASE version of SOAR+ is set to be installed at a major US based Maintenance & Repair Operation (MRO) soon; providing services to Pratt & Whitney, the US Air Force and UPS among others.  SOAR+ is also under consideration to support the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Federal Transit Authority (FTA) implementation of safety management systems (SMS) in US municipal transit and rail operations.  Could also work for airports, shipping, and hospitals it: wherever safety and compliance is linked to performance.

SOAR “AAP” is a flight data monitoring (FDM)-based safety of operations-assurance, risk management, airman-ship assurance and asset protection utility incorporating the identical ROSI process as SOAR+.  Unconstrained by traditional flight operations quality assurance (FOQA) paradigms, SOAR AAP optimizes the use of aircraft flight data recorders, the so-called “Black-Boxes,” before the crash: to optimize operations, training, and to actually prevent accidents by making practical application of information that is traditional used only to conduct forensic inquiry…after the fact.

SOAR+ Attributes –

  • Audit standards can be derived and/or imported into SOAR+ from any source: from ICAO, host country regulations, to internal airline oversight, quality control and quality assurance processes.
  • A gap analysis and corrective actions tool exemplary of highest standards in SMS.
  • Supports SAIs, EPIs, specific regulatory requirements (SRRs), as well DOD and Enhanced-IOSA requirements.
    • Also available as an IOSA-attainment sub-routine providing a sequential guide to air, ground and maintenance operators in achieving and maintaining IATA registration.
  • Standards and findings are risk-ranked in advance of the audits, and after, to guide in prioritizing effective action plans.
  • Reports are normalized to 100% to facilitate effective communications with non-technical stakeholders, and to
    • Establish a basis for quantifying return on investments in safety.
  • Both SOAR+ and SOAR AAP fill significant lapses in virtually all existing SMS computer-based utilities,
    • Can be integrated into existing SMS software.
  • There are Enterprise versions,
    • And versions capable of supporting-
      • Mobile devices,
      • Laptop PCs and
      • “Cloud-based” access.
    • The ROSI process includes prioritization of findings on the basis of safety and/or business, political and economic concerns, supporting unparalleled root cause analysis, safety risk assessment (SRA) and corrective actions implementation, validation, and assurance processes.

•     Indeed, SOAR+/SOAR APP may represent a credible foundation for what can best be described as “Next-generation SMS.”

SOAR+ is deliberately configured to be useful measuring the attainment of standards in virtually any environment. For example, SOAR+ could be a useful means to measure attainment of implementation standards in Ebola prevention and treatment procedures, methods and protocols, to report results in an imminently intuitive executive-friendly format, to measure the risk of failure to implement complete and comprehensive corrective measures, to conduct safety risk assessments on proposed corrective measures, to document approval of an accountable individual before deploying proposed corrective actions, to verify and validate implementation, controlling performance creep by means of a continuously renewable improvement process, and to quantify return on investment in health and safety of the population.  We would need to dissect Ebola prevention and treatment protocols to identify standards and then deploy auditors to record their observations in the SOAR+ safety of operations, risk assessment and resolutions of safety issues utility.

Annex 19 – The Next Steps in Proactive Safety Management

Annex 19 – The Next Steps in Proactive Safety Management

By Danielle Kelly

Sextant Readings Solutions - SMS ICAO Annex 19For the first time in 30 years, ICAO are set to release a new Annex – Annex 19 – that pulls together current safety management practices and future expectations for facilitating safety risks that exist in our lands and skies.

The Annex looks to promote and enhance the alignment between the state and service providers and operators, which in my opinion should be welcomed and can only be a positive thing. Sharing and learning from each other is good, it’s what we are taught as kids and is something we would do well to remember as adults. ICAO have provided us with Annex after Annex of standards and regulations depicting how things should be done in the industry, with lots of references to safety for operation of aircraft, air traffic services, aerodromes, and airworthiness. This new Annex brings together all of these different provisions to further embed safety oversight and systemic risk sharing, but shouldn’t we be doing this already anyway?

There is a lot of emphasis on the management of safety risks, focusing on what we don’t want to happen, and on the sharing of information. However, how worthwhile the sharing of information actually is depends on what is done with it. ICAO appear to be providing an answer to bridging the gap between simply being aware of other industry incidents and proactively managing and implementing further mitigation strategies to prevent the same thing from occurring on our own watch. But why has it taken a new Annex to be published for us to do this, shouldn’t this be something we should be doing as part of working practice? How do organizations learn and share?

It seems ICAO have produced this Annex to show that it is no longer acceptable just to Prevent, Detect and Respond; we need to be able to learn and share information, particularly as the demand for air travel increases. To that end, ICAO has offered greater support for the next generation of safety management systems. The co-ordination effort being established between State Safety Programs (SSP) and the SMS provides an opportunity to improve the performance of the existing SMS to meet state safety policies and objectives, state safety risk management, assurance and promotion.

Like I said before, we can no longer be seen just to be preventing, detecting and responding to occurrences. Learning isn’t just about reporting, understanding, implementing and then backtracking; it’s much more than that – learning is the sharing of knowledge and information, so let’s get more information about our controls instead of the outcomes.  How about we manage the precursor and build our resilience?

Now, it’s all very well saying this but how do we actually achieve it?

Well, we need to start somewhere…so how about our controls? Do we have confidence in our controls?  If not, why not? And what do we do about it to make sure we are confident in the controls in place?

Yes, States play a role to establish and prescribe a State Safety Program in order for us to achieve an acceptable level of safety. However, it is up to the service providers and operators who fundamentally need to demonstrate and actively manage risk and the effectiveness of mitigation strategies through their own Safety Management Systems.

So, where do we go with Annex 19?

Well, we have to make time to look at what we’ve got; we know an SMS will give us the means to do everything we need to do and to be able do them effectively in terms of manage hazards and associated risks, log incidents and occurrences to be able to report on performance. There will no doubt be policies and procedures with associated workflows that are required to be followed to ensure the investigation is appropriately dealt with.

With Annex 19, we need more than this. We need a platform to not only do all the things we need to do, but also all the things we want to do; such as anticipating and predicting, strengthening our position and giving us confidence in our controls. Because if we’re not doing that…well…in the eyes of Annex 19…are we doing it wrong?

How does your SMS measure up against the new Annex 19 recommendations?

Aviation Safety, Quality and Risk Management, ISO, OSHA, TSA, EPA, FAA, IS-BAO, IOSA, EASA

health and safety, management risk, risk assessment, occupational health, occupational safety, occupational health and safety, safety training, safety courses, risk assessments, environmental management, workplace safety, health and safety at work, safety management, management safety, emergency response management, aviation college, construction safety, service management systems, workplace health and safety, health and safety in the workplace, OHSA, manual handling, office safety manager certificate, risk safety, airline safety, safety in aviation, site safety, aviation courses, safety policy, airlines safety, flight safety, aviation management, management in aviation, management aviation, maintenance aviation, aviation administration, safety manager airplane systems, aviation, aviation industry, quality management system, a quality management system, health and safety policy, health & safety policy, federal aviation, airplane maintenance, risk management plan, environmental health and safety, aviation organization, systems quality management, quality management systems, health & safety training, health safety training, health and safety training, health and safety management, health & safety management, safety software, aviation security, environmental training, safety consultants, aviation training courses, safety audit, health and safety policies, fire  risk assessment, employee safety, safety consultant, job safety analysis, safety culture, what is safety management system, what is a safety management system, health and safety courses, safety consulting, aviation manager, online safety training, risk management course, health and safety plan, safety statement, integrated management system, information on risk management, integrated management systems,  health and safety manual, aviation consulting, system risk management, risk management system              ism code, health & safety consultants, health safety consultants, , health and safety consultants, manual handling training, information on aviation, aviation consultants, systems risk management, risk management systems, risk safety management, safety risk management  , risk and safety management, safety and risk management, risk assessment software, safety audits, health and safety plans, health and safety training courses, health and safety systems, occupational health and safety management, health and safety consultant, occupational health and safety certificate, risk management programs, risk management certificate , health and safety consultancy, construction safety plan, safety auditing, safety management plan, safety officer course, health and safety management system, health and safety audit, workplace safety tips, content management solutions, fire and safety certificate,  safety management training, fire safety management, fire and safety management, health and safety risk assessment, flying safety, content management solution, workplace safety training , management system standards, health and safety consulting, courses in safety management, safety management courses, emergency management certificate, content management tools, aviation risk management systems courses,  health and safety software, management systems standards, quality management standards, risk management resources, international safety management, aviation safety authority, aviation safety agency, HSE software, ISO 22000, HACCP, aviation safety management, risk management organizations, risk management resource, safety management services, emergency management course, safety management certificate, airline organizations, aviation management system, safety management in aviation, SMS training, human factors training, industrial safety management, OHSAS 18001 standard, safety management programs, safety management service, aviation systems management, aviation management systems   SMS in aviation management systems consulting, quality management certificate, safety management standards, risk management fire, fire safety manager, OHS management system, SMS safety management, system, safety management system,  SMS, auditing management systems, OHSAS 18001 certification, safety management system manual,  FAA SMS, risk management aviation, aviation risk management, risk management in aviation, risk manager software, safety management system for aviation, safety management system in aviation, OHSAS 18001 training, ICAO SMS, emergency management magazine, aviation safety course, air safety management, safety management systems in aviation, management safety responsibilities, health and safety audits, aviation safety training, airlines safety management system, aviation safety jobs, risk management website, airline safety management system, aviation safety courses, airline emergency response, fire and safety management course, aviation safety reporting, airline safety program, SMS aviation safety, safety management consulting  , airline management software,  health and safety management software, safety management system training, fire safety manager course, aviation safety magazine, airline safety standards, safety management system ICAO, ICAO safety management system, safety management system template, FAA safety management system, safety management system FAA, airport safety management system, safety management information system, safety information management system, aviation safety culture, emergency management certificate programs, fire service risk management, airline safety organization, aviation safety manager, fire safety management plan, aviation safety software, airport safety management systems, system safety management plan, air safety magazine, risk management websites, safety management system courses, aviation safety degree, aircraft safety management system, aviation safety management system manual, aviation safety program management, aviation resource management system, aviation SMS training, fire safety management system, fire safety manager certificate, aviation safety programs,  a management handbook, airside safety management, aviation SMS software, aviation safety management courses, aviation safety manager jobs, aviation safety management system training, safe information system management, aviation safety management system software, AS9100, AS9110, AS9120, FAA SMS Gap Assessment, WBAT, ASAP, FOQA, MSAP, ISAP, RSAP

Services for the Aviation Industry

Our aviation consulting services are supported by a network of partners sharing resources and values. We believe in applying the right set of skills and experience to any aviation project, and to deliver right-priced solutions. Our aviation clients benefit by achieving their goals in an efficient and cost effective manner.

We consult across a wide variety of clients in the global aviation world on determining the safety and operational integrity of our client’s airline, repair station and airport operations. Our services range from airline safety and operations assessments including flight department assessments, fuel farm and ground services support training, airport security assessments, and technical manual development.

Our philosophy is to assist our clients to build closed-loop systems to support all aspects of Flight Operations, Ground Operations, Aircraft Maintenance, Security and Safety. We focus on leadership, communication, problem resolution, continuous surveillance and information architecture to meet an organization’s responsibilities for its safe aviation operations.

Senior Management Guidance (Part 119)

For new-entrant air carrier applicants Sextant Readings provides project management during the FAA’s Air Carrier certification process . For 14 CFR Part 121, we will develop your business plan, define project milestones according to the FAA’s current Certification Program Document, and provide end-to-end support throughout all phases of certification.

For existing certificate holders, Sextant Readings provides a wide range of operations and airworthiness expertise to support changes to a business model. Introducing new aircraft, changes to areas of operation, contract maintenance, and certificate merging are just a few examples of the dynamics of the aviation industry. Sextant Readings provides support to all certificate holders by applying effective change management during these challenging events.

For new or existing operators under 14 CFR Part 125, 135, and Part 91 Subpart K, our System Safety experts have a formula for applying, documenting, and training to new standards in operations and fleet management.

Safety Management System Design

SMS is comprised of essentially four interlocking components: Safety Policy, Safety Risk Assessment, Safety Assurance, and Safety Promotion.

Safety Policy establishes senior management’s commitment to continually improve safety. This commitment defines the wherewithal, methods, processes, and organizational structure needed to meet the required safety goals.

Safety Risk Management evaluates then implements risk controls based upon what the organization considers an acceptable level of risk to be. This component documents and assesses existing risk control measures.

Safety Assurance serves to measure the effectiveness of the risk control strategies that have been implemented, along with the identification of developing hazards. The assurance process ensures closed-loop processes are in place to support the Policy.

Safety Promotion consists of the adoption throughout the organization of the principles of safety management, and includes training, communication, and other associated initiatives necessary to create and maintain a positive safety culture in the organization.

Sextant Readings brings the team, processes, software and services together to deliver – with you – a unique and resolute Safety Management culture. We bring the required processes and procedures, the information management component and the application of best practices in Safety that enable your organization to adopt and live Safety Management.  Built on Quality Management successes, our approach is to extend traditional Quality practices to living a culture of Safety in all aspects of your organization.

Safety Management Systems Gap Analysis

An SMS Gap Analysis is used to determine current strengths and deficiencies with the certificate holder’s programs in place to conform to Regulatory requirements, System Safety principals and SMS guidelines (FAA).

The SMS gap Analysis is based on the FAA and ICAO SMS Gap Analysis checklist and/or organizational checklists like ACSF or IS-BAO to help facilitate the implementation of the SMS in accordance with the FAA Guidance, ICAO Annex 6 Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and IS-BAO SMS Guidelines.

Once the Gap Analysis is completed and fully documented, items identified as missing or deficient will form an action plan within the overall the SMS implementation plan. Each item will be assessed to determine how to create or modify policies, procedures and/or processes in order to implement a robust SMS.

Sextant Readings professional consultants will lead you through a tailored gap assessment and incorporate the assessment as part of your SMS programs.

Air Carrier Certification

We focus on all necessary regulatory tasks associated with initiating the certification process through helping to ensure that the air carriers’ goal of commencing operations without delay.

We use sound project management principles, including the development of an comprehensive Project Plan, the assignment of key tasks to Sextant Readings staff, and consultations with the air carrier’s 14 CFR Part 119 management team. We include within the project plan the steps and tasks to launch certification efforts with the FAA, acquire key management personnel, and build the foundation for airline-operations infrastructure and process design.

Preparing an air carrier for certification includes integrating system safety principles into airline organizations. Certification efforts can be broadly channeled into two distinct paths, one focusing on economic fitness and the other on safety. Sextant Readings consulting staff is focused on synchronizing both pathways with the Department of Transportation (DOT), Office of the Secretary of Transportation and the FAA.