Post-Covid 19: Enhancing Business Performance Through Effective Safety Management

Saturday, February 1, 2020

In an ever increasingly complex aviation environment, the need to be able to manage safety effectively has never been more important. All service providers, from Air Operators to manufacturers and designers, are grappling with what it means to manage aviation safety whilst balancing the commercial needs of their respective businesses. Safety cannot be managed in isolation of the rest of the business if it is to be successful. It needs to sit alongside other critical business functions, serving the business’s aims rather than be considered as burdensome, compliance activity.  This is where setting up an effective safety management system is critical.  An effective system will not only give you confidence that you are managing your safety risks, and therefore protecting your approval to operate, but it should also provide you with greater, proactive decision-making power.
Over the past weeks and months the world has changed immeasurably due to the Covid-19 pandemic and in no other industry have the effects been so acutely felt than in the aviation industry. The operating environment has changed.  Consumer demand, driven by rigorous international lockdowns to prevent the spread of the pandemic, has fallen off the metaphorical cliff edge. Subsequently, service providers across the inter-connected aviation world are being faced with rather stark commercial decisions, driven by necessity, to secure the survival of their organisations. Many, if not all, operations will face a contraction of some shape or form and when operations resume, they too (like many national approaches), will need to be conducted in a safe and sustainable manner. Never before has the need been so great for effective safety risk management.
Safety management or safety risk management to give it the correct term, should not be seen as a ‘regulatory necessity’ or any investment in safety improvement measures be seen as ‘discretionary spend.’ Effective safety risk management, aligned to the strategic objectives of the business, must be viewed as an essential, value-adding function of the operation.  It enables senior leaders to make considered, risk-based decisions based on valuable safety data (harvested by your SMS), which will be critical when the commercial aviation tap is turned back on.  Organisations which are smaller in size post-pandemic will not only be looking at how they can do more with less as they ramp up operations but, importantly, how they can do more with less safely. An effective SMS will enable the management team to safely navigate through the new challenges and risks thrown up by this crisis by using established management of change and safety risk management processes, without resorting to ad hoc or unproven solutions. The last thing an operator can afford post-pandemic is a safety event amplified through the lens of already fragile consumer confidence. 
So now is the time to really and truly understand the intent behind SMS.  It should not be considered discretionary spend above and beyond the minimum level of compliance. It should be seen as a business performance-enhancing function, designed to help your organisation meet their strategic objectives by driving agility and safe efficiencies into the operation.
To help you appreciate and understand how to use the full capability of your SMS to meet the challenges ahead, we have redesigned our TS02 – Practical Application of SMS course. The course will appeal to a broad aviation audience and will be essential to enable those parts of the industry where the management of safety risk is a relatively new requirement.  Specifically:
For those in industry sectors where safety management is more mature, for example Air Operations, the course delivers a new outlook. It enables practitioners to broaden their perspective towards system integration and fully embrace safety performance to effectively communicate the business benefits of a value-adding management system.
Importantly, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Therefore, the course provides you with the skills and knowledge to implement a scalable solution bespoke to your organisation; whether it is a complex, multi-approval and multi-national operation, through to a small, regional single approval business.

To find out more on The Practical Application of SMS (TS02), click here.