Monday, March 23, 2020

Selecting SMS Software Programs

Selecting SMS Software Programs
By Catalina 9

When selecting an SMS software program, the task becomes to select a program that gives you an SMS workout. It’s not to pick a program where you can sit back and relax that will give you the most benefits. A supporting SMS software is there for you to tell you a story of how your operation is safe. It’s there so you don’t need to second-guess your decision anymore. An effective SMS program there to take the pressure of the Accountable Executive. A trap that’s easy to fall into is that an enterprise ranks instant gratification as a high priority when selecting the SMS software. Instant gratification is a hazard to aviation safety. Human nature is the path of least resistance and these facts are pushed in sales and marketing. Everyone wants something better, cheaper, faster and we want it now.

A cloud based SMS program is a force-multiplier
Understanding sales techniques and behaviors are critical skills and tool for selecting a program. Sales are processes and process control. An excellent salesperson applies in-control processes in their presentations. This is a positive behavior, since that person is then filling the needs of what an enterprise has defined, rather that imposing their opinions of what an enterprise needs are. The first step in selecting an SMS software, or cloud-based program, is to ask: What’s In It For Me? The second question is to ask: How does your SMS program improve over our existing SMS program? The third question is: “Why does the Global Aviation Industry, being Airlines or Airports, need a Safety Management System (SMS) today, when they were safe yesterday without an SMS?”

An Accountable Executive and Senior Management must be able to answer the question whey they need a Safety Management System. If the answer is not known, there is no need to investigate and research an SMS software program. Without knowing the answer their decision to what program to purchase, or if they should purchase at all, becomes a biased decision and not a decision based on facts and data. The salesperson should also be able to give a general answer to this question, but since they are not intimate familiar with your operations it is not reasonable to expect a direct answer applicable to your enterprise.

Making a choice is to pick one element and run with it
When selecting an SMS program service provider, it is vital to the selection to know that selling is not telling. The more a salesperson talks about themselves and their program, the less faith they have in the product or service they are selling. The more questions they ask about your enterprise, the more they know how their program functions. Sales is what makes businesses profitable and when researching SMS programs, the task also becomes to decide to what level a salesperson’s comprehension of their program is.

It is extremely labor intensive to operate a Safety Management System manually by using spreadsheets and relying on memory. When open reports exceed three reports, oversight and monitoring is lost in the masses. Everything becomes a blur, it becomes unclear of how the current safety level was reached and operating with an SMS no longer make sense. When SMS becomes irrelevant, the path of least resistance is to revert to pre-SMS processes. This drift or change is not noticeable to the enterprise and with the next incident or accident they are taken by a surprise why the SMS didn’t fix the problem and prevented the occurrence. The reason for the surprise is not that they did not catch errors, but that they did not analyze processes how operations performed while in compliance. The path of least resistance is to assume that operations, or process inputs, are acceptable when the output is acceptable. It’s crucial to the integrity of SMS to comprehend that input processes could be complete failures, while the outcome still is acceptable.   

The two options when operating an SMS is to increase the labor force for each person to be responsible for maximum three open reports at a time or operate with an online SMS program as a force-multiplier of operational effectiveness. When operating with an online system, it is crucial that Senior Management comprehend their own SMS. Comprehension comes from data, which are turned into information. Information is then transferred into knowledge and knowledge is required for comprehension of one system or multiple interacting systems.

When selecting an SMS program, the most important factor is the simplicity of submitting a report. An initial report should require a maximum of five fields and take less than a minute to process. These fields should include the name of contributor or anonymous reporting, a date, a location, aircraft or vehicle identification and a narrative. SMS is hard work, and the hard work begins after a report is received and is not integrated in the reporting itself.

When selecting an SMS program service provider consider these three elements:
1.    What is the impact, hazard or risk level if we don’t solve the challenges defined in occurrence or hazard reports;
2.    How is the preliminary selected supplier superior to other suppliers; and
3.    Establish a timeline of three months to activate your SMS online program.
a.    Three months are required to:
                                              i.     One month to analyze and research #1;
                                             ii.     One month to analyze and research #2; and
                                           iii.     One month to design, implement and train personnel.

An isotope may have a half-time of billions of years, while the half-time of a process is a split second.


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