Saturday, August 3, 2013

Quality of SMS Data Top Concern for Aviation Safety Managers

Quality of Aviation SMS Data Top Concern for Airline & Airport Safety Managers

Fewer than a quarter of respondents rated their SMS programs as "extremely" or "very effective" with safety data management/maintenance, safety data processes, safety management system architecture, including workflow logic, according to a recent "Aviation SMS Data Management Survey" mailed to safety managers from NWDS, the developers of the Web based aviation safety management software, SMS Pro. Aviation Safety Management Systems (SMS) Data Management

The concern over aviation SMS data technology ties closely to risk management, as the quality of aviation SMS data was the top concern in the survey, cited by 45 percent of respondents.

Other notable concerns among safety managers are the ability of their safety management systems (SMS) technology to adapt to the quickly changing regulatory requirements, cited by 40% of respondents, and the lack of integration among other operational data management systems, including human resources and maintenance. It follows that the main priority for investing in aviation safety management systems is regulatory compliance (cited by 85 percent), followed by safety data quality and management (cited by 67 percent), followed by enterprise-wide SMS implementation (cited by 51 percent).

CAA SMS Interpretations Cause Confusion
Aviation Safety Management Systems (SMS) Data Management for airlines and airports

Questions surrounding regulatory reforms and interpreting regulations by civil aviation authorities and how airlines and airports have adapted to increased oversight appear throughout the survey. SMS compliance costs are on the rise, as 65 percent indicated that they’re spending more compared to 2011.

Aviation SMS Regulatory Changes

Aviation SMS regulatory changes also have caused a much larger number of airlines and airports to revise business activities.

The question of the education of the in-house safety management teams, and whether it may inadvertently sway auditing efforts of civil aviation authority (CAA) auditors is also raised.

The survey results depict a trend to increase aviation SMS training; 59 percent said, as a safeguard, their upper managers review the SMS training programs when considering pending SMS audits.

Similarly, 83 percent said they use multiple SMS training methods; 73 percent providing in-house aviation SMS training and 58 percent hiring outside SMS professionals.

Aviation SMS Programs Still Not Fully Implemented in Industry

Formal aviation safety management systems are still not ubiquitous. 82 percent of respondents said their airline or airport has a formal aviation SMS program. Also commonplace is another layer of oversight beyond that; roughly 80 percent of airlines and airports surveyed said upper management reviews and approves safety management policy, enterprise safety management implementation milestones and the safety management business workflows.

About NWDS - founded in 2003 by six software engineers, NorthWest Data Solutions (NWDS) provides custom computer programming and systems design services. NWDS creates many types of software, including e-commerce, financial, defense, engineering, logistics, aviation and more. In 2007, NWDS developed SMS Pro™ a web based SMS application that supports an organization's overall SMS through safety reporting, safety documentation, safety risk management and safety assurance. SMS Pro™ is currently used by aviation organizations in the U.S., Canada, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East to help manage their SMS programs. NWDS continues to support SMS Pro™ and add new functionality. NWDS offers custom contract programming services in the U.S. and Canada and is managed by Chris Howell, one of the founders. Their headquarters is in Anchorage, Alaska. For information on NWDS visit their website at and to learn more about SMS Pro™.

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