The FAA’s final rule required most U.S. commercial airlines to have an implemented Safety Management System (SMS) by March 2018. There are many systems which allow the automation of SMS’ four key components – safety policy, safety risk management, safety promotion, and safety assurance – but distinguishing which features/functions are most needed to automate this critical operation can be difficult. In the sea of features SMS vendors provide, three features are crucial to maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of an automated SMS.
Simply because a process has been digitized, does not guarantee that it will be more efficient. A user-friendly SMS platform will provide intuitive navigation for end users which will maximize operational efficiencies. By reducing the number of clicks it takes to perform tasks in a system, an intuitive platform will enhance productivity and can lower labor costs.
Safety data is the engine that provides organizations with the most impactful insights for improving safety and mitigating risk. Having an intuitive platform will ensure personnel with lower levels of comfort with technology will not be discouraged from submitting safety reports/data thus improving the system’s effectiveness. An intuitive system will also minimize the amount of training needed for end users and ease system adoption.
Limiting licenses leads to limited results. Unlimited licenses allow all stakeholders to have reporting access. With everyone being able to report through the system even the smallest safety issues will not slip through the cracks, increasing the safety promotion element of SMS. Additionally, this creates a more holistic view of every issue as all of those who witnessed it will be able to access and complete the necessary reports, feeding further into the safety culture of the organization.
Other benefits include an increase in communication as messages sent through the system will reach all stakeholders. Promoting safety within the organization becomes a defined focus when all stakeholders are invited to meetings and training. Not to mention it cuts costs as airlines grow since purchasing more licenses will never be a factor.
Analytics and Easy Report Generating
The most significant part of automating SMS is using the data. A system with analytics will allow translation of SMS Data into insight that enables airlines to identify problems and make informed decisions for the future. This leads to a strong safety culture and makes it easy to deal in accident prevention.
Easy report generation will allow airlines many options to use the data collected without spending too much time exporting reports. Having the data in hand in as few clicks as possible not only saves time but reduces stress and frustration caused by over-complicated report acquisition. Being able to get the report needed, in the format preferred, in just a few clicks and a couple of minutes is imperative to not only efficiency but time management.
To recap, intuitive platform, unlimited licenses, and analytics/reporting capabilities are all critical elements for an automated SMS software solution. SMS not only allows airlines a system to report safety issues, but it will enable the airline an opportunity to improve its processes through the effective use of the data collected and promote safety within their organization. These three features attribute to this, as they allow for ease of data entry, no limits to stakeholder’s ability to enter the data, and the ability to translate that data into usable figures. These features work together to create an efficient automated SMS and develop a strong safety culture within an organization.