SMS: Are you Proactive or Reactive?

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rocking-chairSafety Management Systems (SMS) is a hot topic, a buzzword, and soon to be a requirement. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has stated that all member countries should have established SMS requirements for operators by Jan 1, 2009. The FAA failed to meet the ICAO deadline. In a way, US companies have been given extra time to sit in their rocking chairs.

Just because the FAA is behind, doesn’t mean you have to wait to implement an SMS. In fact, waiting to develop and implement your own SMS until the FAA sets deadlines could cause more stress down the line. An SMS is not something you do overnight. It takes planning, development, resources, integration, and culture shifts. While it’s true, we don’t know what the FAA is going to require in terms of an SMS, chances are it will closely mirror the ICAO standard.

So the question is, why wait? Start planning now. Save yourself the stress of procrastinating until the last minute to pull your SMS together. Start the legwork required to give your company the proper Safety Management System. By beginning now, you’ll be ahead of your competition. When you come to the stumbling blocks and hurdles you are bound to find, there won’t be a deadline looming that forces you to shortcut the system. When the FAA finally does come up with a rule and required implementation date, you’ll be doing final modifications to your system while easily continuing normal operations. Your competition, on the other hand, will be scrambling to develop and implement their system, hurdles and all, while trying to continue day-to-day operations.

Which do you want to be? The company cruising along performing final modifications or the company scrambling to meet the requirements and cramming things in place that may not work?

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