Avionics News February 2012 - 17

One of the major SMS concepts is that you encourage communication with your employees. See something, and say something. And, what are you doing with the information once it is reported?

lar maintenance action, and were they following it? Inevitably, the answer is no, they were not following their “quality control system, which ensures the airworthiness of the products they are maintaining.” Had they been following their standard procedures, they would not have been cited for the FAA finding. One of the major SMS concepts is that you encourage communication with your employees. See something, and say something. And, what are you doing with the information once it is reported? I once was asked by a company’s SMS office, “is this thirdparty audit finding regulatory?” I thought the question was telling, not because it wasn’t a good question (the first question in any audit review in our industry is always, are you violating the rules?). But, once measured against the regulations, this SMS office dismissed the comment. All of the modern “management systems,” including quality, safety, cockpit and maintenance, are based on expanding the company’s communication base to improve the operation. This company’s management was not interested in listening to the tools of quality and SMS to improve their processes; they were simply ticking off a box on someone’s ledger to claim they have an SMS program. An effective “management system” should be a profit center, not a cost center. So, how should the system work? You must actively listen and act on information. Actively listening is defined as “a communication technique that requires the listener to understand, interpret and evaluate what they hear.” It’s the engine mechanic who can hear a fault in an engine by listening to the engine, or feeling the vibrations. In the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the author talks about being one with the motorcycle you’re riding, hearing the engine, feeling the vibrations and knowing when something is wrong before it fails. It’s the difference between driving a motorcycle and riding a motorcycle. It’s fun to be around motorcyclists and listen (oops, there’s that word again) to their experiences at being one with the bikes. Similar to the aircraft mechanic, they can identify a fault, or possible fault,

by listening to and feeling their machine before the fault becomes a catastrophic failure. You can’t troubleshoot your business with occasional listening any more than a technician can troubleshoot through feelings and sound without training and experience. It takes time. It takes a commitment to use noise and vibration as an indicator. It takes trust in your senses to use them as a basis to perform troubleshooting. The direction that all aviation authorities are taking calls for a company’s management to listen to corporate senses, including employees, customers and auditors, and to use these tools to identify faults before they become catastrophic failures. So, once you turn on the hearing tools, what do you do with those senses? Like motorcycle maintenance, you have to know what the vibration is telling you. Is your business process running on five cylinders instead of six? My daughter came home one day complaining her car wasn’t running properly. We started it, listened to the engine, felt the vibration and something wasn’t right. A little troubleshooting and the fault was found, a bad spark plug wire. Years earlier, I borrowed my father’s truck to run some errands. When I returned, I complained that the engine was noisy, vibrating and not accelerating. Again, we troubleshot the engine and found it had blown a hole in a piston. In both cases, noise and vibration were indicators of something wrong, a fault. Proactively addressing the fault allowed us to fix the discrepancies before they became catastrophic failures. If your business is running on a just-enough quality control system, you will take these indicators and simply correct the discrepancy in the product, thereby meeting the minimum regulatory requirements. If you’re a progressive company with a “management system,” you will take the quality control indicator and fix the product. You will listen to the employees, customers and auditors for a pending fault, troubleshoot the system and fix the fault before it becomes a catastrophic failure. Can you hear them now? q
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News February 2012

Point of Communication
AEA Now
The View From Washington
International News and Regulatory Updates
Help for See-and-Avoid Aviating
Member Profile
Demonstrated Ability
Before & After
Retrofitting for RNP
A Conversation With...
What Will Economic Recovery Look Like?
Meet the AEA Staff
Member Profile
Look Mom, No Hands!
Business Basics
Pro-to-col
Theory & Practice
Special Report
What's New
Marketplace Classifies
Avionics News February 2012 - Cover1
Avionics News February 2012 - Cover2
Avionics News February 2012 - 1
Avionics News February 2012 - 2
Avionics News February 2012 - 3
Avionics News February 2012 - Point of Communication
Avionics News February 2012 - 5
Avionics News February 2012 - AEA Now
Avionics News February 2012 - 7
Avionics News February 2012 - 8
Avionics News February 2012 - 9
Avionics News February 2012 - 10
Avionics News February 2012 - 11
Avionics News February 2012 - 12
Avionics News February 2012 - 13
Avionics News February 2012 - 14
Avionics News February 2012 - 15
Avionics News February 2012 - The View From Washington
Avionics News February 2012 - 17
Avionics News February 2012 - International News and Regulatory Updates
Avionics News February 2012 - 19
Avionics News February 2012 - Help for See-and-Avoid Aviating
Avionics News February 2012 - 21
Avionics News February 2012 - 22
Avionics News February 2012 - 23
Avionics News February 2012 - 24
Avionics News February 2012 - 25
Avionics News February 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News February 2012 - 27
Avionics News February 2012 - 28
Avionics News February 2012 - 29
Avionics News February 2012 - Demonstrated Ability
Avionics News February 2012 - 31
Avionics News February 2012 - 32
Avionics News February 2012 - 33
Avionics News February 2012 - Before & After
Avionics News February 2012 - 35
Avionics News February 2012 - Retrofitting for RNP
Avionics News February 2012 - 37
Avionics News February 2012 - 38
Avionics News February 2012 - 39
Avionics News February 2012 - A Conversation With...
Avionics News February 2012 - 41
Avionics News February 2012 - What Will Economic Recovery Look Like?
Avionics News February 2012 - 43
Avionics News February 2012 - 44
Avionics News February 2012 - 45
Avionics News February 2012 - 46
Avionics News February 2012 - 47
Avionics News February 2012 - Meet the AEA Staff
Avionics News February 2012 - 49
Avionics News February 2012 - 50
Avionics News February 2012 - 51
Avionics News February 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News February 2012 - 53
Avionics News February 2012 - 54
Avionics News February 2012 - 55
Avionics News February 2012 - Look Mom, No Hands!
Avionics News February 2012 - 57
Avionics News February 2012 - 58
Avionics News February 2012 - 59
Avionics News February 2012 - Business Basics
Avionics News February 2012 - 61
Avionics News February 2012 - 62
Avionics News February 2012 - 63
Avionics News February 2012 - Pro-to-col
Avionics News February 2012 - 65
Avionics News February 2012 - 66
Avionics News February 2012 - 67
Avionics News February 2012 - Theory & Practice
Avionics News February 2012 - 69
Avionics News February 2012 - Special Report
Avionics News February 2012 - 71
Avionics News February 2012 - 72
Avionics News February 2012 - 73
Avionics News February 2012 - What's New
Avionics News February 2012 - 75
Avionics News February 2012 - 76
Avionics News February 2012 - 77
Avionics News February 2012 - Marketplace Classifies
Avionics News February 2012 - 79
Avionics News February 2012 - 80
Avionics News February 2012 - Cover3
Avionics News February 2012 - Cover4
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