Thursday, December 12, 2013

SMS, QA And Diabetes

Sometimes things don’t get done until they have to be done. Human are great at procrastinating and will often take the “least challenging road”, with less work and less responsibilities when options are faced. So, more often than not, things are not getting done unless they have to be done. 
In any process there are planned strategies. However, in a system with interacting processes the result might not be as expected. 
Diabetes is a life threatening disease and if not managed a person might not have more than a few to live. Being diagnosed with diabetes is therefore a huge incentive to get started on a Carbohydrate Quality Assurance Program.
Diabetes is when the body is not conducting its own automatic safety checks and it is not making corrective action, but its own Quality Assurance program is detecting faulty processes. Young people with diabetes learns at an early age to document events, analyze result, analyze for common-cause variation or special-cause variation, then make corrective actions and every 3 month do a QA check by the A1C test. (Since the glucose is attached to the hemoglobin for about 3 months, the test reveals an average over 3 months). In a life with diabetes one has to plan for every activity, execute the plan, check result and make corrective actions. Diabetes is the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) and it’s a system young people learn and is capable of managing by the time they are 10-12 years old.
Diabetes is much like driving a standard stick shift car and not an automatic transmission. When in automatic, all one needs to do is to give it gas and it will go. With a stick shift one must plan and control.

When an SMS process is found to be a complete system failure, the operations will in most case cease to operate and a new and proven process will be established. When the process quits in diabetes, one would be injected with Glucagon (Hormone to raise blood sugar) and implement a new process, since the current one did not work.

So, where does Diabetes fit in with SMS? It fits in with SMS in that managing Diabetes is much like SMS in that one has to manage the processes, be in control of the processes and understand when what is wrong when the processes don’t give the expected results. Just like SMS, Diabetes is to manage intangible processes where knowledge and understanding are inputs and the output is a value which should be within established parameters. 

Procrastination is to wish for results without planning and management. It’s like buying a lottery ticked and use it for collateral before the draw. 
The incentive to implement SMS for a certificate holder is to be regulatory compliant and able to continue operation. By applying SMS processes the organization has established the first step in conforming to regulatory requirements. However, there is no guarantee that the processes always are producing desired results.  After this threshold has been established an organization should implement Best Practices (BP) to ensure safety and to operate in an environment with zero tolerance to compromise aviation safety.

Humans are procrastinators and a Safety Management System must therefore be mandated by regulatory requirements to be effective. Further, a mandated regulatory requirement for SMS establishes uniform and similar SMS requirements in the aviation industry across international borders.