Understanding Safety / SMS Basic

Change management

As aviation organisations are quite complex entities, with multiple systems interactions and expensive equipment, latent failures are always present. Many times, we have seen a butterfly effect being developed, where a small change in one part of the company has lead to a substantial risk and harm on a different area.

It is therefore a requirement that whenever there is a planned change in the organisation to performed the process of change management. These changes can be anything from expansion, contraction, new operation, new equipment, new software, new services or replacement of those. It has to be a formalised process in a systematic manner. The intention of change management is to ensure risk bearing changes are given adequate consideration, adequate planning and provide the necessary compensations prior the implementation of change. This will ensure that the change is implemented with minimum disruptions, effectively and efficiently.

Whenever a company is faced with a change that would cause unfamiliarity, doubt or resistance to change, the change management process needs to be performed. It should even be performed for outside factors affecting the company, like financial crises of States, or competitions absorbing employees etc.

Unfortunately, not everyone will appreciate the need for change management and the safety department will often find big obstacles during this process. But change management is a form of communication, a form of informing people in the organisation and outside the organisation, about changes being planned.

Change management can be performed at two levels. The Incremental level and the deep level. The incremental level focuses on identifying the fixes and weaknesses of daily operations, with an incremental improvement for reliability and efficiency. Deep change refers to change in thinking behaviours and new policies, which sometimes requires external assistance to facilitate the change.

Change management is completed with the preparation of the safety case. During this process, one needs to bear in mind the criticality of the system/ process under study, the stability of the greater system and the environment (financial and operation) and the past performance of the organisation in similar cases.