Avionics News May 2019 - 14

In this monthly column, Ric Peri of the AEA's Washington, D.C., office, informs members of the latest regulatory updates.

B Y

R I C

P E R I
A EA V I C E P R ES I D E N T O F G OV E R N M E N T & I N D U ST RY A F FA I RS

Continuous
Improvement
I

n late March at the 62nd annual AEA International Convention & Trade Show in Palm Springs,
California, I gave a presentation on risk management and offered the association's Safety Management
System management tools. During the training, I made the
point that managing audit findings is an important step in
the continuous improvement and risk management of any
business. Generally, those things which are simply labeled
"findings" are technically observations, not findings,
because they lack references to the specific standard (a
general statement about Part 145 is not a specific reference;
nor, for that matter, is SAS). Therefore, while they should
and must be accepted, thoroughly researching them is necessary before developing a corrective action plan.
As you can imagine, after decades of blindly accepting the
"findings" and within 10 working days offering a correction
is a hard habit to break. However, when you realize that the
new approach to oversight of repair stations is one of actively
managing risk, it requires a changed mindset. Consider the
language of the Federal Aviation Administration's data collection tools. Nearly every element contains at least one question
that asks: "Do risk controls exist within this element to mitigate unacceptable levels of risk(s)?"
Whether we agreed or disagreed about the old way of
blindly accepting the authorities' conclusions or managing
14

avionics news

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may

2019

and evaluating their observations, it still makes for a good
discussion on how audit findings from any and all sources,
including your authority, can and should be used for the
continuous improvement in your business.
The International Organization for Standardization's
"Guidelines for auditing management systems" (ISO
19011:2018(en)) contain a number of important definitions
and descriptions. I would like to focus on the definition of
audit and the explanation of first-, second-, and third-party
audits. According to the ISO, an audit is a "systematic,
independent and documented process for obtaining objective evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine
the extent to which the audit criteria are fulfilled." The
ISO further describes internal audits as a first-party audit;
a customer's audit as a second-party audit; and, independent audits by governmental agencies (such as the FAA)
as an example of third-party audits. Whether the FAA or
any other authority considers their oversight an audit or
a surveillance isn't truly an issue - what we do with their
observations and notes is what this article is about.
Many people fear their authority's invasion and audit
of their facility. I suggest we embrace them as an opportunity for continuous improvement. Rather than fear the
inevitable report, we should manage it, with an eye toward
continuous improvement. Rather than dismissing the



Avionics News May 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News May 2019

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Avionics News May 2019 - Intro
Avionics News May 2019 - No label
Avionics News May 2019 - Cover2
Avionics News May 2019 - 1
Avionics News May 2019 - 2
Avionics News May 2019 - 3
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Avionics News May 2019 - Cover3
Avionics News May 2019 - Cover4
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