Realizing Value from Key Performance Indicators
KPIs allow managers to focus on activities that are important to your operations. Understandably, many of these activities may also be important to your civil aviation authority.
Safety managers today are expected to come up with a list of their company's KPIs. After creating their list, they need to track them religiously with the objective of identifying trends and focusing risk management efforts on identified problem areas.
Aviation key performance indicators may be seen as the "canary in the mine." When the canary dies, there is something wrong with the system and action is required by diligent management personnel.
Related Articles on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in Aviation SMS
- What Is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) in Aviation SMS?
- How to Set and Monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in Existing SMS
- How to Automate Key Performance Indicator KPI Monitoring
Below are some guidelines for managing KPIs effectively at your company. Most are common sense, but definitely worth a quick review.
Setting Up an Effective KPI Strategy
There may be no single correct way to establish your KPI strategy, but the following guidelines are worth reviewing.
Some common thoughts to consider are:
1. Understand corporate direction and corporate values
- Is the company profit-driven, or employee focused?
2. Learn what matters to upper management
- What are their goals and how do they measure them?
3. How can your safety team contribute to corporate success
- Bolster morale or focus on key values via safety promotion activities
4. Align aviation safety goals around established KPIs
- Set measurable goals and display for all employees to see progress
5. Update KPI goals and objectives on a regular basis
- Communicate to all employees when these goals and objectives are updated
6. Don't be afraid to change KPIs when they become meaningless
- Allow users to offer feedback and accept suggestions for other KPIs
7. Keep practicing and refining your KPIs
- Operational and economic environments change, as should your KPIs
Related Aviation KPI Articles
- KPI Dashboard Monitoring Guidelines for Aviation SMS Programs
- Choosing Key Performance Indicators in Aviation SMS
- Tips Using Aviation Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Statistics
What's Important for Effective KPI Strategies
KPIs should never intimidate safety managers.
If you don't have a modern aviation SMS database tool to manage your KPIs, it will certainly pay off as you start tracking KPIs and generating meaningful reports to management.
When the accountable executive or other operational department heads resist investing in an SMS database, this is a sign that they need further education. They may not understand the requirements that the accountable executive must regularly monitor organizational safety performance. How can accountable executives monitor SMS performance without SMS data management tools that allow safety teams to store and retrieve all the data associated with SMS documentation requirements?
Spreadsheets Not Proper Technology for Proper SMS KPI Monitoring
Over the years, spreadsheets and paper-based SMS data management strategies become too cumbersome for even small companies with 50 employees. Accountable executives need to demonstrate continuous improvement of the SMS. The only logical way to engage in sustainable safety performance monitoring and measurements is with an SMS database.
If you are on a spreadsheet-powered SMS, you need to change in order to easily set and monitor KPIs. Otherwise, you will be spending three weeks out of every year collecting spreadsheets, sorting data and trying to make sense of where to set your KPIs. You don't want to be the safety manager who spends three weeks each year creating reports. Other SMS activity takes a back seat when safety managers are relegated to these mundane, annual tasks of creating reports. And this is senseless when there are several low-cost, commercially available SMS databases.
Without a modern aviation SMS database program, you may create your reports, but you won't be excited about creating them the second time. Good aviation SMS tools easily pay for themselves in the time and energy required to manage and track your KPIs. In short, tracking KPIs without a database program is certainly not sustainable in the long run.
In the perfect world, accountable executives, operational department heads and safety teams benefit from monitoring KPIs using web-based tools that allow them to securely access trending charts in real time. Imagine the steps your safety team must go through to generate trend charts to detect anomalous trends:
- Collecting the data;
- Organize data;
- Filter data;
- Aggregate data based on KPI criteria; and
- Generate reports (trending charts).
Related SMS Trend Analysis Articles...
- Aviation Safety Managers' Best Friend - Trending Charts
- How to Use Trending Charts in Aviation SMS
- Six Steps How to Perform Trend Analysis in Aviation SMS
How long does it take you to generate trending charts for your KPIs?
- A week?
- One hour?
- 30 seconds?
Maybe the question should be:
How long do you want to spend generating trending charts to deliver to upper management?
And another question may be:
Wouldn't it be nice that the accountable executive can open up a program and review these KPI trending charts in real time?
We can help. Watch these videos to determine whether we are a good fit for your company. We've been developing SMS database software to set and track KPIs since 2007.
Please review these short videos of a COMPLETE SMS database that allows you to manage all SMS requirements, plus allowing the accountable executive and department heads to realize value from the SMS.
Below are some KPI resources you may find useful for comparing against your KPIs.
This article was published originally in June 2015. Last updated October 2019.