CAVU Café: Royboy’s Prose & Cons

*Note: The views expressed in CAVU Café: Royboy’s Prose & Cons blog are those solely of the writer and are not necessarily shared by the Aviation Suppliers Association or the Association’s staff, members, or Board of Directors.

   About Roy Resto

Keep Your Manuals Current!

During my youthful days at a major airline, I distinctly recall a close friend who had just been promoted to an important position. After a while, I asked him ‘What could you have done to be better prepared for the job?’ Without hesitation, he said ‘I wish I had been more familiar with the GPM.’

Every airline has a GMM (General Maintenance Manual) or equivalent GPM (General Procedures Manual). It is thee operations manual for instructions on how the Maintenance Division conducts its business, and you will be held accountable as a department head to assure you perform applicable portions. From that point forward I made it my business to read it whenever I could, to personally file all the revisions in our department’s copies, and to make myself the go-to person regarding its contents. It served me well in my career there, and it became a life-long custom to’ know the manual’ in any firm I was in.

Through the performance of many CASE Audits, Internal Audits, Supplier Audits, and consulting engagements, I’ve had exposure to hundreds of manuals. In my mind I early established a firm observation regarding the evident correlation between the vibrancy of a given quality system and the state of its manual; a vibrant and robust quality system will have a continuously evolving and updated manual.

So what? Why invest all that energy in keeping it updated? Consider the following:

  • It is a direct reflection of your firm, it’s the written ‘you’
  • Every regulatory or quality standard requires you to keep it current

  • Your major customers may ask for a copy during their decision making process about awarding business

  • You’re telling your employees ‘this is how we operate’; it is likely the nearest written reflection of the key attributes you’d like your firm to emanate in its culture

  • Every regulatory or quality auditor will begin and end with your manual in their hands

Unfortunately (you knew this was coming), there are too many manuals out there that are not current. Now, I understand there are firms with scheduled revision service, for example quarterly, who await that time for publishing their updates, but I’m not talking about those. If I may speak frankly, I mean those who seem downright careless or lazy about making the changes; there, I said it and I meant it. Consider the following:

  • Employees who look for direction in those manuals, only to find outdated guidance, will develop habits to neglect going there at all

  • It’s usually ‘low hanging fruit’ for external auditors

  • It may establish a negative first impression of your firm to customers, auditors, and employees

So, Royboy, are you suggesting I publish a revision every time I find a misspelled word? Of course not you silly wabbit. On the other hand, it is simply not reasonable to find several major processes or procedures out of whack with actual operations, the applicable standard, or regulation. The most common excuse I’ve heard is ‘I’ve just been soooo busy!’ Hmm. Imagine what could happen if and airline’s flight manual was not kept updated…

Roy ‘Royboy’ Resto

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Posted By Roy Resto | 10/10/2014 10:34:05 AM

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