Quality and Safety Management Key Points
  • QMS and SMS – Common Methods and Techniques, but different Objectives:
    • QMS Objective is Customer Satisfaction
    • SMS Objective is Aviation Safety Focused
  • Not required to have a QMS, but if an entity does have one, it cannot conflict with SMS

Following are a few extracts from an article written by Steve McNeeley; "QMS vs SMS
– Lessons Learned from Toyota"

"There seems to be an underlying misunderstanding between a quality management system and a safety management system. You can have a quality product or service, as defined by the ISO standards, and still not have a safe product or service."

"Part of the confusion stems from the adoption of some of the same types of tools and techniques used in quality management, to manage the safety system. Trade association presidents, and regulators state that SMS is a businesslike approach to managing safety; and this is correct. However, many people falsely assume this to mean that processes designed to produce a quality product, (repeatedly doing the same thing, without variation) equates to the same thing as repeatedly producing a safe product."

"It is how the tools and techniques are used, along with a focus on investigation of events, which makes the quality and safety management systems different. The quality systems do not investigate incidents or accidents for risk assessment. Quality systems audit output of a process only for variance, and makes adjustments. SMS investigates events, looking for contributing factors from all influencing sources."

"One of the purposes of an SMS is to improve the safety performance, and therefore reduce the exposure to risk of having an accident. It is not focused on the safety record per se. Quality systems are focused on continuous improvement also, but through improving the production record rate. This is another source of confusion between the two management system concepts; improving a safety record, is not the same as improving safety performance. There are many aviation companies that have extremely good safety records, but are operating with risky behavior or inadequate organizational structures, and have just not had an accident yet. A good safety record, just like a good quality record, does not guarantee safety."

The above was extracted from an article written by; Steven C. McNeely, Manager, Safety Management Systems, Jet Solutions, L.L.C, published by "Flight Safety Information February 12, 2010 No.034", Lessons Learned from Toyota – 2010-QMS vs SMS (PDF).

The Relationship between Quality and Safety in AVS

A Quality Management System (QMS) is a means of ensuring that an organization is meeting requirements and continuously improving its processes. In AVS, our QMS is focused on safety. We have established a quality policy, objectives, QMS process documents and measures that focus on safety. We meet our safety requirements by making sure we meet the requirements of our orders, QMS documents and other policy documents.

The AVS QMS is the foundation for the AVS SMS. The QMS has already established many of the processes that the SMS requires, such as management review, analysis of data, corrective action, and internal audit. Some improvements to QMS processes are needed to fully meet SMS requirements. Examples include establishing processes to better identify new hazards and establishing processes to measure the effectiveness of safety risk controls. These improvements will be developed during the SMS implementation effort over the next several years.

Safety management and quality management are highly complementary and work closely together to achieve the overall safety goals of AVS. SMS is what we do; QMS is how we do it.