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Thursday
Sep222016

The Three Elements of a Successful FBO Internal Culture 

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals, Aviation Business Strategies Group (ABSG)

Customers can get the feel of an FBO from the moment they make first contact, whether it's over the phone, website, email, social media or in person. The feel or impression they get is a direct reflection on the organization's internal culture, which is characterized by the tone and demeanor by which the FBO communicates and delivers its services.

Every FBO should have an idea of the image or impression its internal culture projects. Is it warm and friendly or cold and indifferent or perhaps somewhere in between?

Often times internal culture takes on the persona of the leadership of the company. As an example, let's look at Southwest Airlines. For many years, the company was led by Herb Kelleher, the colorful principal who fostered an internal culture that gave the industry no-frills, low-cost airfares characterized by peanuts — the only snack served in flight. If you've ever flown on Southwest, you would probably have the impression that the flight attendants are full of energy, have a lot of fun and love their job.

At its corporate headquarters at Dallas Love Field in Dallas, Texas, the same kind of culture exists as it does onboard the aircraft. The walls are filled with employee photos having fun, and its human resources department is called the People Department. This is further testament to Kelleher's operating philosophy of people first, customers second and shareholders third. He felt that if you treat your people well as a priority, then this will translate into happy employees, which create a team-spirited culture that proves to be customer centric.

For the FBO industry, many customers who are loyal to specific FBO brands indicate they are driven in their choices by three main internal cultural elements:

                1. A strong safety culture.

                2. A customer-centric or conscious culture.

                3. A team-spirited culture.

In talking and working with many FBOs through our FBO Success Seminarcustomer service training program and operational consulting initiatives we find the most successful FBOs incorporate these three internal cultural elements.

With the advent of the Safety Management System (SMS) and IS-BAH registration programs, FBOs are investing more and more in safety risk management. They are finding that aircraft operators, particularly those that fly internationally, are casting a discerning yet favorable eye towards FBOs that have instituted a strong safety culture.

Please leave a comment on this subject below. If you have any questions, please give us a call or send us an email: jenticknap@bellsouth.com, 404-867-5518; ronjacksongroup@gmail.com, 972-979-6566.

ABOUT THE BLOGGERS:

John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and is an IS-BAH Accredited auditor. Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. Visit the biography page or absggroup.com for more background.

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© 2016 ABSG

Tuesday
Aug232016

NATA's New CSR Certification Program

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals, Aviation Business Strategies Group (ABSG)

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) is breaking new ground by developing a CSR Certification program designed to strengthen the core competencies of key FBO personnel who seek to deliver a better customer service experience.

We believe this strategy is spot on. As we have written in previous blogs, FBOs who compete on customer service don't have to compete on fuel price in order to attract new customers. While some aircraft operators will always look for the lowest fuel price, the majority of loyal customers will choose FBOs that provide both a good value and a great customer service experience.

The goal of this new CSR certification program is to provide a course curriculum that results in a well-rounded FBO employee who is capable of being a team leader by demonstrating exceptional customer service skills.

Over the last two decades, NATA has led the industry with its popular Safety 1st Line Service Training curriculum. Just as FBOs don't condone accidents on the ramp, they are becoming more conscious of preventing customer service miscues that can cause a loyal customer to defect. This was the impetus for developing this new certificated program.

The new NATA CSR Certification Program contains five modules that need to be completed in order for an individual to become a Certified Customer Service Representative (CCSR). The first module is completed online and covers all the fundamentals of working in an FBO or aviation services industry environment including operational procedures and best practices.

The next four modules are completed at a two-day CSR Certification Workshop. We will be speaking during these workshops. The first workshop is scheduled for September 27-28 at the AirFlight, Inc., facility in Long Beach, Calif. This inaugural workshop costs $275 for NATA members and $400 for nonmembers. This price includes both the fundamental online course as well as the two-day workshop.

For more information, please visit the NATA website.

Please leave a comment on this subject below. If you have any questions, please give us a call or send us an email: jenticknap@bellsouth.com, 404-867-5518; ronjacksongroup@gmail.com, 972-979-6566.

ABOUT THE BLOGGERS:

John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and is an IS-BAH Accredited auditor. Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. Visit the biography page or absggroup.com for more background.

SUBSCRIBE:

Subscribe to the AC-U-KWIK FBO Connection Newsletter

© 2016 ABSG

Tuesday
Jul262016

Creating an SMS Environment a Plus for FBOs

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals, Aviation Business Strategies Group (ABSG)

Whether or not your FBO is planning on attaining an IS-BAH registration, creating an internal culture that embraces a Safety Management System (SMS) is highly recommended to help protect and enhance the value of your enterprise.

Because of heightened awareness by aircraft owners and operators to maintain a safe and secure environment both at home base and when traveling, more and more FBOs have increased their safety training. They find that SMS-integrated protocols set the tone for the internal culture while providing the desired structure, reporting systems and resolution procedures.

Not only does an effective SMS program help manage and mitigate risk, it can also improve your bottom line by lowering the rate of costly incidents involving aircraft on the ramp as well as nagging hangar rash problems.  In addition, an active SMS program helps build your insurance story which can lower your insurance premiums. As we teach in our NATA FBO Success Seminar, that's free money.

Over the past several years, various aviation sectors have come to embrace SMS including commercial airlines. The FAA has mandated that U.S. commercial airlines have SMS in place by 2018. In addition, many FAR Part 135 charter operations have also made SMS part of their operational environment.

So what's next for the aviation industry? In the not too distant future, you'll see airport authorities embracing SMS, especially at locations where commercial airlines operate. The FAA has already published a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM)  for SMS in the airport area. 

For FBOs, this could be the writing on the wall, especially if you operate a facility at an airport where there is commercial traffic and even more so if you have airline fueling contracts and/or offer U.S Customs services as a Port of Entry. The airlines, and to a degree the airport authorities, will no doubt develop vetting procedures for vendors and suppliers of aviation services.

Creating SMS for any size FBO is not a formidable task and owners/operators should not be intimidated by the process. However, if you are going to get on the SMS bandwagon, make sure you do it in such a way so as to conform with IS-BAH standards in case you want to obtain an IS-BAH registration down the road. We work with many FBO clients who want us to help them frame their SMS to be IS-BAH compliant. Please refer to our previous blog where we talk about whether or not IS-BAH is right for your FBO.

One of the main things to remember when creating an SMS is to establish an internal culture where safety is a priority and anonymous hazard and incident reporting by employees is encouraged without retribution. In this way, the safety culture flourishes. 

Please leave a comment on this subject below. If you have any questions, please give us a call or send us an email: jenticknap@bellsouth.com, 404-867-5518; ronjacksongroup@gmail.com, 972-979-6566.

ABOUT THE BLOGGERS:

John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and is an IS-BAH Accredited auditor. Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. Visit the biography page or absggroup.com for more background.

SUBSCRIBE:

Subscribe to the AC-U-KWIK FBO Connection Newsletter

© 2016 ABSG

Tuesday
Jun282016

Is IS-BAH Right for Your FBO Operation?

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals, Aviation Business Strategies Group

We often receive inquiries from FBOs and business aircraft handlers wondering whether IS-BAH (International Standards for Business Aircraft Handling) is right for them.

To answer this question properly, we have to take a look at each FBO and service provider individually to determine the merit an IS-BAH registration brings to the enterprise.

At face value, an IS-BAH registration has importance for many FBOs seeking to demonstrate to customers a commitment to a high level of international safety standards. Of course, safety is both a practical and necessary core value for a successful FBO operation. The IS-BAH registration process is a qualitative measure through which to demonstrate this commitment.

The benefits of an IS-BAH registration can include:

  • Enhancing the image of the company by demonstrating to current and potential customers that it operates and conforms internationally to a very high standard of safety.
  • Creation of an internal culture that has a heightened awareness for achieving greater operational and safety levels throughout the enterprise.
  • Potential discerning customers will look for the IS-BAH registration designation as a way to differentiate one service provider from another.

Promotional information for the IS-BAH registration process states that:

IS-BAH was established as a way to identify and promote the use of industry best practices by means of a progressive Safety Management System (SMS) for both Fixed Base Operations and Business Aircraft Handling Agencies (BAHA). IS-BAH follows the structure of the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) Program and incorporates the NATA Safety 1st Ground Audit Program. The standard is based on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards as well as recommended practices in the preparation of handling business aircraft.

Although conforming to IS-BAH established standards is voluntary at this time, recognition for implementing and conforming to the standards can be confirmed through an auditing process which results in an International Business Aviation Council certificate of registration.

Central to the IS-BAH registration is the SMS that most charter operators have adopted over the past several years. Some of the FBOs that have already established IS-BAH registration have operated a charter department and have an SMS in place. Many of the FBOs seeking IS-BAH registration will probably not have an SMS in place, so they must develop one.

When we do an evaluation for a client seeking a potential IS-BAH registration, we look for whether or not the FBO or business aircraft handling company has truly invested in creating an internal culture that is safety oriented. We also want to see whether the organization has in place any of the required manuals and procedures that are described in the following evaluation checklist. If not, we can assist in writing and developing company-specific manuals along with training and implementing these plans.

The following is an abbreviated version of our IS-BAH registration checklist:

SMS Processes in Place and Being Utilized

Having a written SMS document is one thing. Utilizing it and making it part of your safety culture is quite another. As mentioned, the SMS is central to the IS-BAH registration process. In order to attain an IS-BAH registration designation, there has to be demonstrable proof that the SMS is being utilized and that safety issues are being reported and acted upon.

Employee Safety Training Program and Record Keeping in Place

Safety training programs, such as NATA's Safety 1st, help create a standardized teaching tool to ensure consistent levels of training. When IS-BAH auditors are engaged, they want to see that safety training records are kept on each individual employee involved in the aircraft handling process. They also want to see a history that the records are kept current and updated as needed. Therefore, a commitment to implementing and honoring these types of training programs needs to be demonstrated.

Designated Person of Accountability, Safety Manager and Training Manager in Place

Part of the evaluation is determining whether the FBO or ground handling company has the proper staffing in order to ensure there is a commitment to both safety training and safety accountability. Usually, the owner/operator or FBO manager is the designated person of accountability. As President Harry S. Truman said, the buck stops here.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) Manual in Place and Functioning

Adhering to current industry standards of effective best practices and detailing these practices in an SOP manual that is taught and utilized within the FBO enterprise are major parts of the IS-BAH audit review.

Emergency Response Plan (ERP) Detailed and Simulated

An ERP is a valuable resource that should be kept in a convenient and accessible location. It details emergency procedures and should include records of simulated emergencies that are being conducted and managed. An ERP is written to include protocols for interacting with specific emergency agencies on a local, regional and national level.

Environmental Management System (EMS)

FBOs need to develop an EMS plan that incorporates their environmental responsibilities for dealing with hazardous materials and environmental issues including, but not limited to, sump fuel, batteries, waste oil, international garbage and aircraft noise abatement. As part of an EMS, FBOs must also include management of their SPCC (Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure) plan and coordinate with the airport staff on the proper procedures for the SWPPP (Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan).

For the FBO that is not currently utilizing an SMS or is missing one or more of the items on the checklist, the IS-BAH registration process will take a little longer.

So is IS-BAH right for your operation? Hopefully we've provided enough information that you can get a sense of what you want to achieve. We encourage FBOs and ground handlers to consult with an IS-BAH specialist and, as required, attend the Fundamentals of IS-BAH Workshop. Also, you can give us a call or send us an email with any questions you have (404-867-5518; email: jenticknap@bellsouth.com).

ABOUT THE BLOGGERS:

John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and is an IS-BAH Accredited auditorRon Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. Visit the biography page or absggroup.com for more background.

SUBSCRIBE:

Subscribe to the AC-U-KWIK FBO Connection Newsletter

© 2016 ABSG

Tuesday
Jun212016

FBO Connection at 2016 NATA Aviation Business Conference

FBO Connection blogger and Aviation Business Strategies Group principal John Enticknap presented at the NATA Aviation Business Conference held in Washington, D.C., in early June.

He contributed to the "Industry Consolidation: What's Next?" panel (shown above; John is on the far right). The next day, he led a session called "Separating Your FBO from the Crowd: Maximizing Customer Service." Read more about customer service and FBO industry consolidation.