Boeing continues to mature its enterprise Safety Management System (SMS), an integrating framework for managing safety risks. Recognized as an industry best practice, airlines around the world have been using an SMS for nearly a decade, gathering data to evaluate systems, make decisions and investigate issues to support the safety of the fleet.
In early 2023, Boeing welcomed the FAA proposal to make an SMS mandatory for all aerospace design and manufacturing organizations. Boeing voluntarily began establishing its SMS in 2019 and its SMS for Commercial Airplanes was formally approved by the FAA in 2020. The company continues to integrate the SMS into its other business units.
Boeing’s SMS collects and monitors data from a myriad of internal and external data sources — operational data from the global fleet, employee reporting, audit findings, and design and manufacturing data — to identify and mitigate product safety risks. Acquiring data is the first step of a complex process to risk mitigation. Boeing is also working to ensure the accuracy of conclusions derived from data.
In 2022, the CASO team completed the development of Boeing Safety Intelligence (BSI), a new safety analytics platform that uses advanced modeling techniques and machine learning algorithms to deliver real-time insights. BSI helps teammates proactively monitor emerging safety trends within the global fleet and across the company’s SMS, with data reviewed during weekly Safety Review meetings. The company is also working with the FAA Integration and Performance (AIR-740) data analytics team and using machine learning for hazard identification in reports from the fleet. Through BSI and the development of analytics capabilities, Boeing is moving from reactive to predictive hazard identification and mitigation.
Additionally, Boeing is enhancing the SMS governance structure and processes to ensure issues or risks are escalated appropriately all the way up to Boeing’s CEO. These enhancements include developing key performance indicators to ensure the SMS is performing as intended.
The inculcation of the SMS includes formal and informal training. In 2022, more than 130,000 employees completed updated SMS training, learning the vital role they play in speaking up about product safety issues and ideas.