Okay, let’s face it; to most of us in the aircraft MRO business an imminent visit with our local FAA representative is right up there with a root canal. And no doubt, there are FAA folks that feel the same way about dealing with us.
While no one knows how this rift, perceived or not, actually began, it’s clear that it’s not doing anyone any good. Especially in today’s less than stellar economy. We on the MRO side have much bigger, and much realer issues to deal with than whether or not our FAA inspector “likes” us.
“From what I’ve seen, the typical shop’s relationship with their local FSDO representative is not a good relationship or a bad relationship—it’s just a relationship,” explained Ric Peri, V.P. Government and Industry Affairs for the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA). “They (FAA) have a job to do and it’s not to be kindler, gentler and friendlier to you. They just need to know that you are qualified to do the work you need to do. That’s it. It’s not about feelings.”
“The problem is, I believe, that the FAA representatives and shop owners are both woefully deficient in their collective communications skills,” he said. “Because when they’re faced with a question or problem, they don’t explain what they are trying to say very well. There’s a lot of room for interpretation and that sets a bad tone.”
Fortunately, the FAA is aware of the need for better communications and their spokesperson, Les Dorr had this to say, “In the workforce or in life in general, some form of communication is consistently being used in our activities, whether it be verbal or non-verbal. Mechanics, crew leads, supervisors and inspectors all should have the knowledge and skills to communicate effectively,” he said.
Dorr also said that the lack of “proper communications” may lead to any or all of the following undesirable consequences:
• The quality of work and performance may be reduced
• Time and money may be lost as errors occur because important information is not communicated or messages are misinterpreted
• Improper communication may cause frustration and high levels of stress.
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