Similarly, revising the process by which the appropriate staffing number is determined will emphasize the importance of accurate input data and encourage a revision of the processes by which ATSS personnel’s time is tracked, equipment inventoried, spare parts for the NAS maintained, etc. Process improvements in how maintenance work is performed are expected to be ongoing, with continuous improvements. All of these ancillary activities will also require funding in addition to what has been allocated for the modeling effort.
This report has noted repeatedly the importance of informing ATSS and PASS about the new model and explaining how it was developed, what it takes into account, how it will be implemented, etc. Funds must be available for the staff that creates written informational brochures, designs talking points, delivers this information in an understandable way, and handles the questions that will arise. Because of the importance of communications to the success of a new staffing model, professionals should be engaged to maximize the clarity and persuasiveness of the material.
The FAA is on the right track by aggressively seeking a new and appropriate manpower model. The FAA’s contract with Grant Thornton is commendable (Grant Thornton, 2012), but it can be taken to a better level through deliberate analysis and inclusion of stochastic and performance dimensions in modeling a required workforce, even as the ATSS workforce takes on the challenge of maintaining the NAS in the coming decades. The 2-year process that FAA has already undertaken to assess its current models and data systems and to plan ways to improve its data systems should facilitate model development and implementation.
Ideally, the FAA will institute a rigorous implementation process for the new staffing model and related processes and will embark on the journey of continuous improvement. In the future, the staffing system will be regularly reviewed and improved at the same time as other process improvements that will increase both the efficiency and the safety of the NAS. Implementation of a new staffing model includes a number of tasks, including activities such as acquiring computer equipment to host the model, educating users, and evaluating the model against the criteria for quality multiple times. A robust staffing model is likely to improve the process for allocating staff and contribute to the maintenance of the NAS; however, the implementation and use of that staffing model will require considerable attention and resources from the FAA on an ongoing basis.