The Foundation of Management

The tools to success By Brandon Battles When I began writing this column earlier this year, it was my intention to write several articles that laid the foundation for the profession of management. I would establish the foundation by...


Controlling – Another term to use for controlling, and one that makes it easier for me to understand, is measuring. Once again, as with the three other principles of management, most individuals perform this function whether it’s related work or personal situations. For example, most of us budget in our personal lives, some better than others. In its simplest form, we measure our actual expenditures against available funds. Budgeting is just one of our measurement tools in the maintenance department.

Why do we employ a system of measurement? Using the overhaul shop as our example, let’s identify some of the reasons. The measurement system:

• Can highlight the progress toward the objective of increasing the shop’s activity. You should not find out in December that you are only one-third of the way to accomplishing the objective.

• Can highlight problem areas if designed and used properly. Oftentimes it is not enough to know that a problem exists, but also where in the process the problem exists. The overhaul shop manager may have a bottleneck in the process that needs attention.

• Can show trends. Perhaps one shift in the overhaul shop is performing better than another or one individual takes longer than another. In this case, the overhaul shop manager may not have determined why, but at least the manager knows where to focus attention.

• Is objective and not based upon emotion. The manager will make better decisions, thus moving the overhaul shop toward the objective more efficiently.

As a final thought, a measurement system should have certain attributes. It should contain information that is timely and relevant to assist the manager’s decisions. It should improve the manager’s decisions by flagging or highlighting problems. And it should include the total operation. Do not overlook certain portions of the operation, as it is those that are frequently ignored that can lead to significant problems.

Planning, organizing, directing, and controlling – don’t underestimate the importance of the four principles of management. In sports, another profession that relies extensively upon these four principles, many successful coaches have said, it’s the attention paid to detail that is important to a successful team. As a manager you will perform these tasks every day and in just about every function that you do. Even though it may not seem like it to you, your everyday efforts in this area are important to your organization. And, as in sports, your organization’s success depends upon these management principles.

Brandon Battles is a partner with Conklin & de Decker. He has spent more than 15 years in aviation working with maintenance organizations in areas of cost collection and analysis, systems review, inventory analysis, and management training.

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