Planning for next year? Don’t forget the most important source for business intelligence — Your Employees!

October is a time of the year that many businesses begin the annual process of planning for the next year. Many suppliers, parts distributors, and manufacturers begin analyzing how they have been performing during the current year — and looking to next year to determine if and how they should grow.

And coinciding with this, many of D.O.M.’s advertisers traditionally plan their ad budgets for the upcoming year and inquire about our plans for D.O.M. magazine. And as you can imagine, from a planning standpoint, magazines need to stay ahead of our customers in the planning process.

At D.O.M., we start working on our issue planning, pricing strategy, editorial calendar and other components of our publications mid-summer. At that time, we bring our entire staff together to discuss the all aspects of our magazine and websites from as many angles as possible. Many companies involve all, or as many employees as possible from all aspects of the company, to participate in a review strategy and planning meeting for the upcoming year.

This year, as our team dove into the planning for our publications and came together to strategize — I started to think back to the aviation maintenance facilities that I’ve been involved with and have worked with throughout my lifetime.

I tried to remember as far back as possible, but despite the fact that I worked for several aviation maintenance facilities — I didn’t recall one instance where I was invited as a mechanic to participate in a planning meeting for the company.

Perhaps I missed something? Does no one in the maintenance business do comprehensive annual planning? Perhaps upper management deals with business planning alone? They see no need to include the “workers” in the maintenance facility — they have nothing to do with the “business” anyway, do they?

If a maintenance business does not conduct comprehensive annual planning, I would question if it is prepared to provide the services that are needed by its customers in the upcoming year. I would also question its ability to grow and maintain a profitable business.

If a company plans, but doesn’t include every employee in its facility –—I would question its preparedness for the upcoming year even more!

Including as many people that can provide input about a company’s past and future performance is critical in order to have an effective planning meeting.

I can just hear it — “Maintenance personnel, receptionists, and other support personnel in the maintenance facility shouldn’t be concerned with business strategy, planning, marketing and ideas for expansion. What do they know about customer service, business, or strategy?”

The answer to this question is, “MORE THAN YOU REALIZE!”

The employees that are on the floor doing the work in your facility are the ears, eyes and often mouthpieces for the company!

They see what is going on in the facility from a completely different perspective than upper management does. They often know what is going on with the competition as well! Not only do they hear it from the customers, but they sometimes talk to, or socialize with people that work at the competitor’s facility across the field.

So as you approach your business planning and strategy meeting this year (assuming you have one!), don’t undervalue the input of the employees that work at all levels at your facility – they are a valuable and important source of intelligence that can mean the difference between success and failure in the upcoming year!

I’d like to know what your maintenance facility does for planning and strategizing for the upcoming year. Do you include all of your maintenance personnel in the planning process? Do you invite administrative and other support to participate? Write to me and let me know, we’d like to share your ideas and thoughts about business planning for the aircraft maintenance facility.

Greg Napert, Proud to be an A&P

About D.O.M. Magazine

D.O.M. magazine is the premier magazine for aviation maintenance management professionals. Its management-focused editorial provides information maintenance managers need and want including business best practices, professional development, regulatory, quality management, legal issues and more. The digital version of D.O.M. magazine is available for free on all devices (iOS, Android, and Amazon Kindle).

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Greg Napert (
Publisher, Sales & Marketing

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Director of Business, Sales & Marketing