Cost-Effective FOD Control

Cost EffectiveIt may be the tail end of the holiday season, but don’t expect Santa to shove a wad of extra cash into your airport’s FOD control budget. While the nation’s aging airport system requires numerous infrastructure upgrades, there’s not a lot of new money coming in. The new Congress is unlikely to increase FAA funding and may even cut it. Efforts to raise the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) cap have so far proved fruitless. Compared to major airports overseas, the US is falling behind. When funds are hard to come by, a good FOD program manager learns how to make do. Maintain your existing equipment as well as you can for as long as you can. Every month that you spend a few hundred dollars to keep that old machine running is another month that you don’t need to shell out many thousands of dollars on a new one. Milk your suppliers for every possible ounce of tech support; they want your business, so let them earn it. When it does come time to buy new equipment, get proactive and bring up creative financing options. If they want the sale, they will work out with you a mutually-acceptable cash-flow plan. If your facility has always made that extra effort to pay its bills on time, now is when that effort pays off for your program and staff. Be a smart buyer. Write up a detailed list of desired performance specifications and include it in correspondence, bid solicitations, and contracts. Ask your supplier for their product’s specifications, other facilities where it is currently deployed and, if possible, an on-site field demonstration. The last thing you want to do is purchase a hundred indoor FOD cans and then watch them rot in the outdoor sun. Is your facility planning a construction project? Most construction contracts require that the contractor keep the work area clean of FOD, so the contractor may have to purchase equipment, such as sweepers and barriers, to fulfill that requirement. Cut a deal with them to transfer ownership of that equipment to you once the project is complete. They recoup a portion of their original purchase costs and you obtain equipment for a portion of its market value. Do you have a GA airport or other facility with a relatively light surface sweeping program? A secondary market exists for used sweepers, which can save you a considerable sum. Even better, get in touch with suppliers and ask if they have an old demo unit that they would be willing to let go of for a nominal sum. This is a win-win situation—they pick up a few dollars and you pick up some extra hours of sweeping. Performance incentives to motivate staff to maintain safety standards need not cost and arm and a leg. A logo jacket or a dinner for two goes a long way to show appreciation. One great way to jazz things up is to let the staff select the type of reward, within the budget that you set, before you award it. Remember, you are not rewarding employees for following the rules. You are thanking them for making the personal decision to treat seriously their own safety, as well as the safety of their colleagues and customers.