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April 13, 2012

AGE Flight reaps benefits of AFSO21

Staff Sgt. Corbin Simmons
Pg 4 photo

56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment

The 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment Flight recently took a closer look at the periodic inspection process with the use of Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century tools and lean principles.

The team of AGE technicians and an F-16 crew chief representing the voice of the customer worked together to improve the process.

“Our goal was to reduce the flow time of our periodic inspection process by 40 percent,” said Senior Airman Thomas Harkins, 56th EMS AGE journeyman. “This reduction would return equipment back to the flightline technicians to complete their mission much faster.”

One of the first steps in an event is to lay out a detailed map of the current process.

“This was a seemingly endless task as our process takes four days to complete,” said Tech. Sgt Erik Scott, 56th EMS AGE craftsman. “But it really opened our eyes to just how much waste we have built into our process over the years.”

The team deduced that the reason the inspection process was taking so long was due to the lack of a standard way of doing inspections. It didn’t help matters that high-use items required to complete the process were stored in an area away from where the inspections occurred.

As the team built their future state they considered the process from the customer’s point of view.

“As a crew chief, I know the importance of having that equipment available when it’s needed,” said Master Sgt. Lee Hartwig, 756th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “It was important to convey this message to the rest of the team.”

At the conclusion of the four-day event, the team briefed Lt. Col. Dominic Clementz, 56th EMS commander and event champion, with the projected results.

“By using the cell concept coupled with standard work and moving high-use items to point-of-use, we are projecting a 68 percent flow time reduction,” said Staff Sgt. David McAlister, 56th EMS AGE craftsman. “We will also have 60 percent less equipment in the shop, as we have now moved to a single-piece flow type system. This allows our customers to have greater access to equipment they need to prepare our F-16 fleet to achieve its mission of training pilots.”

Lt. Col. Clementz congratulated the team on a job well done and thanked them for their hard work.

“With upcoming financial and personnel restraints as a result of force reduction, the need for a smarter way of doing business has become more of a necessity,” he told the group. “I challenge you all to take the knowledge you learned in this event and continue to improve this and other processes, not just at Luke, but throughout your Air Force careers.”




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