AFSO 21 a success at McChord

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- The banner hanging above the shop floor of the 62nd Maintenance Squadron Wheel and Tire Shop is a sign of the success of the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century program at McChord. 

The "2005 Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award" banner recognizes outstanding team performance and promotion of systematic process improvement, according to an Air Force news story. The award serves to promote mission improvement and cost savings as part of AFSO 21. 

Implementing waste-cutting tasks has changed the culture in the shop, said Senior Airman Alexander Rojas, 62nd Maintenance Squadron. For example, an overhead crane was added to assist with the transport of wheels and a storage area was constructed for new tires and machines to help with the buildup and teardown of wheels. 

"They're small changes, but they make a big difference," said Airman Rojas.
The simple changes have produced stellar results, he said. 

What the wheel and tire shop has been able to accomplish fits right into the Air Force's goal of changing the culture of killing the non-value-added work and improving how everything operates, said Robert Shaw, a Continuous Process Improvement consultant at McChord. 

"We have to get cultural transformation to get long term success," said Mr. Shaw. "The culture doesn't grow itself -- continuous improvement feeds the culture." 

Under CPI's plan, the five traits that go into breeding a Lean culture are discipline, urgency, communication, empowerment and learning. 

"We're trying to get these things engrained into the Air Force culture," Mr. Shaw said.
Another success story at McChord is the 62nd Operations Support Group's One Stop. 

After combining all the items aircrews need before taking off into one convenient location, launch times have dropped nearly 60 percent, said Maj. John Pantleo, 62nd Airlift Wing, who played an integral role in starting One Stop a little over a year ago. 

"It's not just the time savings [for launch times]," he said. "It's administrative too. By bringing the aviation resource and maintenance crew together, there is a system of checks and balances when it comes to the paperwork." 

Major Pantleo said that by opening the lines of communications, crews can avoid errors in paperwork by getting together and verifying facts before going their separate ways.