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Air Force smart operations in full swing

WHITEMAN AFB, Mo -- Manpower reductions, leaner budgets and increased operations tempo have led to major changes in the way we do business throughout the Air Force and the 509th Bomb Wing. 

Many of these changes are coming quickly and in order to keep up we must rely on something called Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century. 

The term "AFSO21" is the transformation effort the Air Force is using to continue our combat capabilities and mission success as we face these major challenges, such as resource constraints, increased ops tempo, etc. 

So what is different with AFSO21? Well, AFSO21 is a unique model incorporating portions of "Lean thinking," Six- Sigma, as well as other process improvement models. 

It provides us the tools and flexibility to improve our processes as we see fit for the way we do business. Best of all, the ideas can come from any member - young or old. 

Many times it's the fresh set of eyes that have the best solutions. 

It opens up the door to sit people down, cut through the bureaucracy, and get things done. 

During the past week, the team held its second AFSO21 event within the 509th BW. 

The 509th Maintenace Squadron welcomed the chance to do a "6S," or sort, straighten, shine, standardize, sustain and safety event in the metals technology shop. 

Going into this event some of the hurdles the team had to overcome were: 

n The shop was divided into four rooms, which posed a safety concern 

n Antiquated machinery was not being used for current operations and two new machines were not operational - burning warranties 

n Equipment location was not logical for smooth operations flow - the technicians were walking a quarter mile for a single job. 

Results: faster, better, cheaper. 

n Two-man operations concept visible from shop office improved safety 

n All tools centralized to the work areas were standardized and more efficient 

n Equipment layout allowed for smooth flow of material through operations 

n Antiquated equipment was turned in and red-tagged 

n New equipment will recoup more than $228,000 in savings 

n Minimized walking distance and saved 741 feet of travel per item and more than 832 man-hours 

This was a tremendous success. Thanks to the metals tech section and the 509th Civil Engineer Squadron for the planning, goal setting and mission accomplishment. 

As a team, we even tore down a wall. It's not every day you get to do that. 

What we need from you: our next AFSO21 event is scheduled for the week beginning June 11, but we have yet to hammer down an event. 

This is where you come in. The AFSO21 facilitators are at your disposal, so if you have any ideas to improve your sections, squadrons, group or wing please let us know. For more information call 2nd Lt. Gavin Cummings at 687-7704, or Senior Master Sgt. Steven Brito at 687-1918.