ContactAshley Hubler MainStream GS 319.841.4105 firstname.lastname@example.org
Facilitators lifeline in AFSO21 processby Tech. Sgt. Christin Michaud 436th AW Public Affairs
9/30/2009 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Dover Air Force Base is leading the way in process management when it comes to Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century.
This year, the wing has had more than 50 key process improvement initiatives, according to Ron Collins, 436th Airlift Wing AFSO21 program manager. In order to continue at this rate of success, the program relies heavily on AFSO21 Level 1 facilitators.
Currently there are only 12 Level 1 facilitators assigned to Dover. Fortunately, Dover is one of only two Air Mobility Command bases that have Level 2 facilitators assigned, which enables the wing to offer the Level 1 Course locally. Level 2 facilitators are able to teach, mentor and certify Level 1 students.
The most recent class, held Sept. 8-11, is an attempt to add another half dozen facilitators to the mix.
Facilitators are the lifeline of the process, explained Main Stream Consultant Terry Schroeder. Each Rapid Improvement Event or Six Sigma Project requires a Level 1 Facilitator to keep the team on track. Facilitators guide the subject matter experts on each team through the problem-solving processes like the OODA Loop (Observe, Orient, Decide and Act) or identifying one of the eight types of waste. They also aid teams in using problem-solving tools and techniques such as brainstorming, answering the five why, using affinity or cause and effect diagrams and Pareto Analysis.
These tools channel team members through the process-improvement initiative with the help of the facilitator for a successful event.
Master Sgt. Jill Pratt, 436th Operations Support Squadron, NCOIC Operations, Aircrew Flight Equipment, and Lean Awareness Instructor, took the opportunity to learn more about the problem solving tools used in AFSO21 in the Level 1 Class. "I would like to learn and become comfortable with all of the tools necessary to be a good facilitator," she said. "The more comfortable I am with (the tools) in class, the more effective I will be when I get out there and start taking part in events."
She's already seen the positive results AFSO21 can have in an organization. "It has had a tremendous impact on Aircrew Flight Equipment," said Sergeant Pratt. "We recently merged with Survival Equipment and with it, we also had to merge our facilities. It wouldn't have been possible to fit everything as well as we did without applying some AFSO21 techniques."
AFSO21 is about results and increasing operational support with clean-slate thinking.
"We eliminate waste with process improvement," said Mr. Collins. "It's all about making life better for our Airmen."
Making life better can be as simple as identifying non-value added time in current processes. By doing that, it is possible to reduce the workload and in some cases allow Airmen shorter shifts, more time off and increased morale.
"Cutting the waste is what I like most about AFSO21," said Senior Airman Evon Pretulak, 436th Aerial Port Squadron. "Waste to me equals down time. If we can cut out the waste we become more efficient. We find ourselves having to do more with less and still expected to sustain the work load. With AFSO21 we are empowered to fix our broken processes, ultimately elevating morale and eliminating the number of Airman we have on a particular task. We can switch those extra individuals over to accomplish another task."
Use of the AFSO21 process enables units to maximize their resources.
"Waste is exhausting," said Master Sgt. Melissa Sawyer, 436th AW AFSO21 assistant program manager. "It is easy to see the benefit in (AFSO21) when you don't have to work as hard," said Sergeant Sawyer.
Facilitators drive the process in eliminating waste through events here. The best candidates for facilitators are those who are passionate about process improvement, according to Dover's AFSO21 experts. Facilitators are an important part of the cultural transformation and process improvement here at Dover.
In addition to the training, course attendees must continue self study of the AFSO21 process and become Lean Awareness Instructors as well as complete Phase 2 training or participate in an improvement initiative. Additionally, as part of the upgrade training, trainees must observe a Rapid Improvement Event facilitated by a Level 1, co-facilitate an RIE with a Level 1 and finally, facilitate an RIE on their own while being evaluated by a Level 2.