Modern Leaning techniques praised

Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, listens as Tinker's Gary Epler explains continuing work flow improvements in Bldg. 3001's F100 Business Area. During the commander's visit Tuesday and Wednesday, he saw several examples of employee-driven improvements and efforts to emphasize safer work environments. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, listens as Tinker's Gary Epler explains continuing work flow improvements in building 3001's F100 Business Area. During his visit the general saw several examples of employee-driven improvements and efforts to emphasize safer work environments. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE -- Team Tinker welcomed Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, to Tinker AFB for a two-day visit of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, which was structured around his three focus areas: mission, people and continuous process improvement.
   Gen. Carlson emphasized how AFMC is working to increase future workloads at the depots through programs such as Air Force Lean Initiative for the 21st Century, and the 10 core processes of the Air Force.
   "We developed the life-cycle management approach to acquisition and sustainment of all weapon systems to ensure we considered the most economical and effective solution for the long term," said Gen. Carlson.
   The life-cycle management approach is part of the Air Force's Transformation Vision, a strategy to re-engineer critical processes, identify and prioritize processes for improvement, and redesign them whenever they fall short of the immediate or long-term expectations.
   The strategy also includes harvesting resources to support transformation and modernization of Air Force and joint capabilities. Part of the strategy also includes establishing a culture of continuous improvement to achieve increased efficiencies that will allow the Air Force to return resources toward recapitalizing Air Force weapon systems and infrastructure.
   Transformation and Lean processes were key topics on Gen. Carlson's agenda for visits to each of the command's three air logistics centers this week.
   One of the many process improvements Gen. Carlson saw was a Black Belt Project about an in-dock cabin pressure decay check. This project was among the many briefings planned for Gen. Carlson. The presentation was given by Brian deFonteny, Industrial Engineering technician within the KC-135 organization and team leader on this Black Belt project.
   "I was very honored to have the opportunity to brief the Six-Sigma Black Belt Cabin Pressure project at such a high level and I appreciate Gen. Carlson's influence to promote the engagement of future projects throughout the Air Force," Mr. deFonteny said. "Six-Sigma is a relatively new approach to problem solving here at Tinker, and has huge potential to save millions of dollars with process refinements and task standardization."
   After the briefing, Gen. Carlson praised the team of Tinker KC-135 personnel who used modern Lean techniques to reduce work flow days caused by repeated cabin pressurization tests. The Lean thinking saved the Air Force $212,500 in labor and redesigned the way future work is done.