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Logistics management
B-1 Division members Carlos Luna, Peggy Slavin, Debra Franklin and Michael Kreft, from left, listen as Gina Torrey, logistics management specialist with the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center Aerospace Sustainment Directorate Weapon Supply Chain Management Office, briefs them on “Planning New Programmed Depot Maintenance Requirements Checklist” training. The purpose of training is to bring together the subject matter experts at the beginning of the requirement generation phase to strategically and collaboratively develop and document new tasks. (Air Force photo by Beverly Jones)
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BPA No. 1: Planning to make a difference

Posted 11/12/2010   Updated 11/12/2010 Email story   Print story


by Brandice J. Armstrong
Tinker Public Affairs

11/12/2010 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- In late October, Maj. Gen. David Gillett, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center commander, introduced the Breakthrough Performance Area concept at the State of the ALC presentation.

There are four desired BPAs. Each has its own objective and correlates with a specific strategic goal. Designed as a focus area of a particular goal, BPAs enable strategic goal owners to broaden their problem-solving skills.

The first BPA is Acquisition Performance and correlates with the first strategic goal: Meet Customer Weapon System Availability Requirements. Owned by the OC-ALC Aerospace Sustainment Directorate, the BPA has two goals. They are 100 percent implementation of valid, supportable and executable depot maintenance tasks for aircraft and, 100 percent implementation of valid, supportable and executable depot maintenance repairs for propulsion.

"This breakthrough area is important because it's the critical first step to making programmed depot maintenance better," said Col. Mark Beierle, OC-ALC/GK director. "To make improvements, it's not just GK. It's also the Defense Logistics Agency, Air Force Global Logistics Support Center and the 76th Maintenance Wing. It's truly a broad team that has to come together to make us successful and improve in this area."

While the wording of the BPA may appear confusing to those unfamiliar with the aerospace sustainment line-of-business, Colonel Beierle said the message is simple: it's about getting the planning right.

"If the planning is wrong, then when it's time to actually start turning wrenches, it's not going to go well," he said. "It's about getting the right folks involved, doing the right level of planning to make the PDM work successful."

To achieve the fervor of the message, three key words -- valid, supportable and executable -- are used.

"Valid" describes the engineering need and necessity for the task. "Supportable" ensures the right groups are supplying the appropriate items and quantity of them toward the task; and "executable" planning for the work to be performed.

"When we say 100 percent, we mean we've done the right planning in each of those three areas to be successful," the colonel said. "So when the airplane or jet engine arrives, we've got the right engineering, tech data, the parts and the mechanic with the right tools all at the right place to do the work."

In order to achieve the BPA, the colonel said his team is planning for the future. While he would like to achieve the BPA in fiscal 2011, it will likely take two to three years to see sustained improvement.

But, there are challenges to face. The colonel said one obstacle is each weapon system has its own way of doing business. The objective of the BPA is to standardize the entire requirements generation process -- from planning to execution. This will be accomplished first by regulating and developing the right measures for the planning portion that the directorate owns. From there, the directorate will work in partnership with AFGLSC and the maintenance wing on the execution processes.

The directorate created a checklist in which experts from the directorate and maintenance wing are brought together at the beginning of task creation to strategically and collaboratively develop the game plan.

More than 200 subject matter experts from the directorate and maintenance wing are learning the collaborative planning process. Officials said roughly 60 percent of personnel have already received training.

"The maintenance wing is pretty solid in the executable. So it's that valid-supportable part that we've got to get really tight," Colonel Beierle said. "We've got to be accurate in providing the right part list and right quantity associated with that part to our supply chain partners.

"That's absolutely critical; otherwise, they're going to do what we tell them to do," the colonel said, "and if we tell them something wrong, they're going to perfectly execute the wrong thing."

In the past two years, the directorate has studied processes for requirements generation in both aircraft and propulsion. They found their efforts yielded positive results only 50 percent of the time for new tasks in aircraft. The goal is to improve the planning process and thereby, increase success for when the jet arrives.

"It could be because we don't have the tech data right. It could be because we don't have the parts right or we missed a piece of tooling required to do the task," Colonel Beierle said. "For whatever reason, 50 percent of the time, we're not successful."

But, they're determined to make the change.

"This is really about standard work," Colonel Beierle said. "We must have a process that's repeatable, disciplined, documented so that we get the planning right each time!"

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