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Group adopts 'AFSO21' early

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Will Powell
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Air Force Smart Operations 21 has been making a lot of news lately across the Air Force, but the 325th Maintenance Group here has been using the tool to identify and eliminate waste for more than a year.

According to the latest Letter to Airmen by Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne, AFSO21 is a leadership program for commanders and supervisors at all levels to systematically evaluate how and why Airmen do the tasks they do and how they might accomplish them more efficiently. The goal is to eliminate unnecessary waste - to reduce the time it takes to complete tasks and reduce costs while improving war fighting capabilities.

The maintenance group recently finished revamping and streamlining its fourth planned event - reducing the time it takes to complete and approve enlisted and officer performance reports - since undergoing the "new way of thinking."

Before AFSO21, the average time it took to completely finish and approve an EPR or OPR within the group was 82 days, due to the number of times the forms had to be corrected and approved at multiple levels. By reducing unnecessary steps, they have since cut that time down to 42 days on average, said Capt. Glenn Wright, 325 MXG AFSO21 program manager.

The same action used to streamline EPRs and OPRs can be applied to practically any process Airmen do in the Air Force, the captain said. "The foundation for AFSO21 is based on Lean tools," said Captain Wright. "Lean is a civilian-efficiency program used primarily in manufacturing to help see and eliminate waste in any given process - and it works. The maintenance group has embraced AFSO21 and it is already reaping the benefits."

The group eliminated 174 steps and saved more than 70 man hours combined from the four maintenance events the group refined. One of the events, revamping the F-15 Eagle phase dock inspections, increased on-time completions by 30 percent, which translates to more aircraft being available for training - faster. And that's important, said Captain Wright.

"I am thrilled by the possibilities that AFSO21 has at Tyndall and throughout the entire Air Force," said Lt. Col. Craig Hall, 325 MXG deputy commander. "We have just begun our journey in the maintenance group, and the investment we have made has already paid huge dividends. Once the rest of the wing sees what we have done, it's just a matter of time until everyone fully embraces AFSO21."
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