Air Force Makes Engine Maintenance More Efficient Through Process Improvement

Air Force Makes Engine Maintenance More Efficient Through Process Improvement

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Air Force Makes Engine Maintenance More Efficient Through Process Improvement

The wave of process improvement measures across the U.S. military has continued, with the U.S. Air Force recently announcing its latest successes in this area.

Moody Air Force Base in Georgia reported that changes in how personnel at the base approach maintenance and repairs to the TF-34 engines used by the A-10C Thunderbolt II have resulted in immediate improvements.

Process improvement measures have been taken on by the 23rd Component Maintenance Squadron.

U.S. Air Force Major Michael Irwin said in a prepared statement that “Airmen at all levels” have taken a positive attitude toward adopting the changes.

He added that members of the squadron “have completely embraced the idea of continuous improvement and they want to be the best.”

Process Improvements

The squadron changed many different processes to improve the efficiency and timeliness of engine maintenance for the Thunderbolt II’s, which have an “increased flying mission,” according to the release.

The changes they put in place included:

  • Focused training for Airmen on common problems
  • Using projections to determine engine parts that would be needed in the future to stay ahead of demand
  • Improving communications across the squadron
  • Adding photos to technical orders

The results have been immediate. The base basically has saved an entire shift of time, which equals eight hours of four Airmen working on an engine.

Since the beginning of the year, the squadron has produced 31 engines and had a streak of 18 straight engines with no defects.

Six Sigma and Defense

There are many reasons why Six Sigma process improvement methodologies work with the military just as with private businesses. The primary reason is that Six Sigma is a flexible methodology that can adopt to the unique issues facing the Department of Defense and branches of the military.

As with the case with the Airmen, Six Sigma allows for the streamlining of operations and a focus on immediate tasks. That’s important in a large, complex organization such as the U.S. Air Force or any other branch of the military.

Some of the areas where Six Sigma has made improvements for the military include reduced wait time for security clearances, improved fuel efficiency and maintenance work, decreasing the amount of overtime and extra labor needed in engineering and decreasing the time needed to process civilian contractors.

The use of process improvement methodology has been so successful that Moody Air Force Base has also worked on engines for other bases, saving costs and time. The extra work has not impacted the base’s operations.

Irwin said the effort “speaks volumes about our level of efficiency and effectiveness and it’s only going to get better.”

The post Air Force Makes Engine Maintenance More Efficient Through Process Improvement appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

By: James LoPresti
Posted: September 6, 2017, 3:19 pm

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