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Moody Airmen use AFSO 21 to get it right the first time

by Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres
23rd Wing Public Affairs


9/6/2007 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFPN)  -- Members of the 723rd Maintenance Squadron here are currently redesigning the incoming A-10 Thunderbolt II phase inspection operations with a top-to-bottom evaluation of its facilities in a rapid improvement event, or RIE.
 
By redesigning the layout of the stations where Moody Air Force Base A-10Cs receive their 400-hour scheduled inspections, 23rd Wing officials hope this Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century initiative will dramatically shorten the effort, time and materials it takes to get the job done. 

"We are doing this now because we have a unique chance to design this from the ground up," said Senior Master Sgt. Mike Smith, the 723rd MXS lead production superintendent. "I don't think an AFSO 21 RIE has ever been accomplished on an A-10 phase dock before it is operational. Most A-10 units have been in place for several years and have worked out of the same facilities for a long time. The ability to design an improved layout for our inspection dock ahead of time is quite unique."

The group of participants includes representatives from every workcenter affected by the phase process. Process and efficiency experts were brought in to teach the maintainers about the RIE process.

The only factors the team won't be evaluating are basics, such as the numbers of aircraft they must inspect, the building they will work from and the operational tempo that dictates how often aircraft must be inspected, Sergeant Smith said.

"However, everything else is open for change," he said. "This team has been taught the status quo may not always be the best way to do things and to look for unconventional alternatives to old problems. We all knew going into this event that we would have a tough time shifting out of the 'This is the way we've always done it' mentality. I have found the group has shifted and is really thinking out of the box."

So far, the results have been impressive, said Master Sgt. Carlos Fajardo, the 723rd MXS production superintendent.

"We have learned better and more efficient ways of doing business," said Sergeant Fajardo. "Lately, the slogan has been to 'Do more with less,' but to quote one of the team members, we want to 'Do less with less.' What he meant is that we want to do less work with fewer Airmen to perform that same function."

The first A-10C phase is scheduled to begin sometime in early November, he said. Some of the necessary equipment is still on its way from Pope AFB, N.C., and many of the new ideas will require adjustments on things such as tool kits and panel racks.

The value of a smoothly operating phase dock is an increase in the combat capability for the 23rd Wing, Sergeant Smith said.

"Every time we complete a phase inspection on an A-10C it gives the 23rd Wing 400 more hours of flying time until it is due another phase," he said. "If we can't consistently add those 400 hours every week, our combat capability quickly becomes hampered.

"Think of it as a checking account," he said. "Flying operations depletes the available number of hours an aircraft can fly. If phase starts missing deposits into the available combat capability of the wing on a regular basis, soon you will overdraw your account. If we overdraw the A-10C account, it means we can't go to war."

Future manning levels and mission requirements for the 23rd Wing made this RIE an easy choice, Sergeant Fajardo said.

"The Air Force is in a time of force reductions," he said. "We need to adopt and implement more efficient and innovative ways of doing business. The process is not about reducing manpower, it is about freeing up manpower to accomplish other functions that all Airmen are now being tasked to perform."



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