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AIMD Uses AIRSpeed Speed in Effort to Save Time, Money

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100410-03
Release Date: 4/10/2010 12:20:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Barry Riley, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Abraham Lincoln's (CVN 72) Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Detachment (AIMD) recently began implementing a system to help reduce the cost of shipboard maintenance while simultaneously decreasing the time it takes for parts to get from the shop back to the squadrons.

Fourteen AIMD Sailors attended a week-long class at Naval Station Everett to learn about Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) AIRSpeed and brought back that knowledge to be implemented in their work centers.

Implemented in waves, or groups of work centers, Enterprise AIRSpeed was developed in 2004 from a variety of time and money-saving tactics used by Naval and Marine Corps installations. It helps supply and operations departments streamline their workloads and constantly improve maintenance processes while saving time and money, explained Jim Brown of NAVAIR.

"AIRSpeed is a new way to complete goals," explained Brown. "It's a way to create a culture of continuous improvement in an effort to streamline all of a business' processes."

AIRSpeed brings the tools of continuous process improvement to Naval Aviation's non-production, transactional service environment. Using AIRSpeed tools including the Theory of Constraints, Lean and Six Sigma, employees at all levels are able to improve ways to change how NAVAIR does business at every level of the organization: headquarters, business unit, department, program office and integrated product team, according to the program's Web site.

Of the 14 Sailors, Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Jonathan Robles said after taking the course, he could already see where AIRSpeed will be very beneficial to the mission of the ship.

"Depending on what's being worked on, AIRSpeed makes that process quicker, in turn affording Sailors more time to keep improving our other evolutions," he said. "AIRSpeed is unique because it can be applied to almost anything from aircraft maintenance, to something as simple as routing a leave chit."

The Theory of Constraints, Lean and Six Sigma are the three key points that govern the AIRSpeed program. Each is a written instruction that helps work centers analyze and cut away unnecessary steps to streamline their processes, saving them time, personnel, resources and money, explained Robles, of the ship's Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Department.

The Theory of Constraints, as with any organization's processes, is the philosophy that there is always at least one limitation. Lean focuses on the removal of wasted resources, time, or anything else that doesn't add value to a process. Six Sigma is a strategy that improves quality of the products put out by focusing more on customer needs.

"The whole program is basically a system to help corporations refine a way of identifying the weakest link in a process and working around it or cutting it out in order to feed the stronger links," said Robles.

According to Brown, many other organizations Navy-wide have already begun their AIRSpeed journey, including Intermediate Maintenance Activity (IMA), Naval Aviation Depot North Island and IMA Norfolk, which were among the first to receive their training when the program started several years ago.

"Other carriers used this process to become more efficient in the chow hall lines and with ship's laundry," he said. "Corporations like Motorola and Toyota are using this process to become more successful. We began using these tools on AIMD first, but it will soon become ship-wide."

"It feels good to learn about AIRSpeed and apply it here onboard the Lincoln," said Robles. "The department's leadership trusts me and relies on me to help better the ship."

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