2006: Robins AFB Ups the Ante with 3 Shingo Prizes
Last September, DID’s “Robins AFB Wins Shingo Gold Prize” covered the C-5 Programmed Depot Maintenance workforce’s receipt of an award that BusinessWeek magazine referred to as the “Nobel prize of manufacturing,” awarded annually to companies that demonstrate world-class business results through the implementation of Lean Manufacturing principles and practices. Robins AFB were the first public sector winner of the Shingo (Gold level) prize.
This year, 3 groups from the 402nd Maintenance Wing of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center accepted awards at the Shingo Public Sector Conference on September 7th…
The C-5 Programmed Depot Maintenance received the Gold award again, and the F-15 PDM (Programmed Depot Maintenance) and F-15 Avionics both received the Shingo (Bronze level) award. As an example of achievements involved in receiving this award, maintenance and overhaul of the super-giant C-5 Galaxy aircraft that used to take 400 days now takes just 140 days or less, without any loss in quality.
The C-5’s readiness rates have been a significant problem for many years, leading to a major upgrade program as well as maintenance process improvements. The efforts are synergistic, however, and share the same goal – getting the C-5s out of the hangars, and into the air.
The F-15 fleet has become the backbone of the USAF’s medium-range strike capability, as well as serving in a key role for North American defense. As this 1980s-era fleet ages, therefore, maintenance improvements will continue to ise in significance.
The Warner Robins Air Logistics Center (ALC) is one of the Air Force’s three air logistics centers, and one of the three largest depot repair facilities in the US military. The ALCs are the largest, most modern and most efficient of the eight DoD Aviation Depots. Warner Robins ALC is the Airlift Center of Excellence for the US Air Force, managing the Giant C-5 Galaxy transports, as well as smaller C-17 Globemaster, C-141 Starlifter, and C-130 Hercules aircraft. In addition, the center also serves as the “sustainment manager” for Combat Systems such as the F-15 Eagle, E-8 JSTARS, U-2 spyplane and related intelligence systems, and Special Operations Systems. To execute this capability, Robins has developed over 30 sustainment Public-Private Partnerships with industry.
With the US Air Force pushing its Smart Operations 21 lean process improvement approach (AFSO 21) throughout the service, senior officials believe Robins AFB’s receipt of the Shingo awards has helped to boost their efforts. “It allowed those of us within the services who were advocating for this to get the attention of other senior leaders who were not part of the transformation at that point,” General Wetekam said of the prize. Early wins are indeed a critical component of corporate change efforts, and external recognition as significant as the Shingo Prize certainly fits that bill.
The Shingo Prize is named in honor of the late Dr. Shigeo Shingo who helped create, train and write about many aspects of the renowned Toyota Production System and related production systems. The prize has platinum, gold, silver, and bronze levels, and is administered by The College of Business at Utah State University in cooperation with several nonprofit and corporate organizations.