USAF’s AMARC “Boneyard” Wins Process Improvement Award
The Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, AZ, also called “the Boneyard,” stores hundreds of older or retired aircraft outdoors in the dry Arizona sun (see Flash tour). The planes are then scavenged for parts, or restored to flying condition later for re-entry into active service. AMARC is sometimes the only place to get spare parts for older aircraft like the B-52 Bomber or F-111 Aardvark short of doing custom builds, and will become increasingly important given the rising average ages of the US tacair, bomber and transport fleets.
By reclaiming nearly 42,000 aircraft parts during FY 2004 and 2005, a team saved the government $1.25 billion, while providing parts support to American and allied warfighters. During a visit in 2004, DID Editor-In-Chief Joe Katzman was told the facility is that ultimate rarity, an active military installation that makes a net profit. As a result of these efforts, and some impressive strides in on-site performance, AMARC has earned a 2005 Lean Continuous Process Improvement award. Some process improvements included:
- Through continuous process improvement, the center reduced in-processing time to an average of less than 24 hours.
- Before, fewer than 10% of priority 1-3 parts shipped in 48 hours, and the average was 10.2 days. In 2004-2005, however, AMARC shipped more than 35% of all priority 1-3 parts in under 48 hours.
- Reclamation time for priority 4-8 parts was reduced by 75%, to an average of 5 days
- Reclamation time for priority 9-15 parts dropped by 74%, from 22 days to 5.8 days on average.
- Overall, the AMARC team returned 10,600 priority 1-15 parts valued at more than $267 million, and 4,800 critical “save list” parts valued at $177 million, to air logistic centers, item managers, the supply chain and other defense customers.
- The team also reduced safety mishaps – first aid, lost days and definitive care – from 11 in FY 2004 to 1 in FY 2005.
Center commander Col. Tony Panek and center director Sam Malone expressed pride in the achievements of their team. They have a lot to be proud of.