USAF’s “Smart Operations 21” Aimed to Improve Operations & Maintenance

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In its search to improve aircraft maintenance turnaround and improve quality, The US Air Force spliced elements of several civilian efficiency programs to develop “Smart Operations 21” (AFSO 21). The program is based on both Lean and Six Sigma business process improvement tools, and focuses on saving time and money, reducing waste and improving quality. The January 9, 2006 article “Air Force improving production with Smart Operations 21” describes the concepts behind Smart Operations 21, some examples of changes made as a result of applying these principles, and its envisioned applicability beyond aircraft maintenance and logistics. Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, USA has already applied a number of related principles to its efforts. As the 58th Maintenance Group’s commander Col. Debra Shattuck noted: New MH-53J workspace(click to view full) “The key to our success is to generate safe, quality aircraft for the flying schedule… Because we have small numbers of multiple types of aircraft, it is imperative that we minimize aircraft downtime.” Redesigning workspaces, rationalizing requirements and processes, and modifying other processes reduced turnaround time by 43% for the 58th Special Operations Wing’s MH-53J Pave Low III helicopters, and cut the phase standard time from 25 to 20 […]

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