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Same problem, new solution

By Tech. Sgt. Ave Young | 12th Flying Training Wing | June 14, 2017


In September last year, David Duggar, the new propulsion shop supervisor for the 12th Flying Training Wing at Joint Base San Antonio – Randolph saw an opportunity to improve performance that affected two shops in the 12th Maintenance Group.

Duggar listened to his employees’ recommendation after discovering an oil leak on a J-85 jet engine gear box during a test.

The problem was an old one but Duggar knew the solution didn’t have to be.

A thorough investigation revealed that a bolt near a hard to reach seal had pulled out. Normally, Duggar said, it’s at this point when his technicians would order a replacement gearbox.

“One of the things we should all be looking at as a supervisor or manager is when people come up to you and say ‘we’ve always done it like that,’” said Duggar.

Duggar said that the cost of the way his shop had been fixing the problem involved sending the gearbox to a third party for repair and that equaled $80 thousand for each engine.

Duggar called for a shop huddle to discuss the situation.

“Maybe we shouldn’t be always doing it this way and use the energy and take the time to dig in and get the facts and see, is that really the way you want to continue doing things?”

Duggar, a Continuous Process Improvement black belt, challenged his team to think ‘outside the box.’

Soon thereafter, his team found a $600 installation tool set another shop in the Maintenance Group could use to replace the stud and lock ring for the gearbox pad without the engine leaving Randolph.

“It’s a classic example of a team of professional maintainers who came across a problem and decided that there might be a better way than what they had been doing previously,” said Robert Hamm, Deputy Director, 12th Maintenance Group.

When the engine and machine shop combined their effort the result was increased repair capability that saved money and man hours valued at nearly $90 thousand per engine.

“We do continuous process improvement to make our workplace safer, more compliant, and more effective shop and the beauty of that is it all leads toward increased mission efficiency and effectiveness,” said Hamm.