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NEWS | Dec. 3, 2019

340th FTG process improvement event tackles Reserve status pay issues

By Janis El Shabazz 340th Flying Training Group Public Affairs

Subject matter experts from across the 340th Flying Training Group gathered at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Nov. 19-21 for a continuous process improvement, or CPI, event to address pay problems resulting when members transition between statuses, such as Active-Guard Reserve to Traditional Reserve or vice versa.

The CPI event was led by 340th FTG continuous improvement gurus Lt. Col. Sara Linck and Teresa Davies with oversight provided by Davies' improvement process mentor, Bob Daffin from Air Force Reserve Command. Members from each  squadron and from the headquarters commander support staff, finance, undergraduate flying training, military personnel section, medical and aviation resource managers worked together to identify possible root causes for inaccurate, slow or no pay when members transition between statuses.

The team used a pick chart and the “5 Whys” technique to rank and identify possible root causes, and brainstormed to generate potential countermeasures.

The team identified seven ‘pain points’ or possible root cause areas:

  • Appointment orders being delayed because DD214s were not  available in the Automated Records Management System or ARMS
  • Lack of transparency regarding reasons for delay
  • Statuses incorrectly identified during member transition
  • Lack of communication between key players during member transitions
  • CSS can't verify pay record change
  • No standardized processing lists
  • No clearly defined Air Reserve Personnel Center, group or unit processing task list

“It was a maze of issues because this process traverses Air Force Personnel Center, ARPC, force support, CSS, military personnel section, and financial management,” Davies said. “But the team was energized and worked with surgical precision to identify the root causes and the countermeasures to address inefficiencies in the process.”

Outbrief team leads recommended countermeasures to Lt. Col. Brent Drowns, group deputy commander, who represented the improvement process champion, Col. Allen Duckworth, group commander. Proposals included the following:

Military Personnel

  • Educate members on importance of getting DD214 into ARMS when transitioning to Reserve
  • Tour AFPC to build relationships and identify delays in production
  • Establish “live feed” of hiring status to give visibility of new gains overdue for an appointment order
  • Military Personnel document ARPC accessions processes

Military Personnel/Financial Management

  • Establish standardized checklists
  • Identify steps required to create Air Reserve Technician pay record to detect implementation shortfalls
  • Establish HQ collocated transition team consisting of members from CSS, FM and MPS to create synergy between the sections. This team would be backed up by a virtual transition presence visible to CSS, FM and MPS to head off roadblocks.
  • Give CSS pay record visibility so they can verify record changes
  • Assign a HQ transitions team lead

Financial Management

  • Define and map specific process tasks

“Throughout this process our efforts were focused on creating customer satisfaction that is value-driven, not task-driven,” Davies said. “Team members know that the pieces of paper they process have living breathing humans on the other end. Pay inefficiencies can dramatically impact members’ lives and thereby cause a negative impact to mission success.”

The team will now await feedback from the champion to determine the way forward.