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AFSO 21 produces results for vehicle operations

By Bob Hieronymus | Wingspread staff writer | Nov. 29, 2006

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — The first Air Force Smart Operation effort for the 12th Flying Training Wing kicked off at the Logistics Readiness Division's Vehicle Management Flight Oct. 16.

AFSO 21 is the Air Force's program to refine operations and services at all levels to maximize effectiveness while finding ways to reduce the demand on available resources.

Under the leadership of James Grobe, the wing's lead AFSO 21 facilitator, a team of "stakeholders" from the flight took a week to share ideas and define the processes of their organization.

"AFSO 21 is an opportunity for an organization to take a close look at itself in ways they had never done before," said Mr. Grobe. "This is a significant culture change for us Air Force civilians, especially since many of us come with a long history of active duty methods behind us."

James Williams, Vehicle Management flight chief said it took a couple days for the team to really grab hold of the concept that they could make changes, but by the end of the week, they identified several areas where they were not using their people most efficiently.

"We have been an all civilian team since the first of the year but were still using some of the older concepts that went with a joint military/civilian set up," he said. "Some people were working overtime while others didn't have enough work to fill their regular hours."

Mr. Williams said the customers were not getting the service that could have been provided by the flight.

Three major elements of the Vehicle Management Flight are due for changes as a result of this review, Mr. Williams said.

"First, we will train all our drivers to handle all the different vehicles," he said. "That way we won't have some drivers waiting for assignments while others are working overtime."

A second improvement will require a physical reworking of some of the office space, so customers will be able to complete their business in one stop rather than the current three or four stops, Mr. Williams continued. "This will save work for our own people too," he said. "We'll be able to rebuild the office space with low-cost self help resources."

The third significant area of improvement is in the dispatch process. The current 14-step process will be reduced to 10 steps. The old process took an average of 59 minutes, where as the new process will take 22 minutes.

Mr. Grobe said the 12th Medical Group is next on the list for the AFSO 21 process. Other elements of the wing will be worked later, but the goal is to use the AFSO 21 program to improve work processes across the entire wing.