117th Intel Squadron Streamlines Processes
By Senior Master Sgt. Ken Johnson, 117th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 22, 2015
BIRMINGHAM, Ala -- The Intelligence Squadron at the 117th Air Refueling Wing executed a plan this weekend to clean up, organize much needed space and work more efficiently.
Capt. Brian Baltz, Assistant Director of Operations and Officer in charge of Systems at the 117th Intelligence Squadron recognized a need to improve an existing process by implementing a methodology commonly known in Lean Six Sigma training as a Kaizen Event.
Baltz, a Lean Certified and Six Sigma Black Belt, saw an opportunity to bring some of the skills that he learned in the private sector and apply them to the squadron. From a managerial and leadership perspective, Baltz wants to maximize his resources.
Baltz's plan is to eliminate the waste and create a very workable and useable space by implementing a process to Sort, Straighten, Scrub, Standardize, and Sustain known in the Lean methodology as 5s.
A storage room became the test bed for the initial training. A place where IT personnel store computer parts used to maintain critical systems throughout the squadron. "If we have a computer system that breaks as an example, I want our folks to go right to a nice inventory system that says I need this part, I go here, it's in stock, I can take it and go replace it. That saves us time. That saves us money and that gets us to a mission readiness state very efficiently," said Baltz.
Four personnel were selected for the initial training, Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Lowery, Staff. Sgt. Jon Carter, Staff. Sgt. Joshua Stoltz, and a private contractor. Stoltz, a traditional Guardsman and currently a Six Sigma Green Belt was selected by Baltz to lead the group.
To begin the process, Stoltz and his team got rid of anything that was not necessary by looking at what can be cleaned out and eliminated. He then created a checklist to maintain the inventory. The process took a couple of days to complete.
Lowery explains the value of this program to the military. Storing the equipment in the proper manner allows you to get to it when you need it. It eliminates the need to order new material because you can't find something. One cabinet with $150,000 worth of equipment could save a high price tag.
This is just a pilot program, but Stoltz hopes it will be further implemented. "If it's sustained correctly, it could be useful to the whole organization," said Stoltz.