AFSO 21: Rapid improvement events improve base performance

  • Published
  • By Richard Phillips
  • 95th Comptroller Squadron
The 95th Comptroller Squadron here held its first ever Air Force Smart Operations 21 rapid improvement event Nov. 26. 

AFSO 21 is a tool that enables problem solving and provides a means to eliminate waste. Through rapid improvement events, organizations assemble teams to systematically improve performance on essential tasks, which strengthen combat effectiveness. 

This project brought together special subject-matter experts from a variety of disciplines throughout the Edwards community to streamline the report of survey processing procedures and timelines. The survey program is vitally important from a property accountability perspective. It provides commanders a tool to conduct investigations for lost, damaged, stolen or destroyed equipment and, when appropriate, they can assign pecuniary liability. 

However the process, as it is currently performed, is inefficient and fails to meet Air Force standards for on-time processing. In many instances, report of survey is little more than a burdensome exercise in futility. Left uncorrected, the process has the potential of causing Team Edwards a "black eye" through failing to exercise good stewardship and accountability for assigned assets. 

Additional considerations must be placed on the potential loss of thousands of dollars from negligent or willful loss or destruction of Air Force equipment. To this end, the 95th CPTS requested rapid improvement events for the long-neglected report of survey program. 

Team Edwards is the first in Air Force Materiel Command to initiate a rapid improvement event for the report of survey program. Our pioneering effort spotlights Edwards, and as such, others will meticulously examine the final outcome of our process improvements. The lessons we learn and the processes we implement will serve as a benchmark across the command, allowing others to receive the distinct opportunity to leverage our experiences via this AFSO 21 initiative. 

During the first step of the rapid improvement event, the team identified the primary report of survey customers as unit commanders and equipment custodians. Both customers will directly benefit from a more efficient process. Secondly, the scope of the rapid improvement event was developed and refined. The team created a set of metrics to accurately describe value, type and impact of open report of survey cases. The development of actionable metrics will increase visibility and accountability. Lastly, AFSO21's goals were established, which will culminate into a streamlined and efficient report of survey process. The five created goals are: 
  1. Increase the number of report of surveys completed within 100 days by 50 percent. 
  2. Ensure all investigating officers are trained. 
  3. Reduce documentation errors and omissions. 
  4. Establishment of base-wide visibility for report of survey timeline, suspense and procedure. 
  5. Eliminate inefficient report of survey routing processes.
Throughout the event, each member gained a new appreciation for the beginning-to-end report of survey procedure and the cooperative effort of this team was exceptional. 

While the rapid improvement events centered on improving the report of survey program, many questions percolated regarding various contributing processes. These questions spurred team members to evaluate several of the feeder processes supporting the report of survey program. Ultimately, a few team members aim to conduct future rapid improvement events within their organizations to further improve their work areas. Additionally, one theme that persistently arose throughout the rapid improvement event was that asset accountability is a base-wide responsibility. 

We continue to work toward implementing the recommendations for improving the report of survey process and anticipate completion by March 2008. Support of leadership at all levels is vital in providing good equipment stewardship, maintaining a successful report of survey program and, when necessary, holding people accountable for the trust we place in them. The process will be streamlined by use of automation and refinement of tools, which will create a more user-friendly program. 

Ultimately, we will achieve the desired outcome of a positive and effective report of survey through the help and support of all of Team Edwards.