C-130 Hercules News

Hill AFB maintainers break record using "Art of the Possible"

January 26, 2015 (by Hill AFB) - The 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group's C-130 team recently shattered their aircraft delivery performance record by delivering an aircraft in 107 flow days.

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Members of the 572nd AMXS at Hill AFB, pose with a sign commemorating their record-breaking performance. The squadron used the Air Force Sustainment Center Way process to reduce the number of "flow days" of depot maintenance from 117 to 107. [USAF photo by Alex R. Lloyd]

The 572nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron completed the aircraft Dec. 18, 2014 and bested their previous record by 10 days.

Officials said it was a critical milestone on their "AFSC Way journey," discovering the "Art of the Possible."

According to the Air Force Sustainment Center, "The Art of the Possible is about "reaching beyond today's limitations to grasp previously unimagined heights of performance. It is about challenging each other to recognize opportunities, eliminate constraints, improve processes and optimize resources to achieve world-record results. It isn't about working harder, cutting corners or jeopardizing workplace safety but about expanding our vision of what is truly possible and refusing to settle for marginal improvements."

Officials said this definition, taken from the AFSC Way guidebook, provided focus for the C-130 team to craft their 117-day AoP goal and, as a result, the C-130 team built their Production Machine to produce 40 aircraft per year requiring a "takt" time of 9 days. In other words, they need to produce an aircraft every 9 days to produce this 40-per-year goal.

"Restructuring our operation around AFSC's Leadership Model and Production Machine methods represent two cornerstones to our squadron's success," said David Mann, 572nd AMXS director.

The Leadership Model lays out a clear blueprint for leaders at all levels and brings a new focus on people, processes, and resources to achieve results never imagined.

"This is a tough business, but with our enterprise partners sharing the same goals and with us empowering our workforce, we see achieving 'Art of the Possible' results on every aircraft as our next milestone," Mann said.

The Production Machine methodology provides a scientific approach to breaking down depot flow into measurable gates with clear amounts of workload established for each gate.

The C-130 Production Machine has five gates. These gates encompass the time an aircraft arrives to when the aircraft passes its functional check flight requirements.

To remain on a 9-day tempo, the team built these gates around multiples of 9-day periods and aligned all required tasks to fit the timing needed. Officials said the gated process provided the structure necessary to paint a clear picture of what may drive any slow-downs.

When a bottleneck is discovered, unit personnel focus intently on how to 'bust' the constraint by using data-driven analysis and continuous process improvement efforts.

"This improvement in velocity does not come at the cost of safety and quality," said Mann. "We embraced the principles in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program to ensure a safe environment and we use customer-driven feedback to improve the quality of the aircraft. In fact, our safety incident and quality defect rates stand at a 10-year low. This is a testament to the unit's personnel, as well as their professionalism and dedication to providing the warfighter combat ready aircraft at a cost-effective price."

Although the 107-day completion of tail number 16-5739 was a huge milestone, the C-130 team realizes there is still a lot of work in the future to sustain a 117-day flow. Officials said. The squadron will continually work towards achieving 'Art of the Possible' results to ensure warfighters have what they need and continue to work tirelessly to remove more days "and downward adjust our AoP goal from 117 to 85 days."


Courtesy of 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group

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