Continuous Process Improvement bears fruit

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs

The investment in Airmen’s ideas through a Continuous Process Improvement event this past January has Moody’s propulsion team displaying measurable improvements in the timeliness and effectiveness of supporting the A-10C Thunderbolt II’s increased flying mission.

Over the last seven months, The 23d Component Maintenance Squadron has gradually implemented the ideas from approximately 20 civilians and Airmen from almost every enlisted rank to better maintain the TF-34 engine used in A-10s. The results speak for themselves.

“We have seen our Airmen at all levels react positively to the initiative,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael Irwin, commander of the 23d CMS during the CPI event. “The men and women at the Propulsion flight have completely embraced the idea of continuous improvement and they want to be the best! You can feel that excitement every time you visit their facility.”

Irwin added that Moody’s Airmen led the way by gathering experts from across Air Combat Command to include personnel from here at Moody; Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona; Langley Air Force Base, Virginia; and civilian industry partners to participate in the CPI event.

“I’m blown away so far,” said Master Sgt. Matthew Price, 23d CMS aerospace propulsion craftsman and team leader of the overhaul event. “Since January we’ve produced 31 engines, not to mention an 18-engine streak of zero defects documentation and maintenance wise. That’s unheard of. I’ve been doing this job for three years and I’ve never gone on a streak of 18 engines.”

In order to reach new heights in maintenance proficiency, many little changes had to be made. They refocused training for new Airmen on common problems, began projecting what engine parts were needed, enhanced cross-unit and internal communication, and even added updated photos to technical orders to name a few changes.

“While I have all the manning I need, I don’t have enough skilled technicians,” said Price. “Which means my [newer Airmen] are stepping up in a big way. They’re taking the information we’re giving them and the fact that we’ve streamlined their job a little bit, listening and making themselves better each time.

“This has paid big dividends,” added Price. “We’ve basically saved a shift. That’s eight hours of four people working on one engine; simple math shows the savings.”

Not only have these changes helped alleviate the manpower per engine, but the processes have improved to the point of Moody being the only active-duty A-10 fleet conducting positive-timed engine removals.

By Air Force Instruction, engine parts have expirations before they require maintenance. After they reach their expiration, they begin to count in negatives until reaching a point that the aircraft is no longer allowed fly.

“As of September, we’re going to have our last negative-timed engine being dropped,” said Price. “What’s happening is that we’re producing engines at a faster rate. All these changes have helped us get to this point.

“It’s something we’ve been working long and hard toward and we’re about to be the first base to do it,” added Price.

Not only does the 23d CMS propulsion flight’s advances benefit Moody’s flying mission, but they’ve been able to reach out and help other units too.

“Moody has already directly supplied engines to other units within the [area of responsibility] and filled demands at other flying units with no impact to our flying mission here at Moody,” said Irwin. “This speaks volumes about our level of efficiency and effectiveness and it's only going to get better. I am extremely proud of the 23d CMS propulsion flight and I consider them some of the best Airmen in ACC.”