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View Full Version : We AFSO21'd AFSO21



sharkhunter
10-22-2013, 10:07 PM
I remember hearing about AFSO21 day in and day out when the concept first started. Even got certified as a green belt. But now with AFSO21 and the IDEA program being a distant memory now, has anyone heard of the new "lean" concept that the AF is trying to implement? Late last year, one of the last AFSO21 reps told me that the AF might be coming up with "AF Lean" or "AFSO21 V2" but nothing has been seen yet.

Nickymaz
10-22-2013, 11:00 PM
Yo dawg, we heard you liked AFSO21, so we AFSO21'd your AFSO21!

Gonzo432
10-23-2013, 01:03 AM
Back in 99 then CSAF Gen Ryan said, "We're going to operationalize Quality." Nobody asked, "Sir, what do you mean by that?" or "Sir, is that a real word?" and Quality went away!

SomeRandomGuy
10-23-2013, 01:17 AM
I remember hearing about AFSO21 day in and day out when the concept first started. Even got certified as a green belt. But now with AFSO21 and the IDEA program being a distant memory now, has anyone heard of the new "lean" concept that the AF is trying to implement? Late last year, one of the last AFSO21 reps told me that the AF might be coming up with "AF Lean" or "AFSO21 V2" but nothing has been seen yet.

Asked for some help from the AFSO21 office one time. Talk about a terrible idea. Instead of providing any actual input they insisted on drawing charts and "brainstorming". Never again.

20+Years
10-23-2013, 05:19 PM
I got reprimanded in AFSO21 for telling them its major weakness lies in its "follow-up" stage. Once the follow-up stops, the process will become broken again. In otherwords, unless "the fix" becomes a truly inspectable checklist item, in one way or another it will break again. Derailed the whole conversation, Col ended up mad at me.

Yeah, should of just kept to myself that day. However, I didn't get invited to any AFSO21 events! :party2:

OtisRNeedleman
10-23-2013, 06:11 PM
Always thought TQM, Quality AF, etc., were jokes. Have always stood for common sense, doing the right things, and doing things right. These buzzwords and fads just gave a lot of AF supernumeraries jobs back when the AF was twice the size it is today. Don't need people doing that useless stuff in today's AF.

Measure Man
10-23-2013, 09:21 PM
I remember hearing about AFSO21 day in and day out when the concept first started. Even got certified as a green belt. But now with AFSO21 and the IDEA program being a distant memory now, has anyone heard of the new "lean" concept that the AF is trying to implement? Late last year, one of the last AFSO21 reps told me that the AF might be coming up with "AF Lean" or "AFSO21 V2" but nothing has been seen yet.

They may have done it!

Buddy of mine is/was a civilian in a MAJCOM AFSO 21 office...he's out of job..."sequestration cut"


Back in 99 then CSAF Gen Ryan said, "We're going to operationalize Quality." Nobody asked, "Sir, what do you mean by that?" or "Sir, is that a real word?" and Quality went away!

I know what it means.

Quality did not go away...it has in fact been operationalized.

What it means, is that it is no longer a "separate program"...it is "just our way of doing things.".... i.e everybody and every function uses metrics to track and improve performance. This was something that came from the "Quality" initiative. Now, it's just what we do.

People across the AF talk and think in terms of looking at and improving processes...again, this came from Quality. It's no longer a "Quality" program, it's just the way we do things.

We now talk about Problem statements, Root Causes, Corrective actions, preventive actions, monitoring improvement, standardizing improvement, etc....again, all stuff that came from "Quality Air Force" that are now just how we do things.

Before, it was just find it, write-it up, fix-it, smack someone. Yeah, a lot of people still operate that same way just put the quality labels on it...buuuuuut...overall, the AF still does Quality every day, if you compare it to how the AF ran prior to QAF.

AFSO21 is more or less the same as Quality Air Force, names were changed to protect the innocent.

Measure Man
10-23-2013, 09:26 PM
Always thought TQM, Quality AF, etc., were jokes. Have always stood for common sense, doing the right things, and doing things right. These buzzwords and fads just gave a lot of AF supernumeraries jobs back when the AF was twice the size it is today. Don't need people doing that useless stuff in today's AF.

Where the AF messes up is having a TQM-office, a Quality-office, and a AFSO21-office. We screw up solid management techniques by making them separate programs.

A commander/manager/leader should NOT have a Quality-office....he/she should learn about these techniques and apply them in their everyday decision making. That's how it works.

I remember during the Quality AF stuff...we would have a staff meeting, and THEN, the commander would have a Quality Meeting, with quality reps from all the flights...what I told her was she was missing the point...the staff meeting should BE the quality meeting...we should be using the quality techniques to run our daily business, not as seperate business.

We shouldn't be saynig..."Hey, you guys run an AFSO21 event this month...let me know what you decide to do."....it should work, like "Hey we've got this problem...any ideas? Hmmmm...maybe we should try some of this AFSO stuff on it."

Bunch
10-23-2013, 09:30 PM
It looks like Lean Six Sigma is already making its way to some corners of the Air Force...


'Lean' workshops helping clinic staff improve productivity

by Robert Goetz
Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

6/6/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- An initiative is under way to turn the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Medical Clinic into a "lean" facility.

A series of "lean" workshops began in May, orienting 359th Medical Group active-duty members and civilians to ways they can improve processes to save resources and eliminate waste in the delivery of health care services.

"Lean is a process of eliminating waste," Tech. Sgt. Rolando Guerrero, 359th Medical Operations Squadron Physical Therapy Flight chief, said. "The plan is to change the topic each month and focus on a new lean tool so employees can rapidly use it in their duty sections."

The first workshop - titled "What is Lean?" - was delivered to 60 people over the initial four one-hour class periods, he said. Participants divided into two teams and simulated the process of treating patients from start to finish, attempting to treat as many as possible within five minutes in two different rounds.

Link to article: http://www.jbsa.af.mil/news/story_print.asp?id=123351453

Chief_KO
10-24-2013, 01:15 AM
One word for my fellow TQM/QAF survivors:

FISHBONE!!

imported_AFKILO7
10-24-2013, 02:51 AM
I'm in the AFSO 21 "Lean" course right now...I asked the question has there been an AFSO 21 event for the events that haven't been successful? The instructor was not amused, I was asking an honest question and was not trying to be snarky either.

Okie
10-24-2013, 11:20 AM
It looks like Lean Six Sigma is already making its way to some corners of the Air Force...

To quote from an Air University PA communique: "...the AFSO21 program, a process very similar to the Department of Defense's "Lean Six Sigma..." http://www.acc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123170102 There ain't a lot of difference.

There are several problems with applying Deming's Quality stuff as well as Lean/Six Sigma. These are built for manufacturing processes. Everybody understands the goal is to make widgets. Anything not directly linkable to making widgets is waste. It gets a lot more complicated when applied to the AF. What is our "widget"? What is absolutely critical in making that widget? What is waste? Until people can come to an agreement on the answers to these questions, it's a self-licking ice cream cone, and we're doing [flavor of the month] just for the sake of doing [flavor of the month] instead of using is as a tool to actually improve (as MM said).

Too much of our time is spent trying to get our "tribe" ahead of all the other "tribes" or to make things easiest for our "tribe" instead of doing what's best for the overall mission.

BENDER56
10-24-2013, 07:30 PM
One word for my fellow TQM/QAF survivors:

FISHBONE!!

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Stop! I had forgotten all that crap!

BENDER56
10-24-2013, 07:43 PM
I have a confession to make. According to an old AF Magazine article I dredged up, AFSO21 was launched in March '06. I retired in November '10. In those four-and-a-half years, I never once received any official information on AFSO21 -- not a briefing, not a CBT, not even a forwarded email. Nothing. During those intervening years, I would see oblique references to it in other sources and I always went, "Huh. I wonder what AFSO21 is?".

So one day I was once in a conversation with some other SNCOs about something unrelated and AFSO21 came up tangentially and I said, "What the hell is AFSO21, anyway?", and I got some odd looks until one guy laughed and I laughed and everyone laughed and I never mentioned it again. I guess they figured The Shirt was being funny. Seriously, I still don't know what it is but it doesn't much matter now.

Z1911
10-25-2013, 02:47 AM
Awwww...c'mon!!!! Where's the love?

TQM, Quality AF, Lean Six Sigma, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum...are all valid methods of improvment of operations for the arena in which they were created: The Corporate/Business world where the bottomline is one thing: Profit Margin. The best way to envision how these programs boil down to their simplest components is to consider this: When a commander asks for a "Quality Review", "Lean" review (or whatever) of a given situation, the simplest way to answer him is in the form of a question (a la 'Jeopardy!'): "What would Toyota do?" Plain and simple.

The problem is, no matter how much the "leaders" of the DoD (which, BTW, used to mean the Department of Defense, which was also previously known as the Department of War) want it to be otherwise, DoD/War Dept does not exist to make a profit. It is not in the business of Profit Margin.

We exist for two reasons: To break things and to kill people (specifically, the enemy). Our ultimate customer is the enemy. And the ultimate service we provide to that customer is to kill them. There was a time when we used to "Fly, Fight, and Win". At least that is what used to be the business of, and the reason for the existence of the DoD/War Dept. There is no denying that the focus has been lost.

"Nation building", "Meals on wheels", Community "Service", etc., are not things the DoD/War Dept should be expending its time, effort, and resources on. If that's what floats your boat, then get the hell out, and go join the Peace Corps or the UN. Those are the organizations you need to be in, because doing those things are in their mandates. It's why they exist.

TQM, Quality AF, Lean Six Sigma, etc., are doomed to failure in the DoD. That will never change. And it shouldn't change. I took an oath to "protect and defend the constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic". Nowhere in that oath does it say anything about nation building, hand holding, and Kumbayah singing. If it did, then maybe the bottomline of profit margin would be the ultimate goal/function. In that reality, TQM, Quality AF, Lean Six Sigma, etc., would have validity.

Gonzo432
10-25-2013, 10:51 AM
Awwww...c'mon!!!! Where's the love?

TQM, Quality AF, Lean Six Sigma, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum...are all valid methods of improvment of operations for the arena in which they were created: The Corporate/Business world where the bottomline is one thing: Profit Margin. The best way to envision how these programs boil down to their simplest components is to consider this: When a commander asks for a "Quality Review", "Lean" review (or whatever) of a given situation, the simplest way to answer him is in the form of a question (a la 'Jeopardy!'): "What would Toyota do?" Plain and simple.

The problem is, no matter how much the "leaders" of the DoD (which, BTW, used to mean the Department of Defense, which was also previously known as the Department of War) want it to be otherwise, DoD/War Dept does not exist to make a profit. It is not in the business of Profit Margin.

We exist for two reasons: To break things and to kill people (specifically, the enemy). Our ultimate customer is the enemy. And the ultimate service we provide to that customer is to kill them. There was a time when we used to "Fly, Fight, and Win". At least that is what used to be the business of, and the reason for the existence of the DoD/War Dept. There is no denying that the focus has been lost.

"Nation building", "Meals on wheels", Community "Service", etc., are not things the DoD/War Dept should be expending its time, effort, and resources on. If that's what floats your boat, then get the hell out, and go join the Peace Corps or the UN. Those are the organizations you need to be in, because doing those things are in their mandates. It's why they exist.

TQM, Quality AF, Lean Six Sigma, etc., are doomed to failure in the DoD. That will never change. And it shouldn't change. I took an oath to "protect and defend the constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic". Nowhere in that oath does it say anything about nation building, hand holding, and Kumbayah singing. If it did, then maybe the bottomline of profit margin would be the ultimate goal/function. In that reality, TQM, Quality AF, Lean Six Sigma, etc., would have validity.

Outstanding post!

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
10-25-2013, 12:57 PM
Having been trained in Lean by Boeing and U. Of Tenn, then earning a Green Belt, I have seen first hand where AFSO21 has removed waste from processes and made my guys' jobs easier. While it's true DoD doesn't make a profit, it can still use Lean, six sigma, etc to make processes more efficient for those who still have jobs. Bottom line, it works!

The AF's problem is that the leaders are clueless about what Lean really is, just another tool to remove costly, wasteful practices from our processes. Instead, like QAF, some want to turn it into some kind of program that has quotas and must be managed and inspected. That alone is AFSO21's downfall.

BISSBOSS
10-25-2013, 05:35 PM
Awwww...c'mon!!!! Where's the love?

On Point!

TQM, Quality AF, Lean Six Sigma, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum...are all valid methods of improvment of operations for the arena in which they were created: The Corporate/Business world where the bottomline is one thing: Profit Margin. The best way to envision how these programs boil down to their simplest components is to consider this: When a commander asks for a "Quality Review", "Lean" review (or whatever) of a given situation, the simplest way to answer him is in the form of a question (a la 'Jeopardy!'): "What would Toyota do?" Plain and simple.

The problem is, no matter how much the "leaders" of the DoD (which, BTW, used to mean the Department of Defense, which was also previously known as the Department of War) want it to be otherwise, DoD/War Dept does not exist to make a profit. It is not in the business of Profit Margin.

We exist for two reasons: To break things and to kill people (specifically, the enemy). Our ultimate customer is the enemy. And the ultimate service we provide to that customer is to kill them. There was a time when we used to "Fly, Fight, and Win". At least that is what used to be the business of, and the reason for the existence of the DoD/War Dept. There is no denying that the focus has been lost.

"Nation building", "Meals on wheels", Community "Service", etc., are not things the DoD/War Dept should be expending its time, effort, and resources on. If that's what floats your boat, then get the hell out, and go join the Peace Corps or the UN. Those are the organizations you need to be in, because doing those things are in their mandates. It's why they exist.

TQM, Quality AF, Lean Six Sigma, etc., are doomed to failure in the DoD. That will never change. And it shouldn't change. I took an oath to "protect and defend the constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic". Nowhere in that oath does it say anything about nation building, hand holding, and Kumbayah singing. If it did, then maybe the bottomline of profit margin would be the ultimate goal/function. In that reality, TQM, Quality AF, Lean Six Sigma, etc., would have validity.

When I was still in the AF, my wife got a certification to teach Lean, Six-sigma and AFSO21. I gave her a VERY similar spech on why I didn't think those programs were for the AF (in general... I'm certain they have valid applications within specific functions and arenas in the AF) and why I thought they were doomed.

I was called a "Nay-sayer"...

She is now a total convert and says Nay right along with me (us)!

-BB-

Z1911
10-25-2013, 10:20 PM
Having been trained in Lean by Boeing and U. Of Tenn, then earning a Green Belt, I have seen first hand where AFSO21 has removed waste from processes and made my guys' jobs easier. While it's true DoD doesn't make a profit, it can still use Lean, six sigma, etc to make processes more efficient for those who still have jobs. Bottom line, it works!

The AF's problem is that the leaders are clueless about what Lean really is, just another tool to remove costly, wasteful practices from our processes. Instead, like QAF, some want to turn it into some kind of program that has quotas and must be managed and inspected. That alone is AFSO21's downfall.

I'm not saying we can't "work smarter". Example:

Scenario: Process 'X' is broke.

Answer 1: Let's form a committee/team (whatever) and brainstorm about it. We can spend hours and days at an ‘off-site’ location, getting off track while drilling down into the minutiae (which ultimately have nothing to do with Process 'X') of what/where/how/when/why Process 'X' got broke.


OFF-SITE SIDEBAR:
When performing a long and complex task (like command decision-making by committee), and when you’ve gotten utterly immersed in secondary and tertiary unexpected tangential subtasks, it’s easy to lose sight of the initial objective. This sort of distraction can be particularly problematic if the all-consuming subtask or sub-subtask is not, after all, particularly vital to the original, primary goal, but ends up sucking up time and resources (out of all proportion to its actual importance) only because it seems so urgent.

Translation: When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s easy to forget that the initial objective was to drain the swamp.

Answer 1 (cont'd): Then we can do up pretty little charts and graphs, and diagrams, and (God forbid) PowerPoint presentations to present what the committee/team has come up with over the hours and days spent brainstorming about it. Then we can staff it up via TMT so it gets hashed, rehashed, trashed, bled on (red ink), and sent back so the committee can go back and attempt to take every minion's opinion into consideration before re-creating pretty little charts and graphs, and diagrams, and (Allah forgive us) new PowerPoint presentations to finally be allowed to come into the presence of the commander and spend an hour going over it all. Elapsed time: Longer than it took God to make the world.

Answer 2: Low-dude on the totem pole comes up with a different angle. Try’s it out. It works! Shop chief says, “Way to go, low-dude!” At next staff meeting, shop chief tells boss, “Low-dude came up with a great new way to do Job ‘X’. Saves time, money and effort. Not to mention, IT FREAKIN WORKS!” Boss says: “Git ‘R Dun!!!!”

What I'm saying is we shouldn't need some damn committee/team to sit around and brainstorm about something when a simple command freakin' decision can be made (almost) on the spot to accept someone's idea for a "better way" to do something (It may even be your own idea/solution!!!). The way I was brought up, if it takes a committee to make a decision, then the battle has already been lost. Just look around at the piss-poor, failed results of "command-by-committee" that are everywhere around us. What’s that? You haven’t seen any results?

That’s because they’re all still trying to figure out how to drain the swamp at the ‘off-site’ location… :bowl

Okie
10-26-2013, 08:43 AM
The AF's problem is that the leaders are clueless about what Lean really is, just another tool to remove costly, wasteful practices from our processes. Instead, like QAF, some want to turn it into some kind of program that has quotas and must be managed and inspected. That alone is AFSO21's downfall.

Amen.