Sabers come out on top with USAFE 2006 Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award

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  • By Capt Jennifer Lovett
  • USAFE News Service
U.S. Air Forces in Europe announces its winners for the 2006 Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award.

The 52nd Fighter Wing F-16 Mission Planning Team from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and the 86th Maintenance Squadron Propeller LEAN Initiative Team from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, beat out the competition with their innovative employment of processes that made good use of available manpower and resources and reduced production time for their products.

"These two packages were among seven amazing packages across the command," said Janet Glick, USAFE Personnel Directorate Management analyst.

Spangdahlem's team was operating out of an ancient facility that was hampering mission preparation.

"The major obstacle to renovation was the compartmentalized layout of the vault which was optimized for ballistic missile survival but completely inappropriate for day-to-day operations of a modern fighter squadron," said Maj. Don Kang, 52nd Operations Support Squadron.

In less than eight months, they took a half-century old facility and transformed it into a state-of-the-art fighter operations facility.

"In addition, we decided to refurbish all the AV equipment and create training software on our own. The self-help solutions saved the Air Force more than $160,000," said Major Kang.

Ramstein's team was inundated with C-130 propellers that are crucial to the war effort. But the old organization and set up of the maintenance facility was creating turn-time and shipping problems.

"We consulted with a firm that helps the manufacturing industry transform their production efforts into a ‘pull' process know as LEAN," said Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Arnts, 86th Maintenance Squadron. "This improved process affected increased production and efficiency which resulted in us reducing our in-work time by 55 percent per propeller."

The LEAN time-saving measures also reduced manhours by 29,000 and saved the Air Force $1.3 million annually in shipping costs. The shop is responsible for up to 110 C-130s in the Central Command area of responsibility that are disbursed to seven different locations made up of 17 different units at any one time.

"Congratulations to the members of both teams for a job well done and good luck in the Air Force-level competition," said Lt. Gen. Rod Bishop, USAFE vice commander.

The teams face Air Force competition in September.
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