The Path Forward

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins Public Affairs
A little science could make a big difference, and Robins is using it to conduct business more productively and sustainably.

Put simply, the business leadership model - dubbed "The AFSC Way" - is a scientific method which is showing success across the Air Force Sustainment Center.

It provides a way of examining and solving daily challenges using standardized processes and established methodologies focusing on people, processes and resources while still supporting the tenets of speed, safety, quality and cost effectiveness.

The model provides leaders with a roadmap for developing their people to ensure they have the right skills, standardized processes and the proper resources to achieve mission success - not just today, but for the long haul.

"Under the AFSC way, we believe there's a premium in process discipline, a scientific way of doing any work you do," said Brig. Gen. Cedric George, Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex commander.

"Nothing we see seems brand new, but this is designed to put a simplified model in place that focuses on how we're going to do the work," he added. "The difference is that now each of the three depots will operate the exact same way.

The major difference is that this is a process, not a program that will come and go in another few years, George said. "Walk into any other AFSC depot, and the way we do business is standardized."

Doug Keene, a 27-year civilian who started his career on the shop floor, said the new approach is exciting.

"When every Team Robins member believes the process can and will work, the sky is the limit," he said. "This process will produce results if we follow the rules and do it the right way."

It's also a corporate approach to how we conduct business.

"I believe we have a culture - all the way up and all the way down - that's saying we're going to do it the right way," Keene added. "If you do it the wrong way, and get results - that's just not acceptable."

Keene said he believes civilian employees have to own the process to be successful and "not wait on leadership to make us get better. This is your production machine, not leadership's."

Col. Chris Hill, Installation commander, agreed.

"The AFSC Way will be enabled by a leadership culture," said Hill. "Every member of this installation is responsible for leading in their own team. In order to move ahead using this model, it's crucial all employees are engaged. We're in a natural position to collaborate and we need everyone on board."

As a world-class depot in the business of maintenance, repair and overhaul of advanced weapon systems such as the C-5, C-17, C-130 and F-15 aircraft, the model outlines a scientific approach so those same individuals can work as effectively and efficiently as possible.

"Robins must remain competitive, not against other depots, but against other services and commercial depots, said Hill. "We want to see a steady increase in performance, not cyclical up-and-down production performance that characterizes the recent past at Robins.

"We need to be consistent and perform to our potential," he added. "We should measure our performance against a world-class standard. That's the value of the AFSC Way."

The Methodical Approach

"It's paramount we understand this model is not just about numbers on a board determining aircraft delivery," George said. "It's not about aircraft leaving Robins as quickly as possible ... it's crucial that the production process flows the same way, every time. It's about safety and a covenant with our workforce that puts in place measures to mitigate any risks.

"And, it's about delivering a quality product to our customers in the most cost-effective way possible," he said. "It makes sure all four aircraft production lines - and eventually all of our production lines - operate in this scientific way."

Keene agreed.

"The process works," he said. "It's up to the workforce to make it their own. It's the only way we're going to survive. If we decide we want to do well, and we want to be in an area where we grow and don't lose workload, then each one of us has to decide this is where we want to go."

AFSC Way Supporting Tenets:

- Speed isn't about cutting corners. Instead, it's enhanced by our ability to quickly identify, elevate and eliminate constraints.

Quality - While speed is important, quality is paramount. Defects in our products have the potential for disastrous effects on our warfighter. Mistakes will happen, but we have tools to identify and prevent repeats. We build trust and confidence by doing our jobs right the first time.

- Workforce safety is the priority. We need to ensure everyone who comes to work in the morning goes home at night ready to give their best the next day. Safety is about taking care of our people, and ensuring their work environment and processes keep them safe at all times. A strong Voluntary Protection Program is essential. Keeping the most valued members of our team safe is critical to the success of our organization.

Cost Effectiveness - The defense environment is changing and a heightened awareness of cost is forcing Air Force leadership to take an ever-mindful look into our spending. To understand where we can reduce cost, we must first have a firm grasp on what it costs to produce our products and services. Then we must identify areas to reduce costs, eliminate wastes. The taxpayer and our warfighter customers are counting on us to provide available, affordable and capable weapons systems on time, on cost. Our ability to reduce cost and sustain weapons systems will affect our ability to defend our nation.