AFSO21 - Getting Results at Sheppard

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux
  • 82nd Training Wing commander
I think that by now most of you are familiar with the Air Force's AFSO21 (Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century) program. If not, AFSO21 is simply a mindset dedicated to continuous improvement of key Air Force processes with the goal of reducing waste, inefficiencies, and little-value-added activities. AFSO21 is critical in this era of downsizing to help us continue to do the mission with less people.

You may ask, "What's going on with AFSO21 here at Sheppard?" We have launched a number of AFSO21 efforts here at Sheppard that have already made a big impact . Let me give you a few examples: 

-- Discharge Process for Airmen in Training - We've made a 30% reduction in the time it takes to discharge airmen who are being eliminated from tech school. This has saved the Air Force nearly a million dollars in the last year and reduced the oversight burden for our training squadrons. 

-- Maintenance Training Aircraft Utilization - We've implemented a tracking system to determine how frequently each of our 75 training aircraft are being utilized in various tech training courses. This close tracking has already revealed that we may be able to eliminate as many as five aircraft, which will save almost a half million dollars per year in maintenance costs! 

-- Pharmacy Prescription Fills - Process improvements there have reduced customer waiting times an average of 15 minutes with a resulting 24% increase in customer satisfaction.

-- TDY-to-School Travel Orders Processing - The 982 TRG streamlined their process for cutting travel orders at each of their 45 worldwide detachments for the thousands of students they train annually. Remarkably, they've cut orders processing time by 94%! 

-- War/Contingency Plan Review Process - Streamlining this process has cut the review time for base plans from 180 to 30 days and actually improved the quality of the reviews.

Although we've had some impressive results, we're not resting on our laurels. Our AFSO21 office, led by Mr. Dave Toms, is busy planning future "lean events." Some of the initiatives include: streamlining in-processing for airmen in training, facilitating the process for turning in excess computer/IT inventory, reducing the time to develop or change tech training courses, reducing the time required to track long-distance telephone calls, and eliminating or reducing time spent supporting various wing-level additional duties.

You know, despite all these great AFSO21 efforts, I'm convinced there are many more wasteful processes here at Sheppard that could be slashed or eliminated. I have a feeling that many of you have good ideas or suggestions that could be acted upon by our AFSO21 experts. If you have an idea for significant base- or wing-level process improvement, I challenge you to reply to this article by sending me an e-mail directly with your suggestion. I'll be sure it gets forwarded to our AFSO21 team and will get you a reply right away.

So what are you waiting for? Stop sitting on that good idea. Stop asking "Why do we still do that wasteful process?" Instead, take the time to send me an e-mail and help us figure out how to make Team Sheppard more efficient. Come on, send it in!