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LRS undergoes AFSO 21 process

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Col. Steven Winters, the 30th Space Wing vice commander, along with Maj. Manuel Perez, the 30th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander, and Tech. Sgt. Forrest Chambers, the 30th LRS surface cargo noncommissioned officer in charge, discuss the changes to be made to the cargo area of Building 5500 here. With the help of the Vandenberg's Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century team of experts, the 30th LRS will receive a month-long makeover to increase the overall efficiency of the cargo area. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Col. Steven Winters, the 30th Space Wing vice commander, along with Maj. Manuel Perez, the 30th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander, and Tech. Sgt. Forrest Chambers, the 30th LRS surface cargo noncommissioned officer in charge, discuss the changes to be made to the cargo area of Building 5500 here April 9. With the help of the Vandenberg's Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century team of experts, the 30th LRS will receive a month-long makeover to increase the overall efficiency of the cargo area. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Experts from Vandenberg's Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century program here are in middle of a month-long process alongside the 30th Logistics Readiness Squadron to plan ways to make the cargo area of Building 5500 here a more efficient work environment for its Airmen and management.

The AFSO 21 experts use Lean principles to identify areas that need improvement. These principles involve a '6S' process where the experts brainstorm ways to make the work space more efficient by means of organizing by sorting, straightening, shining, standardizing, sustaining and creating a safer work environment.

A group of 30th LRS Airmen assembled a month ago to share their ideas with Maj. Manuel Perez, the 30th LRS commander, who requested the assistance of AFSO 21 and their tools to better manage the cargo area. Shortly after the meeting, the team of Airmen sought out items that were considered waste and red tagged them for disposal.

"The success of what we do is determined by straightening-up and organizing the area so that it is easier for people in that organization to perform their job," said David Marston, the 30th Space Wing AFSO 21 Office chief. "This process allows Airmen to voice their ideas of ways to improve their work space."

Through these efforts, the Airmen collected 550 pounds of nails, the equivalent of approximately $4,000 in material costs, which are no longer used in the cargo area. The nails were donated to the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron for their use.

Major Perez had good intentions involving Vandenberg's AFSO 21 team, ensuring his Airmen's path to success.

"This process was a matter of respect," Major Perez said. "I respect my Airmen's time, energy and I understand the demands they are faced with everyday. I believe it is my responsibility to set them up for success. I want to reduce all of the waste within the work center and give the Airmen all of the right tools, clearly marked and in a safe environment so they can be proud of where they work."

To support the use of the AFSO 21 team, Major Perez uses an analogy of a medical operating room.

"All of the tools that a doctor needs in an operating room are right next to him, in their places and ready for use," Major Perez said. "That is the same mentality for our cargo area. Our business is packing and crating, and we want everything to be right next to where it is going to be used."

The AFSO 21 program provides Vandenberg's units with the tools needed to improve efficiency. The team often uses visual management tools to identify the work areas considered to be safe or hazardous and clearly labels areas designated for physical property to prevent man-hours lost due to the tracking down of misplaced items.

If you have any ideas on how your unit can improve its processes, contact the Vandenberg's AFSO 21 office at 605-7316.