Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 3 2010 Contents 22 www.defence.gov.au/defencemagazine
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Air Force has an exciting future ahead with the majority of its platforms and
systems being replaced by cutting-edge technology to develop the modern
The Strategic Reform Program (SRP) provides a
solid foundation for successful transition to Force
2030, and through the Air Force Improvement
(AFI) program, Air Force will deliver deep and
AFI is an approach that is capability-led, people-
focussed, cost-conscious, and is already delivering
substantial benefits, particularly in the area of
A number of pilot sites have been trialled to
develop and test the improvement methodology,
with several early and ongoing successes.
At RAAF Base Richmond, Air Lift Group, in
partnership with the Air Lift Systems Program
Office, have identified, and are implementing, real
capability and efficiency improvements within the
Hercules medium air lift capability.
Also at Richmond, 1 Combat Communications
Squadron in Combat Support Group has refined
its processes to reduce the amount of expensive,
high-priority freight required to deliver combat
At RAAF Base Edinburgh, the Surveillance and
Response Group is working with the Over the
Horizon Radar Systems Program Office and its two
industry partners to develop options for improving
the operation of Jindalee Over the Horizon
Radar Network, and to find ways of lowering the
In addition to the activities already underway, Air
Force, in partnership with the Defence Materiel
Organisation, is poised to implement a rolling
wave program that will see each of the Force
Element Groups (FEGs) conduct an end-to-end
review of capability delivery and sustainment.
The reviews will result in a range of improvement
projects, aimed at assisting the FEG and DMO to
be more effective and efficient in the delivery of
One of the keys to the success of this work will
be the close partnership with the DMO, DSG and
The work done to date with these partners is
already starting to deliver tangible improvements
to Air Force capability and the workplaces involved.
The challenge is to carefully and deliberately build
on early successes and remain focused on the
ultimate outcomes: maintained capability, a cost-
conscious culture and a permanently lowered cost
of doing business through the elimination of waste
and redundant processes.
As part of the Air Force
program, Air Combat Group
(ACG) recently set up an
Air Combat Reform Team
(ACRT) to coordinate and
within the FeG.
The Air Lift Group’s effort to
improve efficiency has resulted
in significant reductions in
the time required for servicing
the C-130 Hercules aircraft
by 37 squadron at RAAF Base
Commander Air Lift Group, Air Commodore
John Oddie said the outcome has enabled
extra aircraft to be available to fly each
day, while a new training regime for the 37
Squadron team has also been implemented.
“During 2009, there was a lot of effort to
improve the efficiency of a C-130 servicing
program at 37 Squadron,” AIRCDRE Oddie
“A range of detailed plans and improved
procedures has been established and
arrangements have been made to ensure
that necessary parts and supplies are readily
within reach when needed.”
These achievements were made by 37
Squadron personnel, without the assistance
of outside experts, but with support from the
local Air Force Improvement team.
AIRCDRE Oddie said that recognising the
results the Air Lift Group achieved through
its efforts can sometimes be difficult, and so
some of the commanders at headquarters
took the time to hear what supervisors and
technicians had to say.
“We wanted to understand what they had
done, how they felt about the change and
LeFT: Pallets packed with humanitarian aid and supplies
are loaded into a 36 Squadron C-17 Globemaster during
Operation Samoa Assist in October last year.
Photo: AC David Said
The ACRT is part of Headquarters ACG and is
responsible for supporting the Air Combat Reform
Board by facilitating the identification of possible
improvements to ACG’s capability delivery. The
ACRT is also supported by the local AFI team.
A continuous improvement project was recently
conducted at 6 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley
to review the F-111 supply chain and introduce a
continuous improvement culture to the Squadron.
The project was called Project Pipeline and
ran for a number of months, facilitated by the
Amberley AFI team. The project team consisted of
members from 82 Wing Operational Maintenance
Section (OMS), 6 Squadron Logistics Section and
Stakeholders included 82 Wing and 6 Squadron
executives, maintenance and logistics staff, Strike
Reconnaissance Systems Program Office, business
units and Joint Logistics Unit-South Queensland.
The project goal was to improve an existing
priority demand process, so the team learnt and
implemented the methodology of ‘Define-Measure-
Analyse-Improve-Control’ and was provided
training to develop a Voice of Customer (VOC) and
Value Stream Maps (VSM).
The project team gathered data on the supply
chain including the time and distance travelled
for each demand, the time required to complete a
demand, and the location of the stock.
The data gathered produced some surprising
results. For example, more than 60 per cent of
demands were ordered against the OMS, and there
was only a 20-minute time difference for priority
demands and standard demands from OMS (due
to the time required to complete priority demand
ABOVe LeFT: Commander of Air Combat Group, Air
Commodore Mel Hupfeld compliments No. 1 Squadron on
the great work achieved in preparing the next-generation
Super Hornet aircraft for the series of flights to Australia
at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California.
Photo: ACW Kylie Gibson
ABOVe RIGHT: The Air Combat Reform Team is
coordinating and implementing continuous improvement
projects with the Air Combat Group.
what they thought they had achieved,” AIRCDRE
“Visits by senior staff to really understand
these matters can cause some nervousness, but
after 10 minutes or so we all got comfortable
and started to share real understanding of the
The initial focus was on productivity
achievements, but the real human achievements
emerged when the team discussed their new
workplace after having been deployed overseas
for many months.
“They were just easing back into work and still
rebuilding family achievements, but the new,
highly-productive workplace gave them the
certainty of engagement with their family – they
knew when they were knocking off, and they
knew when they were starting,” AIRCDRE Oddie
“One comment was: ‘I get to kick the soccer ball
around with my kids each day and they know I
will be there’.”
AIRCDRE Oddie said the team also discussed
the frustration that arises in an unmanaged
workplace and discovered the sense of
professional pride in planning the work and
having the plan succeed.
“We recognised the value of reduced frustration
through not having to re-enter a part of the
aircraft numerous times to enable different
bodies of work to be done.There were many
other small benefits found that day.
“The learning for us came from realising that
when a team discovers a new and better way of
doing business, the achievements can easily be
wider than we expect.
“Many small things can create substantial
improvements when taken together and
occasionally we need to sit down and reflect
upon our achievements to really understand what
we have achieved together.
“Sometimes the exceptional can be right in front
of us but we need someone else to point it out,”
AIRCDRE Oddie said.
The 37 Squadron team now relies on better
internal and external relationships, a renewed
willingness to look at its own workplace from an
informed perspective and the recognition that
there is no alternative but to change if they want
AIRCDRE Oddie said the lessons learnt have also
made a real impression at the executive level
and bode well for replicating the 37 Squadron
successes throughout Air Lift Group.
Deep reform keeps
Air Force at
By Flight Lieutenant Belinda Lister
One of the suggestions from the VOC was a Repco-
style shopfront for the maintenance staff to access
F-111 parts which would allow maintenance staff
to immediately access most parts and therefore
reduce waiting and travelling times. This sparked
an idea to move the 82 Wing OMS from its
previous location approximately 300 metres from
the Squadron to within the 6 Squadron facilities.
Key stakeholders were briefed on the project
outcomes and recommendations, and approval was
granted for the OMS move to go ahead in early
2010. Excellent teamwork was integral to the move
as the necessary arrangements were made for
the OMS warehouse and staff to move into 6SQN
In a dove-tailed solution, 82 Wing OMS is now
operating alongside 6 Squadron Logistics Section
and maintenance staff can access most parts
Overall, the project resulted in more efficient
processes and a reduction of double handling. It
is a step in the right direction to reduce waste in
inappropriate processing, waiting time and motion
for maintenance and logistics staff. The project is
now being reviewed and the original data will be
measured again to document the cost reductions.
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