WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
Continuous process improvement is not a new concept in the Air Force.
According to Department of Defense instruction 5010.43, when it comes to CPI training, 5 percent of a unit’s members must have their Green Belt certification and 1 percent must have their Black Belt certification.
Green Belt certification is a five-step process that includes attending a Green Belt academics course, observing and participating on a team at a CPI event, co-facilitating an event, facilitating and leading an event, and lastly getting approved as certified. Ideally, the process should take about six months to one year, but with a lack of CPI events, the process can take longer.
At Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, the 442d Fighter Wing has developed a partnership with the local company Enersys which is proving beneficial at furthering CPI training.
The partnership started when Lt. Col. Joe Walter, the wing process manager for the 442 FW found out about Enersys’ own utilization of CPI. He said he reached out to the company and was later invited to the company to see one of their CPI events. From there, the idea to partner was born.
Brian Roush, the Enersys operating system manager, helped in getting the partnership established, as he understands the benefits of improving processes and the benefits to both parties.
The members on the Enersys CPI teams don’t fully understand CPI processes like those who have taken a Green Belt academic class, said Roush. It’s beneficial for Enersys to have the Air Force participants come and be a part of the teams because they come with the knowledge and understanding of CPI, and can help coach and provide a new insight to Enersys’s processes.
“I want to make sure that whoever I send is definitely a quality person because they’re representing the 442d,” said Walter. “I don’t want to send someone who’s not actively participating and actively helping with what we’re trying to do with our partnership.”
Master Sgt. Steve Gilbert, the aircraft maintenance squadron production superintendent with the 358th Fighter Squadron, co-facilitated an event and was the first practitioner to participate with Enersys.
As a co-facilitator, Gilbert said a big takeaway from Enersys was their methodologies to improve their processes, some of which that could be helpful if implemented at Whiteman CPI events.
Master Sgt. Logan Goldschmidt, a traffic management craftsman with the 442d Logistics Readiness Squadron, also attended one of Enersys’ CPI events July 9-13, 2018.
Goldschmidt observed and worked on the team to get one step closer to achieving his Green Belt certificate. He said his experience was beneficial as he was able to observe the facilitators and how they were able to refocus the team throughout the event.
The partnership is good, said Goldschmidt. It should help speed up the process of training.
As the CPI team continues to make innovations throughout the unit, the expectation of an increased mindset for innovation is anticipated.