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Process improvement team tackles GTC delinquency, initial results positive

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Bob Jennings
  • 442d Fighter Wing Public Affairs

In June of 2021, a Continuous Process Improvement team came together to try to figure out why the 442d Fighter Wing’s government travel card delinquency rate exceeded the standard set by the Air Force. Five months later, the preliminary results are in.

From September of 2019 to May of 2021, the wing held a monthly average of 7.74 percent delinquent dollars on its GTC accounts. The Air Force standard is to have no more than a 2 percent average over any three-month period.

A high GTC delinquency rate can affect the wing’s readiness and ability to accomplish its mission by limiting members’ ability to travel if their GTC gets suspended, Mrs. Shallyn Troutman, the wing’s process improvement manager said.

With the problem clarified and validated, the team needed to find the performance gaps – those points at which the process was failing. They primarily discovered that members just didn’t know whom to turn to for help with travel voucher issues.

Armed with the knowledge of where the process needed improvement, the team collaborated on setting an improvement target. Their initial goal was maintain a 5 percent or better standard across any three-month interval by September 2021 (crushed it!) and then to have the entire program in compliance with AFRC’s standards by June 2022.

Before they could start to work toward those goals, though, the team needed to find the root cause. They determined it to be a lack of training and standardization of work throughout the wing.

To address the issue, the CPI team devised five countermeasures, ordered by the amount of “bang for the buck” each would provide. That is, they selected based on a combination of how difficult the measure would be to implement versus how effective it would be in addressing the root cause.

First, team members worked on developing member training resources to help cardholders better understand and work through the travel card process.

“A lot of things seem to boil down to a lack of knowledge at all levels,” said Ms. Lesley Kleyh, a budget analyst with the 442d Fighter Wing’s financial management office. “That’s something that we’ve really been trying to push, even outside of these countermeasures. In FM, we’ve really been trying to brainstorm and implement new processes and procedures that will help the members – try to take the strain off of them – as much as we can.”

Second, they set out to standardize agency program coordinator procedures so that the process works the same in every unit in the wing.

Third, they’ve begun meeting with commanders to educate them on the nuances and the requirements of the GTC program and plan to add additional APCs and brief new commanders about the program.

Fourth, they’re building on the member training resources they created to develop supervisor training so no matter whom the member asks for help, they should get the same answers. The member’s direct supervisor is the first reviewer to ensure the voucher is correct before it gets routed for payment.

And finally, since the Command Support Staff is the final step before the voucher goes to finance, the team is working to standardize CSS training and hopefully minimize the number of vouchers that get kicked back to members.

Five months into the process improvement timeline, the team has shown an ability to meet their initial goals. Over the next seven months, they’ll continue to track GTC delinquency rates to ensure the trend keeps moving in the right direction.