MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --
An assortment of pens, sticky notes and highlighters align the desk. A continuous, back-and-forth discussion among Airmen buzzes, which could be confused with an active debate. Ideas fly through the air and are caught on scraps of paper.
While this process is not high tech, it's the way of the future for Misawa Air Base; these discussions form the basis of the Continuous Improvement Process program, which provides personnel the tools to analyze processes within their respective units to ensure the methods and procedures they're using are optimized.
Sixteen Airmen with the 35th Fighter Wing participated in the CPI program for approximately two weeks at Misawa Air Base in May.
During this time, Airmen achieved a number of accomplishments, such as producing operational solutions for concerns and receiving feedback on the way they mentored troops, through the leadership of "Green Belt" Airmen.
Green Belts are entry-level process improvement practitioners have been provided the initial level of CPI training, which introduces problem-solving tactics and skills. Green Belts are trained to eliminated waste and maximize customer value to solve process problems.
However, while Green Belts led the program, Green Belt hopefuls also took part in the exercise, learning the skills necessary to bring about process change.
“My role is to observe how the Green Belts mentor the CPI participants,” said Senior Master Sgt. Andrea Cogar, the Kadena Air Base, Japan, CPI installation process manager. “Once qualified as a Green Belt, that individual will be able to tackle squadron level issues without my assistance. In such a short period of time, I have observed a true desire for the CPI program to remain here at Misawa.”
One Green Belt hopeful, Tech. Sgt. Nathan Munn, a 35th Maintenance Squadron munition support equipment section NCO in charge, dedicated himself to the two-week course to not only hone his leadership skills but to be the right of passage for Airmen’s problem solving techniques.
“A Green Belt is a facilitator that gives Airmen guidance throughout their CPI experience,” said Munn. “I am where the rubber meets the road. I’ll be working with different agencies as well as within my own work center to ensure we don’t have any counterproductive processes.”
Master Sgt. Adrianne Huskey, a 35th Force Support Squadron management analyst, looks forward to the continuation of the program.
“My hope is to get more Airmen excited and involved in the CPI program” said Huskey. “We are looking for full participation from Airmen around base to share how daily operations can be performed effectively but with fewer resources used.”
CPI gives individuals an opportunity showcase their ideas on how the Air Force can save time and money and reduce waste. An Airman with the 35th MXS had his own objective of being part of the CPI program: personal development and morale.
“I am here today to discover how I can combat any faulty procedures within my squadron,” said Senior Airman Brock Bowman, a 35th MXS munitions support equipment maintenance crew chief. “It’s important for individuals to take advantage of the CPI program because it’s everyone’s responsibility to make their unit better. It’s imperative to cut needless time out of the work day because it ultimately gives Airmen time to focus on self-growth, physical fitness and a chance to decompress.”
Utilizing systematic approaches and problem-solving through CPI is not only reserved for uniformed personnel. The CPI program is open to everyone and is slated to be held quarterly, so get those ideas a-brewin’. For more information on this program, call at 226-3245.