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Streamlining work centers through CPI

Two men standing in an office speaking to each other.

Master Sgt. Max Steven Jelle, 310th Space Wing chief of installation personnel readiness, left, and Joseph Platt, the 310th Space Wing director of process management discuss project information, on Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, March 18, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Marko Salopek)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Each 310th Space wing member has the opportunity to earn a highly sought after industry-standard certification – for free.

The Green Belt certification program trains Reserve Citizen Airmen to apply the methodologies of Lean Six Sigma to identify problems and improve processes and tasks at the wing.

 “Lean six sigma is a large repository of tools that have been fine tuned to help you define and measure a problem, and help you find, analyze and improve the solution,” said Joseph Platt, 310th Space Wing director of process management. “It is a way of thinking and a toolset to add to your life that can be applied to anything you do. It changes the way you think and allows you to do things more efficiently. The applications are endless.”

The Air Force’s continuous process improvement program directs the use of Lean Six Sigma principals to meet the commander’s obligation to maximize the productivity and efficiency of every asset and resource as stated in Air Force Instruction 38-401.

“The purpose of the continuous process improvement program is to eliminate waste, improve efficiency and train people to identify problems,” said Platt. “It is really about understanding the gaps in training and processes and where we are wasting resources and time, it’s really just trying to make the air force a better, leaner and more efficient organization.”

In addition to Platt’s roll as the focal point for the wing’s implementation of the Continuous Process Improvement program, he also manages the wing’s Green Belt training program.

The Green Belt certification is obtained in two steps. The first step involves completing an online training course. The second requires the Airman to lead a process improvement project.

The latter requires a Green Belt to identify a problem with a process and bring in subject matter experts on that process. Next, they utilize their Lean Six Sigma tools to analyze the problem and develop corrective actions with input from the subject matter experts.

“For the continuous improvement program and Green Belt, my role is that of the mentor and trainer,” said Platt. “So as the mentor, I open that toolbox and help the Green Belt select the right tools for whatever specific project they are working.”

The wing has already seen a return on investment from the implementation of the Continuous Process Improvement program.

“One of the processes that we touched were line of duty determinations,” said Platt. “That opened a lot of eyes. The Green Belt event and all the tools did what they were supposed to do. We cleared up a lot of issues and a $180,000 concern. It’s a big chunk of a wing level commander’s budget and if it didn’t get fixed it was only going to get worse and worse.

“Adopting the culture of continuous process improvement is not just process improvement, but innovation,” said Platt. “And where the innovation really comes from, especially for us, is bringing in that outside perspective. I think that reserve citizen airmen bring limitless potential because they are not here every day, they are the person that’s working on something unrelated to their military profession and brings that knowledge and experience back with them.”

Green Belt certified members also earn nine retirement points and a special experience identifier, which may provide unique temporary duty and job opportunities.

Those interested in signing up to become a Green Belt can do so by contacting Platt at 719-567-3350 or joseph.platt.3@us.af.mil.