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442d Fighter Wing holds Rapid Improvement Event

A giant sticky note pad with the words "Develop Supervisor Training"

Thirteen continuous process improvement practitioners from the 442d Fighter Wing gathered to develop a plan for improving the wing’s Government Travel Card delinquency rate June 22-24, 2021, on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. The group, facilitated by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Able, developed a set of 5 countermeasures and year-lomg plan to bring the wing into compliance with the Air Force standard. (US Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Bob Jennings)

Tech. Sgt. Jeff Abel places a sticky note onto a giant note pad, recording an idea from one of the team members.

Thirteen continuous process improvement practitioners from the 442d Fighter Wing gathered to develop a plan for improving the wing’s Government Travel Card delinquency rate June 22-24, 2021, on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. The group, facilitated by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Able, developed a set of 5 countermeasures and year-lomg plan to bring the wing into compliance with the Air Force standard. (US Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Bob Jennings)

Three giant sticky notes hang on a whiteboard, recording steps of the action plan.

Thirteen continuous process improvement practitioners from the 442d Fighter Wing gathered to develop a plan for improving the wing’s Government Travel Card delinquency rate June 22-24, 2021, on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. The group, facilitated by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Able, developed a set of 5 countermeasures and year-lomg plan to bring the wing into compliance with the Air Force standard. (US Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Bob Jennings)

Tech. Sgt. Jeff Able stands at the front of the room while team members deliberate.

Thirteen continuous process improvement practitioners from the 442d Fighter Wing gathered to develop a plan for improving the wing’s Government Travel Card delinquency rate June 22-24, 2021, on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. The group, facilitated by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Able, developed a set of 5 countermeasures and year-lomg plan to bring the wing into compliance with the Air Force standard. (US Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Bob Jennings)

Eleven people sit around a U-shaped table, discussing the best course of action.

Thirteen continuous process improvement practitioners from the 442d Fighter Wing gathered to develop a plan for improving the wing’s Government Travel Card delinquency rate June 22-24, 2021, on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. The group, facilitated by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Able, developed a set of 5 countermeasures and year-lomg plan to bring the wing into compliance with the Air Force standard. (US Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Bob Jennings)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --

Sheltered from the rain that pelted down outside, 13 minds gathered in a small room in an out-of-the-way building to solve a problem that had been plaguing the 442d Fighter Wing.

Led by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Abel, the team gathered to discuss reasons for the wing’s ongoing problem with government travel card delinquency. The GTC program provides members with government-backed credit cards for use only on official travel, which are then paid off by filing a travel voucher once the trip is complete.

Though the Air Force reimburses the member for travel expenses, it’s still the individual Airman’s responsibility to ensure the bill is paid in a timely fashion, even if their travel voucher is somehow delayed. If an Airman is seriously delinquent on their GTC, the card could be suspended or cancelled, which affects the wing’s ability to provide combat-ready Airmen whenever and wherever they’re needed. Should that occur, it then requires more man hours on the part of the financial management office to get the member’s card reinstated.

The Air Force standard is to have no more than 2 percent of the overall dollar amount charged to GTCs delinquent each month, which the wing has historically had difficulty meeting, particularly in the wake of large troop movements, or TDYs.

Ms. Lovella Valelo, the 442 FW’s chief of financial management, noticed that the wing wasn’t consistently meeting the standard and decided to do something about it.

She presented the problem to Mrs. Shallyn Troutman, the wing process manager, and the two sat down to determine what the best course of action would be. That course turned out to be a Rapid Improvement Event.

So, they gathered a team of 13 process improvement trainees, five of whom were actively pursuing their Green Belt at the time of the event, and tapped Abel to facilitate. The GTC program is a complicated one, with a lot of moving parts. Luckily for the team, they brought snacks.

Over three days, the team dug deep to find the roots of GTC delinquency and drafted five countermeasures to help combat it, each with its own action plan. They’ll spend the next year tracking the monthly average of delinquent dollars, aiming to bring it down to no more than five percent over the next three months, and a five percent standard from the next major TDY.

Within a year, the goal is to meet or exceed the two-percent standard.