News | Jan. 12, 2022

Revitalizing aviation process excellence, a high priority for DLA Aviation at Oklahoma City

By Leon Moore DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

Defense Logistics Agency Aviation at Oklahoma City on Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, is committed to providing outstanding customer service and long-term solutions to complex logistical challenges at the depot maintenance level.

To build the structure for continuous process improvement, enhanced communication and employee involvement, DLA Aviation at Oklahoma City Commander Air Force Col. Jason Kalin said they have undertaken the revitalization of aviation process excellence.

“APEx was an initiative started at DLA Aviation at OKC back in 2019 as a way of mirroring the Air Force Sustainment Center’s Art of the Possible,” he said.

The Art of the Possible is a concept created by the Air Force Sustainment Command at Tinker as a method of creating a culture that is focused on the efficient execution of its processes and is based on the concept of gaining an accurate understanding of the flow of work and then locating the constraint that interrupts the flow, preventing execution of the mission.

Kalin said being able to fully analyze a process, understand where the constraints are and quickly identifying when there is a problem are as much a benefit to managing the supply chain as they are to overhauling an aircraft.

“Revitalizing APEx also means a culture shift that drives a more critical look at how things are done rather than settling for a process because that is ‘how it has always been done,’ No organization can afford to get complacent and assume everything is perfect,” he said.

Several revitalization focus areas are:

  • Training the workforce and encouraging every person to participate in making positive changes that benefit culture, efficiency and communication.
  • Creating a transformation team that is fully committed to advancing APEx, leading events and helping each division find creative ways to serve our customer more effectively.
  • Analyzing metrics that will drive action towards better support of our customer.

Kalin said these metrics will be reviewed and updated as necessary to show how they can improve customer support and predict challenges before they become critical.

To re-orient the workforce to the APEx key tenets, continuous process improvement tools and the leadership model, Kalin said they conducted three APEx refresher training sessions Dec. 9.

These sessions, led by Kalin, division chiefs and other senior leaders, were attended by all new and veteran supervisors. Training for the rest of the organization will be scheduled for some time early this year.

Kalin said getting APEx firmly embedded into the culture of DLA Aviation at Oklahoma City is paramount, bringing a level of job satisfaction and pride to the workforce.

“[DLA] Aviation at OKC is a fantastic organization that has been successfully tackling a massive mission for years, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that can be improved upon,” said Kalin. “Giving our employees the tools to take hard looks at what we do and trust in their recommendations takes us to the next level and brings even greater support to our mission partners.”

*Editor’s note: DLA Aviation at Oklahoma City Management Analyst Jerad Friend contributed to this story.