New WFLD Partner

I was glad to read last week that the Air Force had some success with TOC.  Reading about their implementation reminded me that what is simple, is not always easy.

It’s 2014 and I’m sitting in the avionics shop break room.  They’ve been complaining for weeks about our TOC implementation, so I’m having lunch with them to work through their concerns.  They’re used to direct customer interaction and unhappy with the system I’m pushing as it shifts us from prioritization based on personality to data-driven process. 

I’m armed with all the details I can muster: Eli Goldratt’s focusing steps, charts showing improved repair times, and all the SAS algorithms that make up their new work priority list.  They’re armed with decades of experience that include plenty of “good ideas” such as this.  They’ve seen the list of components they repair dwindle over time as each avionics upgrade becomes more complex and can only be repaired by the original equipment manufacturer.  I’m concerned we’re not doing enough while they’re concerned with management always asking for more.

It didn’t go well.

Months later I tried again, but this time I only brought a story and principles we could agree upon.  The avionics shop had just fulfilled a warning-caution-advisory panel order for a grounded helicopter within 24 hours of the failure.  At first, the shop was convinced that they had done this many times before, but I showed them that this was a broader “event in field to shipping from the warehouse” timeline and not the previous “shop notification to work complete” that they were used to. Luckily the event was a perfect way to explain TOC’s principles:

  1. This component had been steadily increasing in the shop’s work queue as the warehouse’s supply dwindled (synchronization of priorities).
  2. The shop had noticed this and began assigning more technicians towards panel repairs rather than keeping with their normal “Joe works on panels” method (max load resources).
  3. As the list of panels in work grew, the sub-component item manager was signaled to order more piece parts as to not run out (full kitting).
  4. The better understanding of how work flowed into the avionics shop sparked a discussion with the aircraft product line on better balancing contract and organic repair sources (rapid issue resolution).

The devil may be in the details, but common ground is found in principles.

Speaking of common ground, I signed a strategic partnership with The Report Artists and now offer scalable data analytics to support WFLD’s process recommendations. Of course, if you’re one of the 174 people who were targeted in my Facebook campaign last week you already know that.

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