Fifty words you need to begin speaking AFSO21

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  • By TIG Brief
  • Air Force Inspection Agency
Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century is not only changing how the Air Force does business, but how the Air Force speaks. Although there are numerous AFSO21 terms, here are 50 of the most commonly used.

The terminology is largely derived from a variety of continuous improvement-related publications and programs. Some of these are not exclusive to AFSO21 and also belong to the continuous process improvement vocabulary.

1. 3P: A three-dimensional model used in studying an organization's people, products and processes. 

2. 6S: A process improvement tool to sort, straighten, shine, standardize, sustain and ensure safety.
3. A3: A single-page report popularized by Toyota eliminating non-essential information and sticking to essential facts only. "A3" refers to a standard paper size used frequently in Japan and Europe. 

4. Activity Based Costing: A management accounting system assigning cost to products based on the amount of resources used (floor space, raw materials, human effort, etc.) to design, order or make a product. 

5. Observe, Orient, Decide and Act (OODA): An interactive approach reflecting continuous improvement, revisiting how work is performed and how it can be further improved. 

6. AFSO21: A dedicated effort to develop and institutionalize a comprehensive, service-wide, strategic-level continuous process improvement approach. 

7. Balanced-Specific-Measurable-Attainable-Results Focused-Timely (B-SMART): Used in relation to objective setting in continuous process improvement initiatives. A sound objective will meet each of the letters of the acronym. 

8. Balanced Scorecard: A strategic management system used to drive performance and accountability throughout the organization. 

9. Batch and Queue: The mass production practice of making large lots of a part or product then sending the batch to wait in queue before the next operation in the production process. 

10. Level 2: A continuous process improvement expert who can explain AFSO21 philosophies and principles, including supporting systems and tools. 

11. Burning Platform: The case for action and the reason to initiate an event. 

12. Business Value: Not identified by the customer, but required to satisfy some other need, such as a law or policy. 

13. Catchball: A participative approach to decision-making used in policy deployment to communicate across management levels when setting annual business objectives. The analogy of tossing a ball back and forth emphasizes the interactive nature of policy deployment. 

14. Concept-Design-Optimize-Verify (CDOV): A systems approach to requirements development and effective problem solving. The steps suggest a process from development of an improvement idea to a feedback loop monitoring performance in relation to process goals. 

15. Corrective Maintenance: A total productive maintenance technique dedicated to improving or modifying equipment to prevent breakdowns or to make maintenance activities easier. 

16. Continuous Process Improvement (CPI): A comprehensive philosophy of operations built around the concept that there are always ways in which a process can be improved to better meet the needs of the customer. An organization should constantly strive to make those improvements. 

17. Customer: Someone for whom a product is made or a service is performed. There are internal and external customers. The external customer is the end user of an organization's product or service. Internal customers are those who take the results of some internal process step (a report, an electronic file or a component) as an input for their work. When applied to a supply chain, entire companies become customers of one another. 

18. Just-Do-It: A desired change to the current state that can be done quickly and easily, usually within days. 

19. Error Proofing: The design or development of tools, techniques and processes making it impossible or very difficult for people to make mistakes. 

20. Event: A short-term, high-intensity effort to address a specific problem. The focus is typically a week, though the preparation normally begins several weeks in front and follow-up continues. 

21. Firefighting: Using emergency fixes for problems without eliminating the root cause; managing by crisis instead of proactive planning. 

22. Flow: The sequential, coordinated movement of information, product, or service through a process. 

23. Future State: A vision of the optimum operating environment with new/improved processes in place. 

24. Gap Analysis: An analysis that compares current performance to desired performance so that solutions can be found to reduce the difference (close the gap). 

25. Level 1: A CPI professional who operates in support of or under the supervision of a Level 2, analyzing and solving quality problems and involved in quality improvement projects. 

26. Ideal State: A vision of the "future state" depicting what the system should look like if there were no constraints. Based on the "King or Queen for a Day" mentality. 

27. Lean: A systematic approach to identify waste, focus activities on eliminating it, and maximizing (or making available) resources to satisfy other requirements. 

28. Lead Time: Interval between the established need for something and its successful delivery. 

29. Level 3: A CPI professional who trains and coaches Level 2 and 1. Functions more at the MAJCOM program level by developing key metrics and strategic direction. 

30. Mission Capable Rate: A calculated rate describing the portion of aircraft or vehicles making up a weapon system that are, at least nominally, in a mission-ready condition. 

31. Master Process Officers (MPO): Manages the AFSO21 program for process owners and commanders or directorates at the HAF, SAF and MAJCOM levels. 

32. Non-Value Added: Any activity taking time, materiel or space, but does not add value to the product or service from the customer's perspective. For example, some inspections or reviews may be non-value-added because they check to see whether the work was done right in the first place. 

33. Operational Plan: Usually done at the organization level, the operational plan guides the CPI plan and identifies the actions that support achieving stated organizational transformation. The operational plan recognizes and builds on current good practices and integrates them, providing consistent CPI deployment within the organization. 

34. Process Owner: An individual with the authority and responsibility for leading an organization or group. Often responsible for developing the organizational strategic plan. However, in smaller organizations, they may execute plans prepared at a higher level. 

35. Present Value: The net value of a flow of funds, expressed as a single sum of dollars; effectively, the sum of money equivalent to all current and future flows. 

36. Queue Time: The time a product spends in a line awaiting the next design, order-processing or fabrication step. 

37. Rapid Improvement Event (RIE): A short-term, high intensity effort to address a specific problem. The focus is typically a week, though the preparation normally begins several weeks before and follow-up continues. 

38. Return on Investment (ROI): The ratio between the predicted or computed savings or cost avoidance (the return) that will result from some action and the cost of completing the action (the investment). Should take the time value of money into account. 

39. SIPOC: A diagram used by a team to identify all relevant elements of a process improvement project before work begins. It helps define a complex project that may not be well scoped. The tool name prompts the team to consider the Suppliers of a process, the Inputs of the process, the Process the team is improving, the Outputs of the process, and the Customers receiving the process outputs. 

40. Six Sigma: A disciplined approach increasing an organization's profits by eliminating variability, defects and waste undermining customer loyalty. 

41. Takt Time: Takt is German for beat (as in the beat of music).
In CPI thinking, takt time is the available production time divided by the rate of customer demand. Takt time sets the pace of production to match the rate of customer demand and becomes the heartbeat of the system. 

42. Theory of Constraints (TOC): A philosophy and a methodology for addressing logical thinking, scheduling and controlling resources and measuring performance. The philosophy emphasizing systems constraint exists in any process and controls the output from the entire process. 

43. Total Lead Time: Duration of a process from beginning to end. 

44. Total Quality Management (TQM): A concept requiring management and resource commitment to adopt a perpetual improvement philosophy, through succinct management of all processes, practices and systems throughout the organization to fulfill or exceed customer expectations. 

45. Value-Added: The parts of the process adding worth to a customer's product or service. 

46. Value Stream: The specific activities required to design, order and provide a specific product or piece of information from concept to launch. 

47. Value Stream Map: Identification of all the specific activities occurring along a value stream for a product or product family. 

48. Warfighter: The ultimate focus of CPI. Should drive the key metrics serving to align subordinate metrics and synchronize CPI activity. 

49. Waste: Anything adding cost or time without adding value, such as injuries, defects, waiting time, etc. 

50. Work Group: The key implementation activity for CPI projects, improving operations. Work groups are comprised of members who have functional expertise in operations in the value stream being assessed and improved. 

(Article is taken from the fall issue of the TIG Brief.)