Incirlik facilitates Stork Nesting AFSO21 event

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
One of the most harmful practices in the Air Force is for Airmen and civilians to waste their time following processes that are counterintuitive to their mission, especially when such tasks are time-consuming and costly. When process inefficiencies are identified, Air Force Smart Operations of the 21st Century is a great way to assess the problem and eliminate waste.

AFSO21 aims to strengthen the ability of every Airman to drive improved mission performance. The 39th Medical Group recently held an AFSO21 event to assess the stork nesting program. The program was inspected from beginning to end in order to confirm the efficiency and effectiveness of existing procedures.

The stork nesting program allows expectant mothers at Incirlik AB to travel to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany during their last month of pregnancy for delivery and recovery. The program's history helps to shed insight on why the process is being evaluated. It has been through numerous changes, from expecting women stork nesting in the city of Ankara, Turkey in 2008, to being sent to a new local hospital 300 miles northeast of Incirlik AB with the option to go to Landstuhl in 2009. Ultimately, stork nesting in Landstuhl was chosen to be the best for the patients.

With a consistent plan of action in place for expectant mothers, the Incirlik AB AFSO21 team facilitated a two-day event to evaluate the program.

"We were working on the 39th MDG Stork Nesting program to get their process streamlined," said Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Holdenried, 39th Force Support Squadron manpower and organization superintendent. "My role for this event as the program manager is to guide the process."

Holdenried started the event by having everyone evaluate the 'current state' of the program.

"The first part of AFSO21 is figuring out what you're doing now," Holdenried said. "A lot of times you don't even know what you're doing, because you have a piece of the pie but someone else also does the same thing."

Then he gathered stakeholders in each stage of development to help them identify redundancies which falls under 'over-processing' waste--one type of waste out of eight identifiable types including defects, waiting, injuries and more.

"We gathered nurses, obstetrician gynecologists, finance, military personnel section, patient travel, mothers and others," Holdenried said.  "All of them have a stake in the program. It's important to have all stake holders there to know exactly what is going on with the program."

There are roles on every AFSO21 team to streamline processes and make sure they are applied. After identifying all problems in the current state, an action list state is issued, guided by 'get well' dates until completion.

"As the process owner of this AFSO21 event I make sure the established changes for the future state are applied to the current program and ensure everyone are aware of these changes," said Maj. Cynthia Adams, 39th Medical Operations Squadron clinical medical flight commander. 

This AFSO21 project was a great assessment platform for the stork nesting program and team members were impressed with their results.

"I'm so thankful the wing has given us the opportunity to look at this process," said Maj. Tonya Mial, 39th MDG healthcare integrator. "Having all the other agencies input is enlightening for other agencies as well as the parents who attended. We will set aside some to-do items for the rest of the wing to complete the process, so we're really excited about our findings!"

AFSO21 can be used in many facets, not just large scale programs like stork nesting. Different AFSO21 tools can used for in-house problem solving anytime.
"There's no need to have full five-day projects with sticky-notes all over the wall to do AFSO21 stuff," Holdenried said. "You can innovate right here on base in your units using individual AFSO21 tools like value-stream mapping and eliminating process steps with no added value."

For more information on the AFSO21 program contact the 39th FSS manpower and organization office at 676-3690.