At our latest Lean Service Forum event, we heard from and visited projects which the RAF CI and base teams have worked on – including maintenance in partnership with Boeing, safety and strategic CI projects, and how the RAF has coped with the financial challenges that several Defence Reviews have set.
It was a blustery but bright day at RAF Odiham, Hampshire on 9th February. RAF Odiham is home of the UK Chinook Force as well as an Army Air Corps (AAC) Lynx squadron.
The day began with presentations introducing the RAF CI team and the squadron team members involved with some of the CI projects running at Odiham. It was clear that Lean had been used as a blunt tool during the earlier rounds of defence cuts, where it became synonymous with cost cutting. The RAF CI team have had to tackle this by rebuilding the reputation of Lean and CI, with local teams at bases across the country. Challenges are compounded by the close working relationship between Boeing, their partners on the Chinook, as it means teams comprising both military and civilian personnel. There are differences in culture and approaches to work, but ultimately this partnership has reduced both maintenance and upgrade times and enhanced many of the back office processes.
Later, after a fantastic lunch in the Officers’ Mess, the forum members were able to visit the Chinook maintenance hangars to see some of the improvement projects, and hear directly from the teams about project benefits. The highlight of the day for quite a few of our guests was the chance to climb inside a Chinook and enjoy the virtual firing range, which is a great example of how technology can lead to improvements as well as reduce costs. There is a recognition at all levels of the RAF that Continuous Improvement has an important role to play in the modern military.
Thank you to all those at RAF Odiham and to the CI Team for hosting the event on behalf of OEE Consulting and the Lean Service Forum. Nicky Skeels from Mencap, one of the members said of the event “One of the best I have attended so far.” The next meeting is Tuesday 14th June and will be hosted at OEE Consulting’s new offices near Oxford.
The Lean Service Forum is a membership group focused on bringing together organisations committed to improving operations, creating networking opportunities and providing access to world class insight and speakers. For more information on the forum and applying for membership please contact Jane Mather, forum secretary firstname.lastname@example.org.