Continuous Improvement

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kyle Brooks
  • 171 Air Refueling Wing

The 171st Air Refueling Wing recently hosted the first Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training session on base in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania Jan. 4-7, 2022.

LSSGB is a structured process for solving problems using Six Sigma principles. The training provided students with tools and an understanding to improve processes and minimize defects.

Some principles covered in the LSSGB training were building a team, defining and measuring a problem, analyzing data, implementing an improvement plan and sustaining the success of the plan. The LSSGB methodology was introduced in 2001 and has been a very successful process for military and civilian organizations.

Students were able to apply a hands-on LSSGB process to real projects from their organizations during the training. For example, some projects during this session were streamlining scheduling of medical physicals, reduction of wait times for drug testing and achieving a higher completion rate of ancillary training.

The training was open to all members of the 171st ARW, the Pennsylvania National Guard and members of the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. About 41 students in total attended the training of which 27 members were from the 171st ARW. Other organizations in attendance were the Pennsylvania Army Guard, the 193rd Special Operations Wing and the Pennsylvania Southwest Veterans’ Center.

“The goal would be that we can take major graded areas, build continuity through streamline processes, and help us to be more efficient,” said Lt. Col. Ian Hurbanek, a process manager with the 171st Air Refueling Wing. “That efficiency helps build morale and production.”

Students worked through many different iterations of the LSSGB principles with feedback from the course trainers. Each iteration of the principle would become more refined. As the training progressed, eventually students would have a fully defined problem or improvement plan generated by the LSSGB principles and process.

“You’re always going to improve and that’s what the education and training was, to give you the overall theory and tools to execute,” said Lt. Col. Jason Figley, Commander of the 171st Maintenance Group, and a student of the LSSGB training.

“The tools that they give you, you could say are good for all leadership, managers and supervisors,” said Figley.  

Guardsmen that are interested in the Six Sigma principles but want more beginner training may look to obtain the Six Sigma Yellow Belt training as an introduction to the Six Sigma fundamentals. 

The 171st plans on future sessions of the LSSGB training for guardsmen who may have not attended this session but are still interested.