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Saving money through "six"ess

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Beginning this fall a new platform for redistributing equipment and supplies across the base (Fairchild AFB) will be available to every unit assigned to Team Fairchild and is part of a program the Air Force is calling "6S."

"What we're putting together here is a great way for people and units from all over base to share supplies and equipment that would normally sit in a dusty corner or be redistributed to the whole Air Force versus staying here at Fairchild," said Master Sgt. Jim Ottman, 92nd Air Refueling Wing Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century superintendent.

The program was first initiated Air Force-wide when former Air Force Vice Chief of Staff General Philip Breedlove sent a memorandum to all major commands detailing headquarter's vision for the plan dated May 22, 2012.

"In these times of cost consciousness, we are taking all practical actions to achieve our efficiency and live within our fiscal constraints," Breedlove said. "One efficiency area that requires action is identifying surplus supplies in individual units and creating local savings by repurposing them."

In his memo the general directed major commands and direct reporting units to conduct "6S" events based on need and surplus.

These "6S" events at Fairchild are being headed by Ottman and his team following directives from Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

"The '6S' concept instructs us in six ways: sort, straighten, sweep, standardize, sustain and safety," Ottman said.

According to Ottman, Fairchild's Group points of contact are working hard to fulfill 6S requirements in the ways listed below:

1. Safety
    a. Eliminate hazards
    b. Keep safety in mind with all activities
    c. Practice safety ALWAYS

2. Sort
    a. Ensure that only needed items are in the workspace
    b. "When in doubt, move it out!"
    c. Sort items once a month

3. Straighten
    a. Organize how to keep things
    b. Use visual technologies to document work area
    c. Straighten items daily

4. Shine
    a. Build an office cleaning cart
    b. Clean area regularly
    c. Clean items at least once a week

5. Standardize
    a. Establish guidelines for Sort, Straighten and Shine
    b. Monitor office conditions
    c. Ensure standardization quarterly

6. Sustain
    a. Conduct regular 6S training
    b. Ensure 6S Guidelines are visible and carried out

While the program is focused on all six of these bullets, the 92nd Operations Group "6S" POC, Staff Sgt. Leah Prince, said their main focus is saving the AF money.

"Cost savings is simple," she said. "This new program affords people to get the supplies and equipment they need for free instead of buying something new with their government purchase card."

But how are units able to see what is available base-wide? The answer is simple and according to Prince, highly cost effective. The new initiative will make use of the highly popular MilBook first used by the U.S. Army in 2009. The site will work much like a base "Craigslist" for Automated Data Processing Equipment items.

While the new program still has a few logistical details to iron out, the premise is hot on its way to saving the base a lot of money come next fiscal year's purchases.

"We're always looking for a way to save the government and taxpayers money," said Prince. "The concept is very similar to the old saying, 'one man's trash, another man's treasure.' While you may not need it anymore, someone else on base may."

Original content found here.
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