Quality Progress - November 2015 - (Page 47)

MEASURE FOR MEASURE BY CRAIG NIEMANN Lab Without a Mask Getting value from inspections RECENTLY, THE U.S. Air Force took a tinuously improve the AFIS so there is an inspection success will be a byproduct. hard look at its inspection program. For ever-shrinking difference-both real and Additionally, any deficiencies noted during those of you who have served in any perceived-between mission readiness the PR will shore up the training program branch of the military, you probably had and inspection readiness. Airmen and and ultimately improve the laboratory. a time when you were "spit-polishing" the commanders must stay focused on the This approach will not only work for an building so when the inspector came in, mission and not the inspection.1 internal quality program, but also for external inspections. everything shined. While this approach has been ingrained in the military for genera- Broader application tions, there is a better way to do business. By now you may be asking, "What does the Air Force metrology program inspects Periodically, a team of experts from this have to do with measurement?" This all Air Force calibration laboratories. The are not looking for the spit-shine, they are same focus is necessary in your calibra- idea of less inspection preparation and instead focusing on the internal programs tion laboratory for increased performance. more mission-driven focus is influencing One of the most important tools used in this program, as well. The constant prac- Now, the internal inspection agencies used to detect and correct noncompliance. the Air Force metrology system is an over- tice of building up to an inspection and tion 90-201, The Air Force Inspection the-shoulder evaluation called a process relaxing requirements is not an efficient or System (AFIS), the focus is clear: In the latest issue of Air Force Instruc- review (PR). Each calibration technician effective use of resources for any organi- Inspection is an inherent function of will receive at least two of these evalua- zation. Instead, the inspection agency now command exercised at every level to tions every year to establish confidence in gives limited notice as to when it will be evaluate the state of discipline, economy, his or her competence. Additionally, there coming, effectively eliminating the chance efficiency, readiness and resource man- is a requirement to perform a PR on the to prepare. agement. Inspection preparation is inher- various measurement disciplines in the In addition, the focus now is on the ently wasteful if not directly aligned with laboratory, such as capacitance, resis- effectiveness of the internal controls. In- mission readiness. Units are inspection- tance, voltage, frequency, power, phase spectors are there to ensure that if a labo- ready when commanders focus on mis- noise, pressure (air and oil), vacuum, ratory has already identified a problem, it sion readiness and on building a culture force, dimensional, mass, temperature, is actively working on a solution. of disciplined compliance in which every torque, tension and flow. airman does his or her job right the first So as you look around your laboratory, Too often, however, the technician is look at your inspections. Are you using time and when no one is looking. The prepared for the PR instead of using the them as intended-to measure your per- intent of the inspector general is to con- tool as it was intended. Air Force Techni- formance-or are you masking the deeper cal Order 00-20-14 states the PR is used issues? QP as "an observation of the technician or process to identify noncompliance and other opportunities for improvement." A 2 problem will not be addressed until it is REFERENCES 1. U.S. Department of Defense, Air Force Instruction 90-201, The Air Force Inspection System, 2015. 2. U.S. Air Force, Air Force Technical Order 00-20-14, 2014. identified, so preparing someone for a PR will only mask the underlying issues. Instead, managers should focus on training the technicians not to pass an inspection, but to perform the calibration. Train them on the deeper aspects of the science in metrology. If trainers and supervisors focus on the mission, the CRAIG NIEMANN is a chief master sergeant with the U.S. Air Force stationed in Virginia. He is currently the Air Combat Command Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory Functional Manager and has served as the chief of the U.S. Air Force Laboratory Certification Team. He received his bachelor's degree from the American Military University in Charles Town, WV, in 2013. Niemann is a senior member of ASQ and an ASQ-certified calibration technician. November 2015 * QP 47

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - November 2015

Up Front
LogOn
Expert Answers
Keeping Current
Mr Pareto Head
Pop Culture
On the Horizon
Shatterproof
To Measure is to Know
Measure for Measure
Innovation Imperative
Quality in the First Person
Career Corner
Statistics Roundtable
QP Toolbox
QP Reviews
One Good Idea
Back to Basics

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