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December 8, 2011
Air Force Improvement
A MORE flexible, streamlined and ef-
fective Air Force is what WOFF-AF
Mark Pentreath sees as the result of Air
Force Improvement (AFI).
"AFI isn't so much about saving
dollars, although we must live with-
in our budgets. It's about identify-
ing those nugatory, non-value-adding
tasks which, when removed, should
lead to mission success and a happier,
healthier and sustainable workforce,"
WOFF-AF Pentreath said.
"I have absolute confidence that if
we focus on improving the way we do
our business, being more conscious
of the time, resources and money we
are investing in doing it, then we will
achieve what we have to under the
Strategic Reform Program and we
will be a better Air Force as a result."
WOFF-AF Pentreath highlighted
that Air Force members need to have
the courage to look at the things they
hold dear and question whether they
are still appropriate for the Air Force
today. One example of this is the way
Air Force operates and uses its mess-
"I've recently visited combined
messing facilities within Australia
and overseas on operations and was
impressed at how well they operate,
delivering the services our people
need," he said.
"While we have implemented this
type of facility at some of our bases,
I believe we can look closer at similar
initiatives as we continue to evolve as
WOFF-AF reinforced that it was
the responsibility of every member to
look for ways to improve what they
do -- as individuals, as a team and as
He said it was the people doing the
tasks that often had the best under-
standing of what needed to be fixed or
improved because they dealt with the
frustrations of it not working properly
in their day-to-day work.
"We need our leaders and col-
leagues to support them with those
ideas, so the improvements can actu-
ally be achieved. This means giving
people the time, resources and posi-
tive encouragement that they need
to make things happen," WOFF-AF
"The Air Force is full of profes-
sional, committed people who have
great ideas about how we can improve
what we do. With the right level of
support you'll be amazed at what they
Graham McBean and
FULFILLING capability require-
ments through effective personnel
management is what the Directorate
of Personnel-Air Force (DP-AF) is
Senior administration officer
SQNLDR Jeroen Ruardij said to
deliver the best possible service to
Air Force and its members, DP-AF
had been improving its processes
and had been able to reinvest the
resource 'savings' it had made back
into sections that were struggling
under a heavy workload.
"We ran an activity to improve
and streamline our processes which,
together with a re-prioritisation of
tasks, meant that we could free up
two people to assist another sec-
tion clear a large backlog of work,"
SQNLDR Ruardij said.
"One of the great things about
this activity was that we had two
sections supporting each other and
it demonstrated how improvements
can really benefit the team."
DP-AF has set up a Continuous
Improvement (CI) team responsible
to the leadership group for coor-
dinating and leading improvement
across the directorate.
The team has a representative
from each section and each of the
members has done an AFI prac-
titioner course so they can lead
CI team member FLTLT Tania
Williams said it was great to be able
to make a real difference to how
"The leadership team have sup-
ported us a lot, adjusting priorities
so we can involve people in iden-
tifying and then implementing the
improvements," she said. "Without
this, particularly the support from
GPCAPT Geoff Harland [former
DP-AF], we wouldn't have been
able to achieve nearly as much."
One of the projects DP-AF
implemented was to map its end-to-
end processes to identify areas for
improvement. The understanding
gained from this project led to the
implementation of standard workflow,
tools and processes for airmen, officer
and reservist postings and promo-
tions. This in turn has enabled the use
of a common IT system and meant
less time and effort is spent maintain-
ing different systems.
The CI team has found that
people have become more positive
about continuous improvement and
have been increasingly willing to
put up ideas and implement change.
"Embrace change and don't be
scared of it," SQNLDR Ruardij said.
"That's one of the lessons that
has come from our experience --
take change and see where it goes.
By getting people involved, we've
changed ourselves rather than hav-
ing the change done to us, and this
has made it a much more positive
experience all round."
It takes focus,
I'M LISTENING: WOFF-AF Mark Pentreath talks with personnel from the AP-3C detachment at Al Minhad Air
Base in the United Arab Emirates during his recent visit to the MEAO.
Photo: PO Damian Pawlenko
CPL Sharon Geddes
and LAC Scott Bryant
check a PAR at DP-AF.
Photos: LAC Bill Solomou
It's PAR time
DP-AF staff are hard
at work preparing for
the next promotion
boards. To see what
have been released for
2012, turn to Page 26.
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