6S spells success

Maj. Trey Jones
435th Communications Squadron commander

The Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems shop is a good team, filled with good people, doing good work. They wanted to raise their game to the next level, but were struggling to find the way to get there. ATCALS leadership heard the 86th Airlift Wing implemented an organizational system called 6S in their maintenance operations with great success and were willing to give it a shot.  

6S is about organization. Each S stands for sort, straighten, scrub, safety, standardize and sustain. The ATCALS shop started this process by identifying and getting rid of excess items in the shop and designating locations for remaining equipment.  They analyzed job preparation and organized the shop to make it easier to pull technical orders, test equipment, tools and parts.  The technicians grouped tools and parts according to the systems they supported − Air Surveillance Radar parts and equipment went in one location, Instrument Landing System equipment went in another and so on. ATCALS eliminated waste, took a critical look at production processes and streamlined their processes.

The process was simple, but the results are outstanding:
First impressions: The troops assigned took a cluttered, disorganized work center and completely turned it around, which will set the tone during visits and inspections.

Pride in the work center: Troops said it’s an improved attitude; they take pride in their area and want to get things done right the first time, every time.  

Increased efficiency: ATCLAS centralized equipment, moved tools to job sites, and reorganized their supply point. Each reduces the shop’s response time to unscheduled maintenance.  

ATCALS was looking for a way to raise their performance and 6S did it for them. We all want to leave our units in better shape than when we found them.