Vehicle registration embraces AFSO 21

Monica Mendoza
Kaiserslautern American

In the waiting room at Vehicle Registration on Kapaun minutes sometimes stretch into grueling hours. In 2006, one KMC resident waited three hours and 44 minutes to get a vehicle registered. It was a record wait. And, it was too long.

***image1***In 2007, KMC residents will see improvements in the Vehicle Registration process, and hopefully, said Col. Jack Briggs, 38th Combat Support Wing vice commander, spend less time sitting in the waiting room.

“The process now is, ‘I’m going to get my car registered today, I will see you tomorrow.’ We want to get out of that mindset,” Colonel Briggs said.

If you are American, live in the KMC and have a car, then you’ve been inside the waiting room of Vehicle Registration. Registering a vehicle is a
complicated, and often frustrating, experience. The rules are governed by the U.S. Army, Europe, the clerks are from the 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron and the vehicles are inspected by the 435th Vehicle Readiness Squadron. Currently, there are 27 steps to get a vehicle registered.

Colonel Briggs said it was time for Vehicle Registration clerks to examine the work they do and see how they can do it more efficiently, cut unnecessary steps and make the whole experience less of a hassle for the Airmen and the customers. He asked that Vehicle Registration be among the first to work through the Air Force Smart Operations 21 process, where an outside consultant helps Airmen create a smooth, time-saving work environment.
AFSO 21 is a way to examine work, and to ensure all work is focused on the mission. The idea is to look at every step in a working environment and decide whether it adds value to the mission.

“To me, unless you take a step back and write all your steps, you don’t see where there is waste,” said Capt. Francis Tyson, 38th CSW and member of the AFSO 21 team. “It was an eye-opener when you realize they get up three times to make copies.”

For four days in December a team of folks from the 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron, 435th Vehicle Readiness Squadron and USAREUR huddled, mapping out every step they take – to the copy machine, to a coworker’s desk – to get a vehicle registered. Some of the work is essential. Other work can be eliminated by a simple reorganization of the equipment and a change in stations.

“We are trying to improve customer flow – to have customers go through less steps to register,” said Senior Airman Eddie Schwandt, 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron, who was part of the AFSO 21 team.

Vehicle Registration is busiest in the summer months, with about 15 to 20 customers served per hour. The average wait is just under one hour and the total time to complete the registration is about 70 minutes.

A key problem is that less than 50 percent of the customers complete the entire process their first time. Usually, customers are missing paperwork, which means they must come back and start over.

In the coming months, KMC residents will see more information about the vehicle registration process in the base newspaper, on the radio and in newcomer packets. A better educated customer will mean a less grumpy one, the AFSO 21 team said.

In the coming year, Vehicle Registration clerks will be available, before anyone even pulls a numbered ticket, to talk with customers, ensuring they’ve made it in with all the right documents. People de-registering a car, which is a quick and simple step, will be seen at a separate counter, so they won’t have to wait. And a cashier will make a final check of all the documents so that a customer doesn’t leave without completing everything.

The idea is that clerks will spend more time with customers and the process will be less confusing, said Staff Sgt. Danielle Davis, 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron and member of the AFSO 21 team.

“You won’t wait just to figure out that you don’t have what you need,” Sergeant Davis said.

After all the equipment adjustments and changes in flow patterns, the AFSO 21 team figures there will be only 13 steps to register a vehicle. Their goal is to cut the average wait to 20 minutes and they would like 7 out of 10 people to make it through the process on the first try.

“Nineteen people can affect 50,000,” Colonel Briggs said. “That is a cool thing.”

Be the one who makes it through Vehicle Registration the first time. Visit for information, forms and documents.