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Interactive symposium to feature cutting-edge CPI tools, techniques

Workshop discusses process improvement

Brou Gautier, left, chief of the Air Force Continuous Process Improvement Division, speaks during a CPI Workshop discussion at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., in 2019, as others look on. The 66th Force Support Squadron Manpower team will host a virtual CPI symposium Jan. 25-29 via Zoom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The 66th Force Support Squadron Manpower team here is offering Air Force Continuous Process Improvement practitioners an opportunity to network and acquire cutting-edge knowledge at its upcoming virtual New England Regional CPI2 Symposium.

The event will be held Jan. 25-29 via Zoom, with interactive morning and afternoon sessions each day.

The symposium is geared toward trained and certified Green Belt and Black Belt CPI2 practitioners of all grades and ranks in the New England/New York region, as well as Air Force Materiel Command Manpower personnel with like credentials.

The experiential and discussion-based agenda will feature a variety of lectures, breakout sessions and panels led by Hanscom’s team of Black Belt-level trained practitioners. Participants will also take a virtual tour of Raytheon Co. in Andover, Massachusetts, to experience firsthand how the company has incorporated an effective CPI business model into its day-to-day operations.

Organizers note that the symposium’s theme, “CPI Beyond the Shop Floor,” merges three main points.

First, it implies a culture change where structured problem-solving and risk-taking innovation becomes muscle memory – not only regionally, but throughout the Air Force, according to Sam Doucette, 66th Air Base Group certified AF CPI2 Black Belt mentor. It also means building a network of practitioners and innovation consultants who are comfortable using data to drive their analysis and recommendations, he added.

“Finally, ‘CPI Beyond the Shop Floor’ suggests breaking down barriers of skepticism to where Airmen at all levels see the return on investment for time spent solving both simple and complex problems innovatively,” Doucette said.

Topics will go beyond the basics, delving into the when, why, who and how to promote CPI within an organization, according to Jennifer Russell, Hanscom’s installation process manager.

“CPI isn’t just about ‘5 Whys’ and building fishbone diagrams,” Russell said. “We’ll dive deep into the human-connection side and discuss cultivating a culture that’s ready and willing to change, how to create a ‘perfect pitch’ to clearly articulate the importance of change, talk about why metrics matter and explore ways of collecting the right information needed to identify improvement areas.”

Those messages will converge throughout the week as instructors share the cutting-edge knowledge they’ve gained through private industry-sourced continuing education, according to Doucette.

“The end goal is to build a network of confident, data-driven, problem-solving innovation consultants,” he said.

While Manpower experts view CPI as consequential overall, today’s global competitive environment – coupled with budgetary constraints – further make the case for the pertinence of improvement and innovation, the organizers note. It also punctuates the need for the timely application of CPI skills, according to Russell.

“Bringing that knowledge back to the workplace and being able to apply it immediately is key,” she said.

Register for the symposium by Jan. 19 at https://cs2.eis.af.mil/sites/22271/Hanscom/SitePages/CPI2Symposium.aspx

For more information contact Russell at jennifer.russell.6@us.af.mil, Doucette at samuel.doucette@us.af.mil or Brian Strunk at brian.strunk@us.af.mil.