NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Naval Station Norfolk's Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD) formally opened its new building with a ribbon cutting ceremony Nov. 18.
Although the ceremony was held Nov. 18, the facility has been operational since the beginning of November.
"This is a long overdue consolidation of AIMD Norfolk," said Cmdr. Matt Mullins, officer in charge of AIMD Norfolk. "We're taking on additional capabilities; we're going to be supporting additional aircraft in the coming months and years. It's going to allow us to operate more efficiently and better support our customers. For example, we consolidated our engine repair facilities into one, and plan to cross-train our mechanics so they can work on all the different types of engines rather than just one."
Before the new building opened, AIMD was spread throughout Naval Station Norfolk. Construction of the new 143,000-square-foot, $26 million building began April 2003. Its completion brought approximately nine other buildings and 600 officers and enlisted personnel representing all the Navy's aviation ratings, as well as yeomen, personnelmen, parachute riggers and Navy counselors, under the same roof.
Even more important is the fact that the new building brings together all of AIMD and its supply counterparts under one roof, creating a more efficient operation. Having supply in the same building saves money and time because the parts arrive more quickly and transportation costs are reduced.
"We are all within walking distance of each other now, whereas before we had to get in a car and drive," said Lt. Cmdr. Roger Brouillet, Maintenance Material Control Officer. "Everybody is right here where the work is."
During the two and a half months it took to move the equipment and personnel, AIMD Norfolk never shut down its operations.
"We made sure we had a capability up in this building before we took it down in the old building, or we would at least keep the ability at a minimum so we could continue to support our customers on the flight line," said Mullins."
The new AIMD building is also implementing an improved production process called Lean. Lean focuses on the removal of waste, which is defined as anything not necessary to produce the product or service. It uses incremental improvement to constantly expose waste, to balance operational and standard workflows. And for AIMD, that incremental improvement began with something as simple as moving tools to a different area in the workplace.
"The design of the new building allowed AIMD to take full advantage of the efficiency improvements offered by Lean. One of the Lean production process that we picked up from Toyota simply reduced the amount of walking that a technician had to do to get his tools," said Brouillet. "So we put his tools closer to where he works."
AIMD Norfolk also has a team of five personnel dedicated to the Lean processes. Joined by representatives from Lockheed Martin, they provide additional training to help others learn to identify waste in the workspace in order to constantly improve the quality of their product.
"It won't be long before every Sailor is trained in the business approach to how to fix things, how to track things," said Brouillet. "We're all going to be good at watching the tax payers' dollars."
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