Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has selected Patrick Runk as its 6.0 Logistics and Industrial Operations Employee of the Quarter, Fourth Quarter 2018.
Runk, who is the Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) 6.33 industrial plant services Integrated Product Team (IPT) lead, earned the award for improving equipment availability which directly increased components production within the command.
“My role is to ensure that the equipment in the facilities that’s required for production to meet fleet requirement needs is up and running, and that they have every tool they need to do their part,” he said.
Leading a staff of approximately 150 maintenance employees including electricians, mechanics and pipefitters among other trades, Runk oversees the needs of roughly 60 NAVAIR buildings within the FRCSW domain, totally more than 23,000 assets.
“Typically, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) owns the outside of the buildings and we’re responsible for the inside. But more and more we also take care of the roof ventilation systems and the chillers. The only thing we don’t really deal with is the HVAC and the utility type issues,” he said.
Shortly after assuming his IPT lead position in October 2017, Runk developed three initiatives that would increase the availability of equipment throughout the components division.
The first initiative was to reduce the number of down critical equipment.
“We had a `fix-it’ team that originally met with the customer on a daily basis. It was a group of us, not just 6.33, and included the maintenance department, engineering, facilities support, production and the project managers,” he said.
“Every morning we would discuss what was impacting the customer’s ability to get out the most critical components, or the `Fat 15’ as we called them.”
“We identified what assets were impacting that, and it became a daily drumbeat. And our job the rest of the day became to remove those barriers to getting that asset up and running so they could produce those `Fat 15.’”
By the fourth quarter of FY 2018, the number of down critical equipment had been reduced from more than 10 percent to less than four percent, which was under the Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers (COMFRC) goal of five percent.
The second initiative targeted increasing work completion rates.
The team set goals and assessed an array of metrics including the volume of work load, the amount of work being completed, and how responsive they were to the customers.
“We started looking at the workload not only from our department, but from a holistic perspective for each of the customers,” Runk said. “We wanted to identify their issues and how we we’re doing in their area and the division to meet their needs.”
“By looking at those numbers were able to focus on where all of our gaps were, and being able to direct resources to issues at one time, as opposed to a `nickel-and-dime’ approach to get things done. By understanding what the whole workload looked like, we were able to devote more resources to one area and get a more sizeable chunk done.”
The move gained a 26 percent reduction in work turn-around time, and a nine percent reduction of work in progress.
The third initiative addressed the availability of the cleaning and plating tanks in Building 472.
Initially driven by the production of F/A-18 Hornet and E-2C Hawkeye landing gear, Runk said that the fix-it team had contact with existing focus groups that were reporting on the status of the tanks weekly. Eventually, the fix-it team split off and focused on a team strictly dedicated to the tanks.
“First, we had to identify what tanks were down, what was needed to get them back up, and what were the other issues to improve their ability to process components,” he said. “So we started that discussion and anytime an issue arose we could respond much faster because we were already engaged with them.”
As availability of the tanks increased from 76 percent to 96 percent, so did production: During the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018, FRCSW reduced fleet backorders from 369 to 167 and Priority Group One products from 207 to 170.
A Navy veteran and a native of San Diego, Runk said he was surprised at his selection for the NAVAIR quarterly award.
“I think this is an extremely challenging position, and often, I don’t feel that we’re being successful. So, being recognized makes me feel like we are going in the right direction with things,” he said.
“Realistically, it helped me understand how valuable my team is. Obviously, these are things that I’m involved in, but this isn’t my doing. It’s my communicating to the team what the requirements are and the direction we want to go. And it’s them taking the action and ownership and buying into the change, culture and direction we need to go to support the customer.”
Runk, the father of three — two boys and a girl — spends his free time with his wife Stephanie and coaching Little League baseball.
FRCSW services more than 130 airframes and 33,000 components annually, through a world-wide maintenance network. Our diverse workforce of more than 4,900 personnel has pioneered countless Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) techniques, providing world-class support to the warfighter.