MSC's Institute for Business & Information Management Takes Lead
in Providing Efficiency Training To Robins AFB and Business Groups
Story and Photos By Sheron Smith
Need to get "Lean?" Macon State College can help.
George "Trash" Harper, a senior executive consultant with
BAE Systems in Warner Robins, teaches a Lean seminar to
employees of various organizations within the Warner Robins
Air Logistics Center.
Lean is a philosophy and process, originally formulated by the
Japanese car manufacturing company Toyota, that aims to help
government organizations, business and industry operate more
efficiently by eliminating waste and improving services.
Through the College's Institute for Business & Information
Management, a business and technology outreach service based at the
Warner Robins Campus, Robins Air Force Base employees and others are
getting trained in Lean techniques.
"Macon State was in a perfect position to offer non - credit
education and training in Lean," said Mike Hale, executive director
of the Warner Robins Campus and the Institute. "Lean has
widespread emphasis throughout Robins Air Force Base, and the
College has degree programs in business and information technology
where many of the management fundamentals inherent to Lean are
taught. Offering these classes gives us a chance to build
special expertise in Lean so the Institute can effectively serve the
Base and private sector companies in Houston County."
Lt. Gen. Donald Wetekam, the former commander of the Warner
Robins Air Logistics Center, strongly advocates Lean as a means of
increasing productivity and lowering costs in WRALC operations,
which include worldwide responsibility for the repair, modification
and overhaul of various military aircraft. Wetekam's
replacement, Brig. Gen. Michael A. Collings, said Lean is one of his
priorities as well.
"Lean is a great initiative," he said in a recent interview with
the Robins Rev Up newspaper. "Any time you can
streamline processes to be able to increase productivity, lower
costs and provide more capability out the door to the warfighter is
a winning situation."
Last fall, the Institute began offering a series of three - day
seminars in Lean at the Warner Robins Campus. More than 200
students, mostly Base employees, had participated in the seminars
through mid - April.
The instructor for all the seminars has been George "Trash"
Harper, a senior executive consultant with BAE Systems in Warner
Robins. ("Trash" was Harper's call sign as an Air Force
"BAE Systems became involved with Macon State in response to
General Wetekam's direction to develop partnerships that would
benefit the Air Logistics Center and its capabilities to support
warfighter requirements," Harper said. ":We chose Lean as a
topic because it had been identified as a tool by which to transform
The bible of the Lean movement is a book by James P. Womack and
Daniel T. Jones titled, Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and
Create Wealth in Your Corporation. While most of the
students in Macon State's Lean seminars have so far been affiliated
with Robins Air Fore Base, Hale noted that as the title of the book
indicates, business and organizations of all kinds can benefit
from the training.
"Lean exists to eliminate waste and inefficiency in any business
process, whether it be a military maintenance line or a business
process to hire teachers in a school district," Hale said.
"This is the essence of economic development."
Back To Top