Saber Nation is mad with innovation

Innovation Madness kicks off March 2017 for the fourth installment of USAFE-AFAFRICA's unique awards program meant to stimulate a culture of innovation around the command.

Innovation Madness kicks off March 2017 for the fourth installment of USAFE-AFAFRICA's unique awards program meant to stimulate a culture of innovation around the command.

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --

The 52nd Fighter Wing is coming off a fresh win from the 2017 United States Air Forces Europe Innovation Madness competition and show no signs of slowing down.

Throughout the wing and its seven geographically separated units, innovation has run rampant. With the downsizing of the Air Force in recent years and budget cuts, Airmen are learning to work smarter with less.

“Innovation is about improving quality of life for our Airmen,” said Master Sgt. Ruben Ayala, 52nd Contracting Squadron base support flight chief. “Over the last few years, the Air Force has seen a huge reduction in man power and budget. Instead of trying to do more with less, innovation allows Airmen a critical approach to doing things smarter with less, so no one is over tasked. Innovation allows Airmen to spend more time doing what they love, whether it be spending time with their families or traveling.”

After the announcement of the European Infrastructure Consolidation, the consolidation of some U.S. infrastructures in Europe, to include the return of 15 sites to their host nations the process of continuous improvement through innovation is more important than ever.   

“Innovation is leaving the base better than you found it,” said MSgt. Roxanne Cristobal, Innovation and Transformation office superintendent. “It’s a new way of thinking, to continuously improve an approach to a process or a problem. Innovation is such an important component of the wing because it means we’re staying relevant to USAFE and the Air Force.”

To the ITO and Continuous Process Improvement office, innovations are ideas, no matter how big or small, that have the potential to make an impact on the base and the Air Force.

Last year, the 52nd FW submitted 62 innovations, with more than 17.2K man hours and $18.4 million saved. This year, the wing is ready to submit more innovations than the previous year.

The 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron standardized the accountability process for fire ground tools and equipment. They also improved the turnover time for out of service fire engines. By identifying problems areas and reducing turn over time, they saved 14 hours annually.

The 52nd Medical Support Squadron standardized the process for Theater Security Package generation and deployment procedures for medical support items. Before, the process lacked accountability for controlled items and medical equipment. With the standardization, the MDSS has saved 48 hours and $228,000 annually.

The 52nd Force Support Squadron corrected how enlisted members receive retainability information. Before members weren’t receiving information in adequate time, causing excessive and rushed workloads for the enlisted members and the military personnel flight. With the system corrected and standardized, members are notified through a new Microsoft Sharepoint access database with upcoming retainability suspense, allowing for 1,412 hours saved a year.

At the 702nd Munitions Support Squadron at Buechel Air Base, Germany, the standardization of the Air Force Information Management Tool 340, is now able to properly document and account for Weapon Storage and Security System (WS3) Alarms. Before the AF IMT 340, they weren’t able to capture the appropriate amount of data required to document the alarms. With the update, the AF IMT 340 now documents critical information essential to alarm system certifications, a routine occurrence throughout the 52nd FW GSUs, whenever a system upgrade or alarm monitoring facility is re-located. The simple change to the AF IMT 340 has saved 480 man hours for six USAFE WS3 locations.

There’s a lot of innovation motivation in the Wing. ITO needs your help to highlight it. Have an idea? Contact the ITO office or MSgt. Roxanne Cristobal at DSN: 314-452-6187 or commercial: (+49) (0)6565-616187.