Airman awarded $6K through IDEA program
Staff Sgt. Jared Weddle, 2nd Maintenance Squadron communications navigations mission system craftsman, receives an award from Col. Alexis Mezynski, 2nd Bomb Wing vice commander, for an IDEA submission Nov. 14, 2012. Weddle submitted an idea when he was a senior airman assigned to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., to improve how a B-52H Stratofortress part is fixed and enabled an annual savings of $40,500 in saved manpower hours and shipping costs. The Air Force IDEA program is an incentive program that promotes process improvement and resource savings through ideas submitted by military and civilian employees. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Benjamin Gonsier)
by Senior Airman Katherine Holt
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
11/20/2012 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (AFNS) -- A $6,275 check was presented to Staff Sgt. Jared Weddle, a 2nd Maintenance Squadron communications navigations mission system craftsman, by Col. Alexis Mezynski, 2nd Bomb Wing vice commander, Nov. 14 for a submission to the Innovative Development through Employee Awareness program that net the Air Force an annual savings of $40,500.
That's more than a 15 percent cut for helping his unit work smarter - not harder.
In 2010 and then a senior airman, Weddle made his submission to the IDEA program. He'd been working in the 2 MXS back shop for only a year and noticed that something wasn't right in a repair process for a specific part on the B-52H Stratofortress.
Because Barksdale's back shop does not perform 3-level maintenance, some aircraft parts, like the APQ-166 Strategic Radar Antenna used for navigating munitions, was shipped from Barksdale to the depot at Warner Robbins AFB, Ga., for service and repair.
"To service these antennae, we use a boresight test," said Weddle. "This test allows us to see any error in the antenna and what may need maintenance."
When there is an error, the part is shipped to the Depot, repaired and returned to Barksdale. Sometimes the part wouldn't be returned for months.
"I looked at our history data and realized the same parts were being shipped back and forth multiple times with no solution," said Weddle.
That's when he decided to make something happen.
Weddle reached out to Robert Price, Air Force Engineering Technical Service avionics equipment specialist, to figure out why this was happening.
"The problem had gone on for five years," said Price. "So we reached out to leadership, and got the funding to make a trip to the depot."
Once at the depot, Weddle and Price immediately saw the problem.
"The depot was using a specific, radar frequency electronic test set," said Weddle. "They were unable to duplicate the errors we were receiving with the boresight test."
After their four-day visit, Weddle and Price worked out a gentleman's agreement with the depot, but Weddle wanted it to be official.
"I suggested he go through the IDEA program," said Price. "He did all the leg work. I was just his mentor."
Weddle's IDEA submission and the new tasks it outlined had ripple effect of savings. The depot would save $40,500 annually in shipping costs alone. Since the depot allotted 80 hours to function-check an antenna, and Barksdale's back shop was allotted eight hours, he calculated 2,376 man hours saved. Additionally, due to back and forth shipping, 27 mission essential line replaceable units that were deemed unserviceable would become serviceable.
"This resolved a critical problem with the bombing system," said Price. "It is corrected, and we feel real happy about that."
Weddle is the most recent member of the Barksdale AFB community to receive an IDEA Program payout.
"It is nice to be recognized," said Weddle. "But it's nicer that the problem is fixed, and I don't have to fill out as many Quality Deficiency Reports. They are a pain."
According to Air Force Manpower Agency, the Air Force IDEA Program is an incentive program that promotes process improvement and resource savings through ideas submitted by military and civilian employees. It is accomplished by encouraging a better way of doing business by fostering employee awareness and participation in the Air Force IDEA Program.