Airman cashes in on pair of IDEAs

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Scott Eaton
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
An Airman’s pair of suggestions to have depot-level maintenance done at the wing level saved the Air Force more than $2.7 million and earned him two checks for $10,000 and $8,000 respectively, from the Innovative Development through Employee Awareness program.

Tech. Sgt. Mark Kobayashi, an Air Force Repair Enhancement Program repair technician from the 4th Maintenance Group, received permission from equipment custodians at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., to repair connectors on several heads-up displays and multipurpose display units.

The solutions fix the problems for $64 and $12 a piece, respectively. Sending parts to the depot would cost $240,000 per heads-up display and $55,000 per multipurpose display unit, he said.

Sergeant Kobayashi said the new process has become more efficient.

“We had the parts and expertise to do the job and what would’ve taken 30 days only took two hours for me and a few hours for the avionics shop (Airmen) to repair,” he said.

Before, the connectors would come in crushed and damaged and would have to be shipped to the depot at Robins, but the systems needed to be repaired as soon as possible.

The process was time consuming and also cost the Air Force a lot of money in shipping and repair fees. But after Sergeant Kobayashi’s proposal, depot officials allowed him to repair the items, saving time and money.

Sergeant Kobayashi submitted the paperwork for the IDEA program more than a year ago.

“We had to wait for all the data to accumulate and trends to become apparent, so it took that long for the award to come through,” he said.

By repairing the units locally, the Air Force saved $500,000 for nine multipurpose display units and $2.2 million for nine heads-up display units, he said.

“The money is great, but it’s mainly about keeping the planes flying that gives me the most satisfaction,” Sergeant Kobayashi said.

The IDEA program awards up to $10,000 if they can verify tangible savings in a product or service.