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Hanscom squadrons get innovative

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Air Force innovation funds are helping two Hanscom Air Force Base squadrons to provide better customer service to meet mission needs.

The 66th Comptroller Squadron and 66th Force Support Squadron purchased two iPads and queuing software licenses to replace paper sign-in sheets  and antiquated software programs currently used by each organization, respectively. The new software timestamps each entry made by a customer, automatically sorts customers based on their need, displays customers’ names on computers in waiting areas, records who helped each customer and reports on wait times and traffic flow.

“It’s really going to capture how much work and customer service goes into our job,” said 1st Lt. Blake Shaul, 66 CPTS deputy budget officer. “Being able to capture how much time we spend with customers, getting the job done right the first time, is going to empower our Airmen to put forth the best customer service they can.”

The innovation fund program, announced earlier this year in an article on af.mil, provided total force squadrons across the Air Force funding for Airmen-led innovations that increase readiness, reduce cost, return time back to Airmen or enhance lethality of the force.

According to Shaul, who worked with the CPTS Budget Team to manage the funds, said each 66th Air Base Group squadron received approximately $30,000. Maj. Chris Spaulding, the comptroller squadron commander, oversees the program at Hanscom.

“Every eligible organization at Hanscom used this fund to come up with more innovative ways of accomplishing their mission,” Shaul said.

“The Military Personnel Flight is projecting a manpower savings of 40 hours every six months,” said 2nd Lt. Ryan Weiss, 66 FSS Career Development chief. “Technicians now are forced to go line-by-line through the existing tracking tool to gather metrics for AFCOLS [Air Force Common Output Levels Standard] reporting. The new system will automatically calculate this information for us.”

Shaul discussed similar benefits for CPTS.

“This is really going to be able to show how efficient our technicians are, and highlight the technical work where they go above and beyond,” he said. “It’s going to give them time back to accomplish the behind-the-scenes work that’s also really important.”

The Air Force distributed $64 million across all total force squadrons to reduce resource barriers that are preventing ingenuity.

“We need our squadrons to be aggressively persistent and take risks in the pursuit of new ideas and solutions,” said Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein in the February article. “No one knows the problems we face day-to-day more than the Airmen in our squadrons.”

Weiss spoke about the value of improving customer service.

“The cost to fund this innovative idea, which we believe will improve our customer service processes, is approximately $3,000,” he said. “The benefit will far exceed the cost.”

The Military Personnel Flight will continue using the Defense Manpower Data Center's RAPIDS Appointment Scheduler for personnel services. To schedule an appointment, visit https://rapids-appointments.dmdc.osd.mil.

“Part of the job of leaders is to unleash that brilliance and to create an environment where young folks with good ideas actually can get a hearing,” Goldfein said in the same article. “And we can give them some resources and time and energy to allow them to pursue those ideas and see where it goes.”