Military News

Monday, July 20, 2015

Vehicle management innovation saves Air Force thousands

by Senior Airman Victor J. Caputo
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

7/20/2015 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- A member of the 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management flight saved the Air Force more than $60,000 through the use of in-house fabrication.

C.J. Slifko, 22nd LRS vehicle management flight allied trades mechanic, identified the possibility of replacing the entire back assembly of a street-sweeper truck with pieces made on-station.

"I've always thought that if we could do it ourselves, I would much rather do it here," said Slifko, a retired senior master sergeant who worked in vehicle management his whole career. "Sometimes you can't help what happens when a truck breaks, so our whole chain very strongly encourages us to come up with new ideas and new ways to save money, and I'm all for that."

Maintenance personnel noticed that the truck wasn't sucking dirt and debris off the flightline at desired levels, so it was brought to the vehicle maintenance shop. Slifko and his coworkers inspected the sweeper and discovered the entire roof was about to collapse due to rust.

"The manufacturer actually sells a kit to replace the entire hopper assembly, and it ran in the neighborhood of $65,000," said Slifko. "It would not have been cost effective to buy that part; it would have actually made the truck considered unserviceable, leaving [the 22nd CES] with only two sweepers."

Slifko proposed they fabricate the piece in-house instead, and he immediately started coordinating with various shops across base, including the 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron environmental element and 22nd CES welders to help safely assemble the large amounts of metal used in the process.

The assembly took approximately 200 man-hours of labor between Slifko and his coworker to complete, and ultimately cost $3,000, saving more than $60,000 and exemplifying the innovative mindset inside the 22nd LRS.

"We encourage the ability to come up with new ideas and challenge what we typically do," said 2nd Lt. Kathryn Gossner, 22nd LRS vehicle management flight commander. "We are extremely proud that our Airmen [and] our civilians are taking that extra step to see think about how we can make this better, how can we do things better."

This in-house fabrication not only saved the Air Force thousands of dollars, it also showed how Airmen at all levels, whether uniformed or civilian, are constantly innovating in their fields.

"People are our priority," said Gossner. "Our people make the mission happen. When they are able to make decisions, to take ownership of their job and come to work inspired, things happen."

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