AGE flight finds creative way to save time
By Airman 1st Class Heather Hayward, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 17, 2012
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The 366th Equipment Maintenance Squadron's Aerospace Ground Equipment flight plays a vital role in the 366th Fighter Wing's Operational Readiness Inspection and deployments as they process 70 percent of the wing's cargo.
Performing scheduled and unscheduled maintenance on 443 pieces of equipment can be a difficult task when searching for one of more than 900 parts. To make this process more efficient and parts procurement quicker, the AGE flight has implemented a benchstock program.
Shadow boards have replaced the previous printed sheets that only listed the part numbers. The virtual shadow board is a computer based list with pictures of the larger parts. A physical shadow board has components with part numbers attached to a large board so technicians can easily see them and identify the right part.
"The new benchstock program is basically a way to minimize the amount of time the mechanics spend researching the parts," said Tech. Sgt. John Boyles, AGE noncommissioned officer-in-charge of production support. "Before, they spent five to seven minutes searching for parts, now they are down to a minute, sometimes less."
Daily duties include inspecting, testing, and operating AGE to determine equipment serviceability and proper operation, as well as diagnosing mechanical and electronic circuitry malfunctions using visual and auditory senses, and technical publications. The AGE flight has 54 active duty Airmen assigned, with nearly half of those members currently deployed and daily operations are expected to continue as usual with fewer people.
"I just couldn't stand watching people back there going through books, it just didn't make any sense to me," said Master Sgt. Shawn Levesque, AGE production superintendent. "It really wasn't that bad of an issue years ago because we had double, if not triple, the amount of people. Now that we are downsizing we have to think of ways to make our job easier."
It took Staff Sgt. Jason Cochrane, AGE journeyman, three weeks to piece together the physical shadow board and one week putting together the virtual shadow board in order to maintain the unit motto of "No Airpower without Ground Power."
"It helped me to understand the whole benchstock program and execute the core value -- 'Excellence in All We Do'," said Cochrane.