ADPE team gets ‘lean’ and clean

Nate Cairney
Kaiserslautern American

In the 435th Automated Data Processing Equipment warehouse, stuff was piling up everywhere. Old government equipment was stacked cheek to jowl on shelves, waiting for custodians to come claim it. In many cases, no one ever came. Warranties expired and gear became obsolete, which further exacerbated the problem.

According to Master Sgt. Tonia Bennett, 435th Communications Squadron system acquisitions section chief, it was time for a change.

So in late November and early December, the 435th Communications Squadron attacked the problem. They held an Air Force Smart Operations 21 event at the ADPE office in an effort to see how to eliminate inefficient processes. As part of an AFSO event, a team of outsiders analyzes the current workflow and then offers concrete suggestions for immediate improvement. So, the ADPE team took a hard look at how they were operating.

“Before AFSO, if someone ordered equipment, we would have to account for every piece that came in and count on equipment custodians to come by and get it later,” said Sergeant Bennett.  “But people weren’t coming to pick (their equipment) up. A lot of accounts were being locked up, and we ended up housing stuff for up to three years.”

Afterwards, the AFSO team came up with a number of suggestions to reduce the jumble of gear. They began by holding equipment users responsible.


“The big thing AFSO 21 is trying to accomplish for us is ensuring individual accountability,” said Sergeant Bennett. “Instead of having equipment custodians be accountable for everything, individual users will be responsible for their equipment.”

In making the push toward progress, Sergeant Bennett said that a number of concrete steps were accomplished. These include the distribution of hand receipts to individual equipment users and a huge savings in taxes paid for software licenses.

“In many cases, old computers were just sitting around unused,” she said. “The wing still had to pay to use the software that was on them each year. Taking care of that saves the wing a lot of money.”

The AFSO event also means that the previously chaotic ADPE warehouse will soon be shut down. “We’re trying to get out of housing people’s equipment,” said Sergeant Bennett.

On Dec. 13, Airmen from the 435th Communications Squadron delivered the findings from the AFSO event to a crowd that included Gen. Tom Hobbins, USAFE commander, and Col. Kurt Lohide, 435th Air Base Wing commander.

Going forward, Sergeant Bennett said her team is looking forward to the challenges involved in implementing the AFSO team’s suggestions.
“It’s a lot of hard work,” she said. “But it’s a good idea.”