U.S. NAVAL AIR STATION JOINT RESERVE BASE FORT WORTH, Texas --
The “Squadron Innovation Fund,” which was a 2018 National Defense Strategy initiative from former Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein, was created to reduce resource barriers which prevented ingenuity. The purpose of these funds, which are used for Airmen-led innovations to increase readiness, reduce cost, return time back to Airmen or enhance lethality of the force, also reinforce current Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. 's “Accelerate Change or Lose” strategic approach and accompanying Action Orders to find innovative ways to implement new programs and processes to accelerate change. 301st Fighter Wing Airmen will soon feel its impact.
The wing was awarded a customer service-friendly Queue Kiosk system through the 2020 Squadron Innovation Fund which will do more than check customers in and out.
“As technology constantly advances, the 301 FW must keep up,” said Senior Master Sgt. James Cavin, 301 FW Force Support Squadron force development flight chief. “We have made simple changes to update a system which will not only help FSS Airmen assist wing customers but also customers from the entire base. Our goal is to improve the mission support of ALL customers and not just be satisfied with that makes things easier on FSS.”
This innovation will allow customers needing support to virtually sign-in using QR codes at their respective squadrons in order to use their time more efficiently as well as see the waiting list in real-time. Once notified, customers can head to FSS and check-in via the kiosk to let FSS know that they’ve arrived.
“It’s a great convenience to receive a [notification] text in case I am training Airmen and I’ll be notified when it’s my turn,” said Staff Sgt. Wesley Tavares, 301 FW Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “In the past, we would walk over to FSS or finance and there was always too many [factors] to allow for proper time management.”
Not only will this system provide ease of use, it will also afford customers the opportunity to sign in for any section within the entire FSS building to include support from finance, legal, retention and career counseling among others. It also lists what services each office provides in case customers may not know which category they fall into.
“Being able to see all the services and wait times FSS and other wing entities provide will not only give us our time back, but also allow our culture to change,” said Senior Airman Michael West, 301 FW AMXS. “[As a maintainer] it’s easy to assume that we are the only ones who are working the hardest and this system will provide mission transparency which will bring understanding and a better appreciation [of all levels] at all levels throughout the base.”
Additionally, the on-line sign-up system will also help the customer service personnel improve their own efficiency. The administrative user will have the option to be notified when customers check-in for their specific area via desktop sound alert, by receiving an email, or by receiving a text message.
“Previously, we would have one of our military members standing up front at a work station and it was very ‘old-school’ with pen and paper sign-ins,” Said Tech. Sgt. Amanda Rehberg 301 FW FSS customer support NCOIC. “Now, we can better employ our manpower and have our FSS Airmen utilizing the skills they were trained for instead of [only] signing people in.”
Finally, the QR code will also be able to show supervisors which members are checked in and how long the wait time will be in order to greatly reduce unknown stressors and allow them to focus on their jobs and their Airmen.
“Instead of members wasting valuable training time on drill weekends by walking over to our headquarters building, they will be able to see all customer service wait times by simply using their cell phones to scan the QR code. Various bases have reported as many as 12 man-hours saved per month versus traditional reporting methods,” Cavin added. “This system will insure the base has correct source documentation and correct data information throughout every squadron. Customers are able to see current wait times for each section, receive text message alerts, view what documents are needed before their appointment, and much more.”
The wing continues to serve the country as the state of Texas’ only Air Force Reserve Command F-16 Fighting Falcon unit while also preparing to receive AFRC’s first F-35A Lightning II mission in the near future. As the wing moves closer to the needs of a fifth-generation aircraft, innovation and process improvement for the wing’s Reserve Citizen Airmen proves just as important.
“Covid-19 accelerated change within FSS to figure out ways to keep our members safe, but not impede our mission which includes providing premiere support programs and assistance to enable Airmen to better carry out their everyday missions, in and out of uniform,” Cavin said. “With a new program like this self-service sign-in system, it allows us to cut down the [excess] time in a physical waiting room which will return time back to our Airmen so they can focus on completing the wing’s mission—to train and deploy combat-ready Airmen. Save time and sign-up online!”
This would not have happened without the strong support from our FSS senior leadership who allowed us to think outside the box Cavin said.
The FSS innovation does not stop with the improved program. Their next plan is to enhance the customer check-in process by creating a covered outdoor section to receive customers with an emphasis on social distancing and while optimizing patron traffic flow.
Summary of unique features:
• Ability to notify customers if shut down of specific services, For example MILPDS, DEERS, VMPF.
• Ability to have specific service days and hours for customers to accommodate walk in vs. appointments only.
• Specially designed reports based on specific FSS Leadership Reporting requirements.
• Reports showing the Staff performance metrics which assists in counseling/training needs
• Special reports showing time/day customer inquiries which assists with personnel resource allocation
• Customized notification feature allowing specific instructions to be given to the customer depending on which service they sign in for. As they are made aware of special requirements this decreases instances of customers waiting for 30 minutes only to be notified later that they did not have the proper paperwork or documentation. This wastes time of the customer as well as the staff. This allows personnel that was previously attending the front desk to increase workforce utilization in the back office, processing files and updating records.
• Ability to make sure customers issues were fully resolves without pending actions
Queue Kiosk Check In: https://www.queuekiosk.com/webaccess/?QID=145&QTKN=qjr4u7ovk32e31e7x
Queue Kiosk Service Wait Times: https://www.queuekiosk.com/webaccess/?QID=145&QTKN=qjr4u7ovk32e31e7x