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Sergeant earns $9,965 for money-saving idea

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- A craftsman of the 7th Component Maintenance Squadron received a cash award March 9 for submitting a recommendation that will save the Air Force more than $65,000 a year.

Staff Sgt. David Berryman, 7th CMS electrical and environmental flight, submitted a suggestion through the Idea program to repair the landing lights on the B-1, earning $9,965 for his efforts.

Before his suggestion was accepted, there wasn’t a provision to repair the light, only to replace it.

“There wasn’t any instruction to repair the landing light, but there was an instruction to repair the taxi light,” said Sergeant Berryman. “Since the two lights are basically the same and use the same components, I felt there should be a way to fix the item and save the Air Force some money.”

He researched and wrote the technical order to do the repair, and his procedures are now a part of an existing T.O. that has been approved Air Force-wide.

Sergeant Berryman started his research last summer and submitted his Idea suggestion in December.

“I was very surprised that my suggestion was approved,” said Sergeant Berryman.

His award didn’t go unnoticed by his co-workers. Sergeant Berryman said everyone has complimented him on a job well done and is asking him about the process he used to submit the idea because they want to do the same thing.

He said this increased interest is great because everyone benefits from the improvements in one way or another.

Sergeant Berryman said his supervisor was very supportive and helped him with his research and with verifying his procedures.

“He did all the legwork and research and brought the text to me to review. Once I was sure that it was correct, I signed off on the suggestion,” said Tech. Sgt. Jason Hummel. “He put in a lot of overtime to complete the process.”

Sergeant Hummel said all of Sergeant Berryman’s hard work on the suggestion didn’t surprise him. “He goes the extra mile to get things done,” he added.

Sergeant Hummel said one of the immediate benefits of the suggestion is that by repairing the light instead of replacing it, the item is immediately available. There is no need to order the part or cannibalize another aircraft while waiting for a part.

Sergeant Berryman said he also received a lot of help from Mr. Mike Pershing, Idea program manager, who ensured the paperwork was filled out properly.

“This is a great example of what the Idea program is for -- recognizing people for cost savings or cost improvement,” said Mr. Pershing. “It rewards people for finding a way to do their job more safely, quickly and efficiently.”

Mr. Pershing’s job is to evaluate and validate suggestions at base level and forward them to the next level, if required.

Mr. Pershing said most of the Idea suggestions and awards he sees are in the maintenance community, but the program is for everyone. “If you see something that needs to be improved in your unit, suggest a change,” he added.

There are three levels of suggestion approval: base, command and Air Force. Monetary awards are given for both intangible and tangible savings. The award for intangible savings is $200, and awards for tangible savings is up to 15 percent of the first year’s savings, with a maximum of $10,000 per suggestion.

One important requirement for a suggestion resulting from an approved AFTO Form 22,
Technical Manual Change Recommendation and Reply, is that the Idea suggestion must be submitted within 30 days of notification of AFTO 22 approval.

Mr. Pershing said he hasn’t seen as many suggestions as he used to. “I would like to see more. I know there are more suggestions out there,” he said.

When asked if all his hard work was worth it, Sergeant Berryman replied, “It was very time consuming, lots of off-duty time spent doing the homework, but it was definitely worth the effort.”