Tracking system wins RAF Mildenhall innovation award

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bruce Shoffner, 100th Comptroller Squadron quality assurance manager, sits with the Innovation of the Quarter trophy at RAF Mildenhall, England, Nov. 16, 2017. The trophy is comprised of different elements from each past innovation winner and will continue to be augmented by future winners. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Cooper)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bruce Shoffner, 100th Comptroller Squadron quality assurance manager, sits with the Innovation of the Quarter trophy at RAF Mildenhall, England, Nov. 16, 2017. The trophy is comprised of different elements from each past innovation winner and will continue to be augmented by future winners. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Cooper)

RAF MILDENHALL, England --

A member of the 100th Comptroller Squadron was recently named the winner of Innovation of the Quarter.

Tech. Sgt. Bruce Shoffner, 100th CPTS quality assurance manager, has already seen his innovation, a program which tracks departmental accountable officials, quickly spread to another base. 

“The quality assurance team from Aviano Air Base has been in contact about the program,” Shoffner said. “It was very humbling to be chosen for this award.”

The program, estimated to save at a minimum of 450 man hours per year, is expected to be adopted by other units in the future. 

“A lot of people do similar missions, which gives us the opportunity to replicate those savings across a wider range, whether it’s across different squadrons, wings or even the entire Air Force,” said Capt. Ryan Chamberlin, 100th ARW chief of commanders action group.

Innovation of the Quarter is a competition at the 100th Air Refueling Wing to find new ways to save time and money.

“It’s a U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces in Africa-driven program. Every quarter we send out a call for the top innovations in the 100th Air Refueling Wing,” Chamberlin said. “They send us their brightest ideas, which they’ve implemented to help them do the mission better.”

Once the ideas are presented, leadership chooses which innovation should be presented to USAFE.

This way, innovations can be implemented across the entire major command not just RAF Mildenhall, Chamberlin explained.

Anyone with an innovative idea can participate in the program.

“We are really looking for savings of Airmen’s time and money, those are the biggest things we’re looking for,” Chamberlin said. “Last calendar year we saved $327,000 and 853,000 hours – about nine weeks-worth of effort – across the wing.”

This program not only saves time and money for the Air Force, but also helps Airmen build better communication skills.

“Innovation of the Quarter spurs us to present our ideas more efficiently and effectively,” Chamberlin said. “To give other people an opportunity to capitalize on these innovations, extra effort must be put into them to make sure that they are understood by everyone.”