Tinker equipment specialist’s IDEA earns cash award

Leadra Wood, an equipment specialist in the 421st Supply Chain Management Squadron, turned an idea into $10,000. (Air Force photo)

Leadra Wood, an equipment specialist in the 421st Supply Chain Management Squadron, turned an idea into $10,000. (Air Force photo)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --  Leadra Wood from the 421st Supply Chain Management Squadron was a recent recipient of a $10,000 award from the IDEA program. As an equipment specialist in the 421st SCMS, she is responsible for ensuring that the mechanics on the shop floor have enough parts, through purchase or repair processes, to do their job.

Over the course of time, she started noticing that certain parts that should have been earmarked to be shipped to a contractor for repair were instead being condemned here at Tinker.

"I discovered that there was a Technical Instruction that over-rode the Technical Order," said Ms. Wood. "Instead of putting them in reparable 'F' condition, they were condemned by an engineer and a new part was purchased."

Ms. Wood decided to dig a little deeper and discovered that not everyone was aware of the contract to send parts out for repair.

"Because of change-over in personnel, new people didn't always know the right questions to ask," said Ms. Wood.

As she continued her research, Ms. Wood determined that the TI was the problem because it didn't distinguish between the parts being repaired at the depot and those that were being contracted out. She then performed an analysis on 12 of her parts that were earmarked for contract repair but were not being sent out for repair.

"On one item alone I was losing $70,000," Ms. Wood said. "Over 12 it was nearly a quarter of a million dollars."

Once she had compiled enough data to show the cost differential between brand new parts and contractor repaired parts, she showed her supervisor the data and he encouraged her to submit her findings to the IDEA program.

"My suggestion was to put in writing in the TI the requirement for engineers to make sure to check each part to see if it was to be sent to contractor repair," Ms. Wood said.
Once her idea was in the system, it took more than 10 months to be validated before she received her check. According to Vanessa Johnson, IDEA program manager for the 448th SCMW, this is fairly routine.

"All ideas submitted to the program have to be researched and validated that they haven't been submitted before," she said. "Depending on the complexity of the idea, it can take up to a year to get a determination."

Ms. Wood's actions brought praise from her group commander who hopes others are encouraged to follow her example.

"I am so proud of and honored to serve with Leadra Wood, " said Col. Raymone Mijares, 848th Supply Chain Management Group commander. "In today's constrained fiscal environment, we must all be savvy stewards of our tax dollars. Leadra's innovative proposal is projected to save over $220,000 in just one year. Now that's impressive! I hope her success and $10,000 award inspires others to seek out other cost saving measures."

This was Ms. Wood's first time to submit an idea and she plans to do it again.
"I've got a couple of ideas I'm working on though I may not be as successful as I was this time," she said.

Her advice to would-be submitters is to not give up and keep working to improve efficiency and provide the warfighter the best products to do their jobs.

As for what she plans on doing with the money, "I've got four kids, two at home, one in high school and one just starting college," Ms. Wood said. "So I'm trying to save as much as I can to help with extra expenses, and when the time is right I would like to take a trip to see my oldest son who lives in Japan."