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Cost Effective Readiness at Robins AFB

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- When it comes to finding ways of being more efficient and cost effective in today's budget-conscious environment, Robins is doing its share by contributing more than $85 million toward the "Road to a Billion and Beyond" initiative.

Cost-effective readiness initiatives were implemented earlier this year by Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, Air Force Sustainment Center commander.

To date, a total of $85.7 million has been saved, with $71.7 million from the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, and $14 million from the 78th Air Base Wing.
Projects have been submitted from across the installation, including the 78th Civil Engineer Group, responsible for providing, operating, restoring, maintaining and protecting managed assets of Robins infrastructure and facilities.

Due to an update in regulations involving extensive emission limits, performance testing, monitoring, operation and maintenance requirements and recordkeeping of peak shave generators, the 78th CEG, working in conjunction with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, reclassified 12 generators as 'emergency use only' generators.

This move will limit the generators to an annual use of less than 100 hours, thereby avoiding the requirement to upgrade and monitor them.

"This was a perfect example of showing a different way of doing business. Over a two year period, their projected cost avoidance was $1.32 million. That's huge," said Greg Huttner, Financial Management director of AFSC's operating location at Robins.

By measuring dollar amounts by hard savings, cost avoidance or cost opportunity savings, the installation is starting to change its culture by thinking more about how cost is part of daily decision-making, said Huttner.

At more than 12,000 feet, Robins is home to the longest active runway in Georgia. When aircraft arrive, a safety net exists for tailhook-equipped aircraft that may need emergency assistance when landing.

The BAK-9 Aircraft Arresting System was installed at Robins in 1963. Runways were later updated with the installation of the BAK-12/14 in 1977. While both systems have since been upgraded, it was found that the BAK-9 was outdated and due for a replacement in fiscal 2013.

As Robins' mission is not primarily one of a tactical, training or prime divert facility for tailhook-equipped aircraft, there was not a requirement for both arresting systems to be on the runway, said Huttner.

By eliminating the outdated BAK-9, decommissioned by Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, there was a cost avoidance of $379,000, and an annual savings of $125,000 for labor, material and repair for system maintenance.

In the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, procuring a new hybrid laser trimming system, a more reliable machine that will meet workload and certification requirements, saved $367,000.

Costs were drastically reduced in comparison to an existing system, in use by the Hybrid Microelectronics Facility which provides form, fit and function replacement components with the trimming systems aid.

"In maintenance what drives a lot of cost is re-work and materials," said Huttner. "By purchasing this new system, that's exactly what it's going to avoid; it will decrease the re-work and decrease material scrap."

Whether it's purchasing new equipment to accomplish the mission more efficiently or avoiding the cost of maintaining or upgrading older equipment, Robins continues to look for ways to operate responsibly when it comes to spending money.

"Here at Robins we have been doing a lot of great things," he said.

Huttner added that as his division continues to validate incoming projects and market organizations to document and share savings, he estimated between $60 million to $70 million is currently being validated throughout fiscal 2014.