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Mail Center becomes more efficient to save money

Airman 1st Class Ryan Holland, postal apprentice, prepares a box to make a consolidated package June 24, 2015, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Holland was one of the Airmen that helped streamline the program helping save the official mail center money. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Melissa Estevez)

Airman 1st Class Ryan Holland, postal apprentice, prepares a box to make a consolidated package June 24, 2015, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Holland was one of the Airmen that helped streamline the program helping save the official mail center money. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Melissa Estevez)

Airman 1st Class Ryan Holland, postal apprentice, prepares a consolidated package June 24, 2015, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Holland was one of the Airmen that helped streamline the program helping save the official mail center money. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Melissa Estevez)

Airman 1st Class Ryan Holland, postal apprentice, prepares a consolidated package June 24, 2015, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Holland was one of the Airmen that helped streamline the program helping save the official mail center money. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Melissa Estevez)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Il. -- Efficiency and improving the capabilities across the Air Force is the focus of Air Force Smart Operations program, and a team of Scott Airmen recently applied these principles to the mail center here saving $1,000 a month.

The Scott AFB mail center sends on average 323,000 pieces of mail a year and over 266 pounds in packages with a shop of approximately 14 workers.

"Our manning is kind of unstable so our goal for the mail center is to perform what we do now with less manning," said Tech. Sgt. Ernie Pangilinan, 375th Communications Squadron's Official Mail Center NCOIC. "With the equipment and new streamline process we implemented, we will be able to process the same amount of product but will spend less money doing it."

When Pangilinan arrived about a year ago, he had been out of the mail room environment for some time, but he was familiar with the AFSO principles. That's when he decided to ask his Airmen for ways to save money, and as a group they came up with the idea of poaching.

Poaching is a program that consolidates registered, certified or first class mail to the same base. For example, if they are sending multiple letters or packages to the same base, placing them all in one box will save the mail center and the sender shipping cost.

"This organization recognized that they were wasting money in the form of postage and materials by shipping multiple boxes to different agencies at the same location," said Master Sgt. Jennifer Lyon, 375th Air Mobility Wing AFSO Process Manager. "The mail centers at those locations are able to process a single package to their location and correctly route the items to the necessary agencies without the items being packaged and mailed individually."

Since Pangilinan and his work center started implementing the poaching program in late 2014 they have helped the Air Force save around $1,000 a month.

The idea for this program was a co-effort from the team at the mail center. The Airmen leading the program are Airmen 1st Class Ryan Holland and Christopher Baskerville, both postal apprentices.

"My team of Airmen are doing all the effort and work making these things happen," said Pangilinan. "They are the backbone of the operation. I'm just here to facilitate and lead them where we need to go."

The mail center has also saved money by reducing the frequency of mail deliveries to locations that rarely receive mail and limiting the amount of junk mail they receive such as magazines.

Lyons said, "While some AFSO events require multiple weeks of research and days of meetings with key players, other events can be done quickly when a problem or inefficiency is recognized and a solution presents itself. We call these 'Just Do It's' and that is the case with the Official Mail Center."

Principles and tools of AFSO enable Airmen to change daily operating styles to integrate continuous improvements into the full spectrum of Air Force operation. The improvements must be centered on the core missions that Airmen are responsible for conducting, in this case ensuring official mail gets to its destination in a timely, affordable manner.

"Outside of the box thinking shown by Tech. Sgt. Pangilinan and his team is exactly the kind of continuous process improvement that our Airmen can and should perform every day," said Lyon. "Making our processes more efficient and effortless benefits every Airman at every level."

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