LRS Airmen create for warehouse of future

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Rebecca Abordo

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Members of the 96th Logistics and Readiness Squadron recently improved their warehouses here and are possibly modernizing future Air Force supply operations with new innovative systems.

The innovations sparked from the supply Airmen asking themselves how to improve their processes and work centers. From there, leadership worked to make those ideas a reality.

“An Airman’s idea can leave lasting effects not only within their flight or squadron, but on the total force,” said Tech. Sgt. Gary Harris, the team’s leader. "Let’s cultivate our people to challenge the norm by trail-blazing a path of innovation and process improvements to meet the logistical needs of tomorrow.”

One optimization is the autonomous floor scrubber that uses advanced sensor technology and electrolysis to map floor dimensions. This device saved the squadron more than 5,000 hours of manual cleaning so far, as the robot can autonomously cleanse all 13,000 square feet of the warehouse in two hours.

“This level of support, unhindered by mundane tasks, is essential to the base's operations in the air,” said Senior Airman Thomas Tucker, 96th LRS and member of the project team. 

Warehouse of the future
Warehouse of the future
Warehouse of the future
Warehouse of the future

Another innovative tool is a mobile inventory counter that counts hundreds of small parts in seconds. Supply Airmen pour the parts into the machine instead of manually counting each piece of equipment, cutting their inventory time in half.

Additionally, the squadron implemented electronic shelving labels that digitally display storage information. The labels can be manipulated to display whatever data the team needs. This asset saves the squadron more than 5,000 hours by streamlining their storage procedures. Instead of opening drawers and boxes to find items, Airmen read the digital labels.

With current applications in place, the squadron saves more than 1,200 hours annually. The optimized warehouse allows Airmen to reallocate saved time to daily operations, mission support and training.

The success of the warehouse improvement brought Air Force Material Command’s Innovation Integration leadership down to see it firsthand in March. The purpose of the visit was to collaborate and see if other AFMC work centers could implement the methods in their supply chains. 

“During my visit, I was impressed with all of the work the innovation team accomplished with this Warehouse of the Future initiative,” said Lt. Col. Michael Moen, AFMC’s chief of integration and innovation. “My team has been tracking it and helping it along where we can. We're planning how to implement many of their ideas across AFMC and eventually throughout the Air Force.”