CPI empowers Airmen through innovation

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Holly Mansfield
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

The Continuous Process Improvement program is  helping bring innovation to the forefront  of the Air Force culture by educating Airmen on how they can change their units for the better.

The 81st Training Wing CPI office is an outlet for Airmen, government civilians and contractors to share ideas on how to improve processes or functions in their units.

“CPI, formerly known as Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century or AFSO21, is a program where we look for ways to improve the Air Force’s processes,” said Vernon Griego, 81st Force Support Squadron mission requirements chief. “Anyone can ask for an improvement effort for their work area as long as we have the resources to improve or change it.”

One of the main goals of CPI is to encourage Airmen to use their knowledge of newer technology and problem solving techniques to make their time on the job easier and more efficient.

“We need to get the word out to our Airmen who are on the ground doing the job every day,” said Griego. “We want to hear from the lower ranking Airmen because they’re more in tune with computers and today’s advances in technology. Their ability to make improvements and problem solve is more advanced than someone who might have been doing the same process for years and years. The times have changed and technology has drastically improved; ideas that might have been brought up years ago and didn’t work might work now because of those advances.”

In some career fields, Airmen will have checklists that were made before they were in the Air Force. With the CPI program, if Airmen see a step that is redundant, wastes time or isn’t necessary they can come up with a solution and bring it to the CPI office.

“Like in maintenance, there are checklists that those Airmen are following every day to complete their job,” said Griego. “If they see a step that can be taken out that adds time or is outdated then they can bring that idea to us or their leadership. There are always ways to improve what we do here.”

The CPI office works to make the change process easier for those who submit ideas by doing the necessary leg work for a submission.

“A lot of people say the process looks complicated and won’t bring up their ideas for improvement,” said Griego. “In reality, they don’t have to worry about the details. It’s my job as the CPI expert to complete that portion.”

Whether it’s a new way of fixing a government vehicle or a different process for teaching technical school Airmen, anyone can have their voice heard and impact their unit and career field.

“If CPI can be embedded into the culture of our Airmen, it will give everyone – generals, Airmen, contractors and everyone in between –  an avenue to improve their unit,” said Jeff Bullen, 81st FSS manpower analyst. “It gives them a voice on how they complete their job and the effectiveness of their workload.”

To submit an idea or learn how to create solutions for a problem in their work section, call the CPI office at 228-376-8165/8607 or email 81trw.cpi.cpi@us.af.mil.