Commentary

June 22, 2012

Cost conscious culture:

Doing little reaps big savings

by Gen. Edward Rice Jr.
Air Education and Training Command commander

Gen. Edward Rice

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —  Fellow members of the AETC team, thank you for all you do to keep our Air Force and our nation strong. As I travel around our command, I see firsthand how magnificently you are executing our recruit, train and educate missions, and I want you to know how proud I am to be on your team.

Our ability to continue to execute our mission with excellence is directly related to how we manage our resources. While it is clear we will have fewer resources available in the future, I am convinced we will have the resources we need if we use those resources wisely. Said another way, we will have the dollars we need, but not one penny to waste.

One of the ways each of us can ensure we are using our precious resources judiciously is through participation in what we are calling a Culture of Cost Consciousness, or C3. C3 is about attaining a higher level of understanding about the costs of our daily activities. It is about all of us finding ways to save small amounts of money that collectively will add up to saving large amounts. It is about harnessing the power of open communication to share ideas that work. It is about having a stake in the future and taking responsibility to shape that future in a positive way.

C3 is not a new “program,” rather it is a new “culture.” It is not about learning a new set of skills or a complex rule set. It is not about quotas for savings or mandatory participation.

In fact, each of us already has all the tools required to join the cost conscious culture. Those tools are our powers of observation and a willingness to question the costs of what we observe. I will give you a few personal examples to illustrate this point.

When I go TDY, I normally travel on military aircraft that operate out of Randolph Air Force Base. The Randolph airfield is normally closed on weekends, so if I need to depart or return on a weekend I fly out of San Antonio International Airport to avoid the cost (overtime) of opening the airfield at Randolph. Before C3 I assumed this was the most cost effective way to operate; however, after C3 I asked the question, “Is it really cheaper to fly out of San Antonio since we end up paying a private contractor there to service the aircraft?” After doing a little research, we found that there are times when it is actually cheaper to open the field at Randolph than it is to operate out of San Antonio. We now do the cost comparison for each trip where I’m departing or leaving on a weekend, and we are saving money … C3!

Another example. For many years AETC headquarters has leased a surrey that is suitable for transporting distinguished visitors when they visit our command. Before C3 I probably would have automatically renewed the lease since we need a way to transport visitors and “we’ve always had a DV surrey.” After C3 I asked, “How much does this lease cost and do we really need this surrey?” In short, the answer was, “It costs a lot, and we have other surreys that are suitable for transporting DVs.” Result: we cancelled the lease and are saving thousands of dollars … C3!

The other day while drying my hands in the men’s room, I looked down at the paper towel and wondered whether it would be less expensive to use hand dryers instead. A brief search on the Internet indicated hand dyers could potentially be 95 percent less expensive than paper towels. If this is even half true, conversion across the command to hand dryers could potentially save big bucks … C3!

I could go on, but you get the point. C3 is about a different way of looking at everything we do and each of us already has the tools to make a difference.

If each of us found ways to save only $3 a day, we’d collectively save more than $37 million dollars in just six months. That’s the power of numbers; each of us doing a little, results in all of us doing a lot. With this in mind, I’m setting a goal for C3 savings. Let’s each try to save $3 a day and see if we can’t collectively save $37 million dollars by December 31st. Again, participation is not mandatory, but I’m betting most of you will want to get on the C3 train.

To find out how you can be part of the AETC C3 culture, visit the AETC web page at www.aetc.af.mil and follow the link to the AETC C3 site. You can also follow our progress with me on Twitter at #aetcboss or share your ideas and comments on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/AirEducationandTrainingCommand.

Thanks again for all you do, every day!




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