News Search

Mighty Ninety updates out-processing system

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Anthony Munoz
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

The 90th Force Support Squadron has implemented a new virtual out-processing system over the past year in an effort to make departing base easier and more efficient for Airmen leaving F.E. Warren Air Force Base.

“Out-processing Col. Bonetti was very, very simple,” said Staff Sgt. Samantha Marshik, NCOIC of out-bound assignments with the 90 FSS. “He got his text message at 7:30 Monday morning notifying him of his final out after his change of command ceremony. He was very appreciative and he liked it a lot.”

The new system allows for out-processing staff to distribute and receive documents virtually via the Air Force Connect app, text message and email. This eliminates the need for Airmen to travel repeatedly to the out-processing office in order to complete physical paperwork.

“We’ve gotten a lot of positive customer feedback because customers seem to like not having to come in and not having to carry everything around,” said Marshik. “Everything is a lot simpler for them. Especially for those that don’t have regular access to a computer desk, as long as we have their cell phone number and service provider, we can send them a message.”

The new virtualized program has also saved paper in addition to trips to the out-processing office by not requiring departing personnel to carry physical folders full of documents.

“We don’t have to waste paper because we don’t have to make packages and photocopies of everything,” said Marshik. “Everything just goes off to their gaining location through the Case Management System. All we do is send a text message to their phone with their CMS case number, so when they in-process to their gaining location, they just tell them ‘all of my documents are here’.”

The idea to virtualize the out-processing system originally came from efforts to limit close contact after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It really hit home with COVID,” according to Marshik. “We were trying to limit personal interaction and trying to keep things virtual to be safe. We found that with having virtual final outs, things just ran a lot smoother, quicker and more efficiently.”

The simplicity of the virtual out-processing system allows Airmen to focus on other aspects of their out-processing without too much interference.

“They would be scared that their housing appointments would be delayed because of their final out and they would reschedule,” said Airman 1st Class McKenzie Jones, outbound assignment technician, 90 FSS. “Now with my customers, they’re a lot more satisfied because when they’re at their housing appointment, I can just send them their message while they’re still trying to out-process with housing.”

The out-processing team initially tested the virtual system on a small scale in order to work through glitches before applying the system to all out-processing Airmen

“We started with FGOs and SNCOs and phased ourselves in as we worked out all of the little details, the good things, the bad things and the feedback,” said Senior Master Sgt. Leah Polhemus Barron, Military Personnel Flight chief with 90 FSS.

The out-processing team is continuously seeking ways to make the out-processing system more efficient after applying it to all Airmen out-processing off base.

“It’s still being tailored, but the technicians have gotten it down to almost a science now,” said Barron.

Convincing base housing, medical, and other base entities that transitioning to a virtual out-processing system would be possible was the biggest difficulty faced by the out-processing team, according to Barron.

“I think retraining the customers, retraining our commanders, retraining our chiefs, retraining everybody on base that we’re going to change this was our biggest obstacle getting everybody on board and bought into a process that eliminated that face-to-face interaction and still kept the same level of customer service,” said Barron. “We can do this, and we’re not going to lose the amount of customer support that we provide. I would argue that we’ve increased our customer support.”

Jones agrees that junior-enlisted Airmen have a lot of potential to renovate technology-based systems and challenge current systems based on their proficiency with technology.

“I think you can have an idea at any rank,” said Jones. “A lot of good ideas would come from Airmen, especially those coming in fresh out of tech school.”

She also agrees that Airmen should not allow fear of rejection to stop them from voicing their opinions.

“I feel like ideas don’t deserve to be called stupid or irrelevant,” said Jones. “Push any idea up to your supervisor, because the more you express it or talk about it, the more ears you’ll turn.”