Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hurry Up and Wait

Problem Description
One of the most well-known phrases to any military member is "Hurry up and wait." This phrase references the incredible inefficiency often experienced by military members, particularly when in- and out-processing a unit. Part of this inefficiency is due to policies of certain offices regarding business hours as well as insufficient priority placed on customer service. But this also is due in-part to antiquated business practices based on paper copies and in-person appointments. As early as 1994, the phrase "Paperless Air Force" began gaining momentum as the rest of the world was recognizing the importance of going green. Unfortunately, this phrase has been more slogan, less action. 

System Capabilities
I propose development of a system that automates many of the processes involved in entering and exiting one's assigned duty location. Instead of printing out an individual's orders, then having that individual walk around from office to office, providing this date here and that bit of information there, the tasks could be automated. The office issuing these orders could "press a magic button," which would send the required information to the appropriate offices for processing. And instead of those offices having to download this information, the same system could "automagically" populate the correct fields into their respective systems. 

Business Benefits
The benefits of this functionality come in two types. First, the amount of paper wasted as each military member prints multiple copies of his/her orders every time he/she travels would combine to save money (paper, ink) as well as reduce waste. Secondly, the more efficient system would not only save wasted hours as individuals no longer spend time walking to various appointments, but would also save hours for the individuals processing the paperwork, thus greatly reducing the customer service personnel requirement. 

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