AFREP team saves Aviano AB nearly $3M

The team at the 31st Maintenance Group Air Force Repair Enhancement Program assess broken equipment to determine its repairability, June 14, 2017 at Aviano Air Base, Italy. AFREP has repaired 125 items so far during the 2017 fiscal year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Brooks)

The team at the 31st Maintenance Group Air Force Repair Enhancement Program assess broken equipment to determine its repairability, June 14, 2017 at Aviano Air Base, Italy. AFREP has repaired 125 items so far during the 2017 fiscal year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Brooks)

Tech. Sgt. Michael Loeper, 31st Maintenance Group Air Force Repair Enhancement Program wing manager, uses a digital multimeter to measure electrical properties of a component he is fixing, June 14, 2017 at Aviano Air Base, Italy. AFREP has repaired 125 items to this point during the 2017 fiscal year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Brooks)

Tech. Sgt. Michael Loeper, 31st Maintenance Group Air Force Repair Enhancement Program wing manager, uses a digital multimeter to measure electrical properties of a component he is fixing, June 14, 2017 at Aviano Air Base, Italy. AFREP has repaired 125 items to this point during the 2017 fiscal year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Brooks)

Staff Sgt. Keegan Van Wyk, 31st Maintenance Group Air Force Repair Enhancement Program technician, examines an oxygen regulator test set under a microscope, June 14, 2017 at Aviano Air Base, Italy. After repairing it, this item will amount to $94,000 in cost avoidance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Brooks)

Staff Sgt. Keegan Van Wyk, 31st Maintenance Group Air Force Repair Enhancement Program technician, examines an oxygen regulator test set under a microscope, June 14, 2017 at Aviano Air Base, Italy. After repairing it, this item will amount to $94,000 in cost avoidance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Brooks)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Together, three Team Aviano Airmen saved Aviano Air Base nearly $3 million so far in fiscal year 2017.

The 31st Maintenance Group Air Force Repair Enhancement Program team, comprised of Tech. Sgt. Michael Loeper, 31st MXG AFREP wing manager, and Staff Sgts. Keegan Van Wyk and Edgar Diaz, 31st MXG AFREP technicians, is dedicated to repairing equipment, ranging from office phones to aircraft parts, which could not be fixed by their units and would eventually be thrown away.

Their mission is divided into two categories. The first category is cost avoidance.

“Cost Avoidance is kind of what the name implies,” said Van Wyk. “[Team Aviano customers] bring broken items directly to us to be fixed. Basically we are avoiding their need to spend the money on a new item because we are able to fix it for them.”

The average equipment repaired in the cost avoidance category is valued between $50,000 and $100,000.

“We saved over $2 million of cost avoidance by repairing two guided missile sets,” said Van Wyk. “Each one cost nearly half a million dollars. By comparison last year we made $851,000 in cost avoidance.”

The second category is cost savings.

“Cost savings comes from repairing assets that indirectly come to us through the Air Force Supply System,” said Loeper. “The wing commander determines what morale service, supplies or construction project the savings will be spent on.”

“The money we generate from cost savings is put into an account and used to finish funding things like the Wyvern Fitness Center,” said Van Wyk. “It also funds assets around the maintenance group which directly improve their quality of life.”

Cost savings were responsible for purchasing cold-weather gear for the 31st Maintenance Squadron, maintenance supplies for Camp Darby, and funding the Hangar 1 reconstruction.

New inventory to be repaired is constantly rotating in and out of the shop from multiple units on base.

So far this fiscal year, AFREP repaired 125 items with over $638,000 in savings. The team is well ahead of last fiscal year’s total of $410,000 in savings.

To put it another way, cost avoidance soared up 235 percent and cost savings jumped up by 208 percent from last fiscal year. These numbers are very gratifying for the team.

“For us there’s a lot of job satisfaction in fixing a $20,000 item by replacing a resistor or small component worth $5,” said Loeper. “This job requires thinking outside the box. Since some of the items were produced by vendors that are no longer in business, we must research where to find them. Sometimes it’s a matter of getting the engineering drawings, finding out which component is failing and researching part numbers. It can be difficult but it’s very rewarding.”

To become an AFREP technician, Airmen are screened and must complete a two-month training course.

“The two Airmen who work here with me are awesome,” said Loeper. “They are truly the workhorses of the shop. I couldn’t ask for better guys. They’re very dedicated at what they do.”

With a goal of $1 million in cost savings for 2017, now that they have surpassed $2 million in cost avoidance, the AFREP team is determined to continue breaking records.