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NEWS | Jan. 18, 2022

Simple suggestion streamlines process, saves time, money

By Ms. Jacqueline Boucher

Simple suggestion streamlines process, saves time, money | Article | The United States Army

An idea to make the most of a piece of equipment led to lower costs and a faster turn-around time to fabricate labels used to identify keys for military assets repaired at Tobyhanna Army Depot.

Electronics Mechanic Leader Joseph Twardowski realized that a small printer being used on the shop floor was suitable for printing hundreds of small labels using PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic, thereby streamlining a process employee’s use repeatedly. The printer, once used to create employee badges, had been repurposed some time ago to print other items using similar material.

Twardowski’s inspiration earned a monetary award via the depot’s Ideas for Innovation Suggestion Program. He works in the Command, Control, Communications, Computers Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Directorate’s Secure Communications Branch.

Using the printer, employees are able to create the labels in house, eliminating the need to out-source the job and keeping costs at a minimum, according to the work leader. In the past the labels were made by personnel working elsewhere on the depot.

“The on-site printer saves us time traveling to and from one building to another, in addition we no longer have to wait for the work request to make it through the other shop’s job queue,” said Twardowski. “All we have to do is load the PVC card stock and press a button because the printer is pre-programed to create the labels. What used to take days to complete, now takes minutes.”

Federal employees are encouraged to submit their ideas to improve the organization via the Ideas for Innovation Suggestion Program, according to Chris Gogola, program manager. Program information is available on Tobyhanna’s intranet site under the programs-procedures link. Ideas must be submitted by email to after completing the ELTY 1045, Tobyhanna Ideas for Innovation form.

“The first step in the process is to get supervisor approval,” Gogola said. “Submitters are encouraged to get the necessary approvals and implement their suggestion prior to submission, if possible. Individuals may receive an award if a suggestion is approved and implemented.” Gogola is a lead process improvement specialist in the Resource Management Directorate.

Branch Chief Kris Tompkins says he’s fortunate to lead a group of people who are committed to creating efficiencies in the workplace.

“Our employees look at everything they do to see if costs can be reduced, quality improved, or time saved,” Tompkins said. “I think with Joe being a leader and always looking at ways to do things efficiently, his dedication to process improvement has rubbed off on the rest of the team.”

This is the fifth award-winning suggestion Twardowski has submitted during the course of his depot career. He suggests talking to others who have used the suggestion program, but most of all if an individual feels an idea has merit, take that leap of faith and submit the form.

“Ideas can be big or small,” Twardowski said. “One of my earlier suggestions was to convert stacks of paperwork into a single spreadsheet.”

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 3,700 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.