By Jacqueline Boucher
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. — For years, military assets have moved in and out of Tobyhanna Army Depot at the direction of customers from every branch of the service.
Tobyhanna has partnered with DLA Distribution Tobyhanna, a tenant organization here, since the early 1990s to receive, store and issue a wide range of military systems. Over time, materiel has accumulated in outside storage areas, resulting in rows of excess equipment and dormant stock taking up space that could be used to store new revenue-generating workload.
Members of a Lean Six Sigma team, representing the depot and DLA, conducted a rapid improvement event (RIE) and earmarked more than 100 items for disposal — an effort that will clear in excess of 48,000 square feet of space—about the size of a football field.
Military systems are normally repaired and returned to the customer or placed in storage until needed to meet mission requirements.
“We’re pleased with the outcome of the event,” said Kimberly Appel, process improvement specialist, Productivity, Improvement, and Innovation Directorate. “We’ve got the support of the services buying in and getting rid of dormant stock.”
Within three years, the Communications Electronics Command (CECOM) has reduced stock stored here by nearly 40 percent, according to Bryant Anderson, CECOM Field Office chief.
“This was a long overdue event,” Anderson said. “Accurate property accountability records are vitally important in order to make appropriate disposition decisions.”
He explained that some of the assets targeted by the team were not on record, which made it more difficult to determine disposition.
The removal of items from the installation is a complex and lengthy process, and it could take up to 18 months to complete. Part of the process even includes other services bidding on the items before disposal.
Item managers direct the disposition of materiel by submitting a disposal requisition, which DLA Distribution Tobyhanna and DLA Disposition will execute upon receipt. Tobyhanna manages special handling requirements, i.e. hazardous materiel and demilitarization (DEMIL) efforts. All funding is provided by the customer, according to Appel.
Anderson pointed out that despite everything involved in divesting assets, eliminating unneeded stock from storage is a relatively easy way to avoid extraneous costs.
Officials here have provided written requests for disposition instructions to individual item managers, along with photographs showing the condition of the assets. Included in the correspondence is a report listing projected storage costs for the next 10 years, estimated costs of disposal, plus the amount of money already spent on storage fees.
“We’re hoping the customers will agree with what we’re trying to accomplish,” said Arlene Scutt, distribution facility specialist for warehousing for DLA. She noted that the assets identified for disposal are considered major end items — shelters, humvees, vans and cargo trailers.
The goal of the RIE was to reduce dormant stock and assets found on the installation by 25 percent. The team identified assets for disposal, resulting in a cost avoidance of $255,509.
“CECOM and DLA Disposition were immediately able to dispose of 7,699 square feet during the Lean event,” Appel said.
DLA uses supply condition codes to classify materiel in terms of readiness for issue and use, or to identify actions underway to change the status of materiel. When materiel is determined by DLA to be in excess of approved stock levels or no longer serviceable, it uses supply condition codes A (issuable to all customers without limitation or restriction) through H (not serviceable and to be destroyed) and S (not serviceable and to be scrapped) to reflect materiel condition prior to turn-in to DLA Disposition.
In addition, DEMIL codes are assigned to an item by the item manager when all military presence or function needs be removed from a system.
“It was great to see the partnership of the two agencies working hard to provide better support to the warfighter,” said Keith Weinschenk, lead process improvement specialist. “Problems were identified as a team and solved as a team.”
Tobyhanna Army Depot is DOD’s largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna’s missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.
About 3,500 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of CECOM. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the command’s mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.
For more information, go to http://www.tobyhanna.army.mil.