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News | July 12, 2019

International Students visit DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania

By Cory Angell, DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Seventeen international students with the International Officers Supply Course taught by the U.S. Navy in Newport, Rhode Island, participated in a tour of DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, July 10. 

Students from twelve different countries participated; Brazil, Bulgaria, Greece, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

“This is the first stop along a three-week journey that takes the students from here to Gettysburg, Washington D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Jared Deiter, an instructor at IOSC. “All of the locations have something to help educate the students in supply.”

U.S. Navy Lt. AJ Stone, Inventory Action Team Operations Officer, provided a tour of the Eastern Distribution Center - the largest distribution warehouse in the U.S. Department of Defense.

“This warehouse is the size of 30 football fields; well … American football fields,” clarified Stone to the foreign students, eliciting a round of laughter. “But it’s not just this building — we have 51 other buildings all feeding material through this building. We have about 600 trucks weekly coming and going as material is moved.”

Stone took the officers to the active items “walk and pick” work areas where workers pick, pack, and convey fast-moving stock items for rapid shipping from the outbound area, and then to the Air Lines of Communication where 463L air pallets are built for forward movement and then air delivery. Students looked on as Jesus Gonzalez, a packer for DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, prepared a 463L pallet to ship.

“These pallets are standardized pallets for air movement of cargo,” said Stone. “The platform it is sitting on can drop 6 feet down with the pallet or raise up. One person can pack a pallet.”

Stone explained the intricacies of several commercial and government logistics loops that converge at the receiving dock doors and the flow in and out of the Eastern Distribution Center. He then took the group on the final spot of the tour.

“These are the high rise racks and bins,” said Stone. “This area houses over 300 thousand stock locations managed by distribution process workers who conduct simultaneous location pick, pack, and put away actions.”

Here the workers ride up and down in hybrid elevating cranes between storage racks that go stories into the air.  It’s an expansive area where workers fly themselves to storage bins to pick parts for shipment. Stone said the racks are 260 feet deep and 62 feet high with 70,000 locations. The bins are 190 feet deep and 62 fee high with 242,000 locations.

“This is just a huge achievement,” said Kuwait Army 1st Lt. Fares-B Al-Bahairi. “We could only wish we had something half this size in my country. We were also very impressed when the lieutenant talked about the ongoing automation where you will start doing some things like Amazon does.”

“This has been a good visit for these foreign students because they get to see what we teach in motion,” said Deiter. “Sixty percent of the process happens right in front of them order it, bring it in, store it, pick it, ship it.”