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News | Feb. 5, 2020

DLA Distribution Red River’s Paul and Roper team up for suggestion award program and win

By DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Nearly a year and a half ago, Nicholas Paul and Ben Roper, employees with Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Red River, Texas, submitted a suggestion for an improved way to bundle and ship Army vehicle replacement shoe track. 

According to the duo, their suggestion will save time, money, space and manpower. They have since learned that their suggestion was accepted, earning them an award.

Paul started working at DLA in Preservation, Packaging, Packing and Marking section as a preservation servicer in August 2015. His present job title is preservation servicer leader. Before that, he worked as a contractor on the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command side of the Red River, Texas, depot.

“Currently I am on swing shift and Ben is on day shift,” Paul explained, “But at the time the suggestion was submitted we were both on days. I was bundling track and Ben was dipping track.”

“We came up with the idea by looking at the different ways that various track is bundled and noticing that the dunnage was much more complex for 9199 than for other track and then began to notice other things such as potential man hours saved here and in the box shop, floor space saved, etc.”

Working together, they realized how bundling 9119 vehicle replacement shoe track could be simplified resulting in time and cost savings. They noticed that 9199 track is currently bundled in accordance with a special packaging instruction that requires one piece of packaging material for each slab (eight shoes) of track, and 16 shoes are banded together to make a bundle. Each bundle requires seven pieces of banding and two bundles (32 shoes) are on each pallet. The suggestion is to bundle 9199 track similar to 4444 track, a structurally similar form of track that uses only one piece of packaging material for every four slabs of track, resulting in 32 shoes per bundle and 64 shoes per pallet.

They believe their suggested revision will result in substantial savings in both man hours and funds for DLA DDRT and the end customer, as well as improving overall efficiency. 

The partners maintain their suggestion will reduce the amount of packaging used to bundle 9199 track by 75% and will double the amount of bundled track that is on each pallet, from 32 shoes currently to 64 shoes, resulting in reduced cost of buying new pallets for this purpose, and will reduce the amount of floor space used by 9199 in the warehouse by 50%.

According to their DLA suggestion packet write up, “the man hours required to bundle the track for preservation will be reduced by approximately half when measured per shoe, as it takes roughly the same amount of time to bundle 16 shoes of 9199 using the current special packaging instructions as it will to bundle 32 shoes using the requested change. The man hours for preserving the 9199 track in 595 Zone 6 will also be cut in half, as twice as many shoes will be dipped in each bundle. It will also reduce the amount of space taken on the trailer in transport locally by 50%, allowing DLA DDRT to operate more efficiently. Man hours and material costs will be significantly reduced in the box and crate shop, as the current 9199 packaging is complex and uses more material than the suggested alternative packaging.

“The suggested method will free up box and crate employees to work on other pressing orders,” was stated in the suggestion form packet.

“We sent the idea to our immediate chain and the deputy initially,” said Paul, “After we realized how much potential there was for time and cost savings.”

According to their supervisor, Danny Robertson, the two are constantly looking for ways to improve the process. “I was not surprised when these two gentlemen were approved for this award; they are always looking for better and safer ways to do our work here in PPP&M. They have always come up with great ideas on how to process the many items we do here in 595 South. I am extremely proud of these two employees, and congratulate them on an award that is well deserved!”