The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support recognized Medical’s Tara Perrien and Clothing and Textiles’ Hard Body Armor Testing Team through the its Fall Innovation Award program for their inventive problem solving abilities.
Perrien, a contract specialist, and C&T’s Body Armor Team, were recognized for their innovative solutions dealing with Medical/Surgical Distribution and Pricing Agreement files and Lot Acceptance Testing of Critical Safety Items respectively.
Launched in 2018, the Troop Support Innovation Award is designed to recognize employees who demonstrate innovative thinking and decision-making, along with well-reasoned risk assessment and management, to solve a work problem or improve a work process.
Perrien saw the opportunity to improve a work process by digitizing the Distribution and Pricing Team’s filing system.
“I knew about the Greening the Government initiatives, so I thought if we could convert the team over to e-filing, it would save a huge amount in printing, filing, supplies and associated time in doing so much busy work,” Perrien said.
Working with DLA’s Information Operations to find the proper drive space to securely post and store the files, she engaged and trained the DAPA team on the new filing system and did most of the physical transferring herself.
MaryAnn DiMeo, contracting chief, said Perrien’s project could not have come at a better time.
“This innovation paved the way for the DAPA Team to fully function during the sudden, prolonged telework necessitated by the COVID-19 response,” DiMeo said. “The DAPA Team owes much of its current full scale remote support capability to Ms. Perrien's innovative insight and efforts.”
The pandemic also influenced the Body Armor Testing Team, when COVID-19 distancing guidelines slowed down the mandatory testing of hard body armor used by military ground troops.
Prior to COVID-19, body armor components such as Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts and Enhanced Side Ballistics Inserts, procured by Troop Support received Lot Acceptance Testing at the Army's Aberdeen Test Center as part of the government acceptance process and Army regulations.
When pandemic restrictions reduced testing rates, the team, consisting of Angela Gonzalez, Margaret McCann, Carolyn Bullard, Michelle Falkowski and Jennifer Scarpello, went to work looking for solutions.
Since only the Army’s items were required by regulation to be tested at the ATC, the team worked on a new way to improve throughput, Mark Twardziak, Individual Equipment Team chief, said.
“They reached out to the Marines and Air Force and coordinated an acceptable LAT process that utilized National Institute for Justice certified ballistic laboratories in lieu of the ATC to perform the testing of ESAPI and ESBI,” Twardziak said.
Margaret McCann, customer account specialist, said with the body armor now shipping to and from multiple locations, customer coordination became essential.
“We developed a system of tracking every lot, delivery, and requisition released to confirm the plates were going to the correct service,” she said. “Our team coordinated via email, teleconferences, and shared drives with the services, depot representatives, and Army CAS team to track every shipment and release.”
Twardziak said because of the actions of the team, customers are receiving these Critical Safety Items on time without any quality assurance compromise.
“The slow down was negated, allowing the critically needed hard body armor to be tested and supplied at a pre-COVID-19 virus pandemic rate or even better for all military services,” he said.
Awardees will be formally recognized during the Troop Support Town Hall May 10.