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News | Jan. 27, 2022

DLA Distribution Susquehanna's Special Commodities Branch wins DLA’s Team Performance of the Year Award-Medium Team

By DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, Special Commodities Branch wins DLA’s Team Performance of the Year Award, in the Medium Team category.

Within this dedicated group of 42 employees, over 530 years of practical floor experience and high levels of technical expertise combine to drive and shape the day-to-day operation of cold chain management for DDSP. 

The Special Commodities Branch is responsible for the process of preparing temperature-sensitive medical products for shipment utilizing standardized systems and procedures, ensuring that required temperatures are maintained throughout the supply chain, and validating that those conditions are met during all phases of distribution until delivery. Their efforts ensured all cold chain related material-requiring freezing was chilled at proper temperature to prevent freezing and other items are stored properly and readily available for shipment. 

The team worked to ensure the rapid movement of material requisition orders for cold chain management products from receipt thru shipment. In addition, the team provided data and production reports, which are critical for identifying gaps in production and/or processes, allowing leadership of all echelons within and across organizational boundaries to take prudent measures in mitigating operational risk and meeting performance expectations of customers.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, this team played a pivotal role in the agencies support of humanitarian efforts for COVID-19. They distinguished themselves displaying the highest standards of excellence in their duties throughout the pandemic, exhibiting traits desired in all federal employees: a selfless devotion to the mission, warfighter and American citizens, ability to set priorities and establish and/or achieve objectives and remain resourceful. The ability to process the various types of medical material requires tremendous knowledge and an incredible skillset.

The team met mission critical goals and provided lifesaving supplies with an unsurpassed level of accuracy. In addition to processing flu vaccine, the organization was called upon to support COVID-19 relief efforts. Their efforts ensured all COVID-19 cold chain items e.g., masks, gloves, gowns, face shields and other personnel protective equipment were shipped to hospitals, health centers, clinics and other organizations working to fight and treat COVID-19 in a timely manner. Their efforts are directly responsible for the processing of approximately 91 National Stock Numbers for COVID-19 items and one vaccine. What started off with several different medical items turned into 117 different NSNs. It has taken everyone and their willingness to make sure every piece of material coming through for cold chain, to include COVID-19 material, is accurate and serviceable before receipt, packaging and outbound shipment.

The team’s ability to manage multiple challenging tasks supported DLA’s mission ensuring critical medical supplies and equipment reached front line health care workers and areas with limited supplies where resources were urgently needed in support of Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 support. In conjunction to supporting COVID-19 relief, the team continued to provide superb service to customers processing 2,473 shipments, equating to 4,202 separate shipping containers consisting of 3,225,890 doses of flu vaccine. In addition, the team managed the use of 26 RKN’s (temperature-controlled shipping units) and 36 refrigerated trucks to complete shipments in a timely and cost-efficient manner. The team processed receipts and issues of life saving medical supplies shipped around the world. The team collectively receipted various types of hand sanitizers, thermometers, COVID test kits, gloves, face shields, N-95 masks, surgical masks, cotton masks, swabs and many other lifesaving medical items used for COVID-19 testing and care. The orders contain a combination of hazardous material, refrigerated material and general cargo. A sum of 2,261,070-line items received, and 876,233 -line items packaged and shipped.

Overall, the members that comprise DDSP’s COVID-19 support team are as tactically and technically proficient as they come. Their floor experience coupled with their technical expertise has created a work group that is flexible and easily adaptable to support any issue or project occurring in the mission direct areas. As a result of their efforts our partners continue to request support for new missions/projects providing an opportunity to build a stronger organization more prepared and resilient in COVID-19 relief efforts and customer support.