NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. –
The Eastern Distribution Center at the Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, location continues to see progress with ongoing modernization efforts.
“As those efforts continue, there is unyielding focus on continuity, safety, quality and timeliness,” said Timothy Kosky, DDSP EDC modernization program manager. “With respect to operations within the EDC, project momentum and ongoing changes continue on a daily basis. We are managing existing processes with no impact or delays to the warfighter mission.”
In the realm of physical changes to the EDC warehouse itself, the demolition and clearance of the mezzanine area has wrapped up and further construction is beginning.
This work includes general construction and electrical work as an additional conveyor and more equipment is installed. Other features include the addition of a breakroom and restroom, as well as a printer and computer room with additional offices. “We are also improving the trash room by adding a compactor enclosure and an additional compactor,” said Kosky. “These additions to the mezzanine area allow for both safe and essential accommodation of employee needs and spaces.”
Elsewhere in the EDC, the process of installing updated equipment has begun as well. Equipment deliveries are taking place on a recurring basis and installation of delivered equipment is underway. New conveyor and updated machinery will allow for a smooth materiel flow and standardized repair and maintenance process to improve operational uptime.
“Most currently, the parcel unloading dock for mission and CCP, the tote-to-fill workstations and a multi shuttle are being installed. Receiving conveyor and bridges are being laid out on the mezzanine. Beyond creating a more efficient receiving throughput process, these changes will also reduce the overall footprint of the process which will allow for better space and storage utilization,” said Kosky.
By centralizing the receiving area and installing a multi-tiered buffer system to replace the single pallet high parcel receiving dock floor, the receiving operation will become more fluid and more reliable as material enters the warehouse.
According to Kosky there is minimal to no impact to EDC workflow while updates are ongoing.
“We worked closely with the contractor and the EDC leadership to develop some work arounds to minimize the impact to mission and the functionality for the employees. One example is that we were able to move all receiving operations off the mezzanine to the floor to allow the contractor a free workspace on the mezzanine. This minimized interaction between contractor and employee as well as made it a safer work environment.”
So far, Kosky has received positive feedback from employees. “They are excited to see the changes and are looking forward to the new equipment and processes. They understand that the new equipment is coming in to assist them in their work performance. The benefits to the employees include more ergonomic equipment and performance processes, more simple transaction processes with the new software system and a goods to person system at workstations vice employees traveling to multiple locations.”
Additional progress is being made on software systems infrastructure and network management. Mock workstations are being set up to ensure the end-solution workstations meet throughput, operational and employee needs. This work will directly benefit all users as the level of automation involved will protect against workplace injury, as well as minimize human error.
“Organizational change management continues to help facilitate those areas most important to the workforce,” said Kosky. “We will continue to communicate our efforts, develop a training curriculum, and provide job aids to assist in day-to-day tasks with the new equipment. We are collaborating with Distribution Headquarters to ensure a people-first approach and ensure our employees are prepared to work in the modernized environment.”
According to Kosky, the first go live phase for the entire receiving area is currently slated for March 2023 for a full go live. “We will be doing virtual and real time tests before leading up to the actual go live. The next phase will be the sortation system and expect that to go live early summer of 2023.”
Kosky expects the delivery of new cranes for the high-rise area this summer with testing and implementation shortly after. The high-rise will be done in multiple phases over the next three years. The timeline for the later phases is still to be determined.