One of Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services largest sites converted to the new Warehouse Management System in July.
After two weeks of formal training, the Columbus site began receiving property with WMS under the supervision of their instructors.
“WMS will impact the Columbus field site in the way they think about their roles, and how they accomplish their tasks,” said Liberty Moore, a member of the Business Modernization Branch in Battle Creek, Michigan – which is responsible for the transition. “With the new hardware that is also being deployed, we are getting away from being tied to a desk to complete inputs and do picks.”
Though WMS is new, the system changes are nothing new for the select members of the site who were a part of the organization when the Distribution Standard System replaced the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Automated Information System.
DLA Disposition Services – known then as the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Services – first deployed DAISY in 1993. Prior to DAISY, all inventory documentation was kept on paper and completed using punch machines with a mainframe. It was also during this time that the agency began implementing day-to-day computer and email use for its employees.
Clevis Towns, the wage lead for the Building 44 team in Columbus, is an example of someone who remembers DAISY and its deployment. Towns was working in the same building then, which was at that time used for long-term storage.
“[DAISY’s deployment] was pretty similar,” Towns said. “[WMS] is definitely more complex, [but]… I think that most people, when they get used to it, will be fine. Of course, when you first start it, you have pros and cons… It’s like anything else, you get familiar with it, you get comfortable with it, [then] it just comes naturally.”
Stephen Douglas, a Columbus materials examiner and identifier , commented that “with WMS, we have much more accountability. That also means we have many more steps, variables, as well as procedures. It will take time to adjust and familiarize ourselves with these changes [in order] for us to reach peak efficiency.
“All things considered, I appreciate many of the changes that WMS brings. It forces communication, while holding individuals responsible for their work, [which] allows supervisors to recognize areas of growth and maximize the effectiveness of their teams.”
The training for the new system, especially having the instructors on-site, has proven to be helpful for the Columbus team as they begin using WMS full-time.
“Having the instructors here, boots on ground, for Go-Live Week was very beneficial,” Brian DeCarlo said, the Wage Supervisor responsible for Building 44. “They were very engaged and took the time to explain the processes and how we perform them.”
DeCarlo went on to compliment the ability of the instructors to communicate effectively with the staff, stressing the importance of easing the transition for the longer-tenured employees.
He also said that learning the system is an ongoing process, but a challenge he and his team will overcome together.
“[WMS] forces more and efficient communication,” said DeCarlo. “The key to success is communication. It has forced us to work together as a team.”
DLA is continuing the implementation of WMS across the Disposition Services and Distribution sites around the world. The transition is expected to be completed in fiscal year 2025.