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News | Aug. 8, 2016

Distribution San Joaquin partners with DLA Warfighter Support Representatives to improve support to the Pacific

By Annette Silva DLA Distribution Public Affairs

A key factor in the success of any organization is communication. DLA Distribution San Joaquin, Calif., understands this concept which is why it is partnering with Warfighter Support Representatives throughout DLA Pacific Command through the DLA Pacific Workforce Integration program. 

Because WSRs are the first DLA employees that customers seek information from with regard to items handled at San Joaquin, the program was created to facilitate two-way communication and help both the distribution center and WSRs to understand the concepts and terminology used between both groups. 

The program also gives the WSRs the ability to educate customers about DLA’s business practices, operations, process workflow, partnering opportunities and accountability metrics within DLA Distribution San Joaquin’s Consolidation and Containerization Point, the strategic distribution platform that distributes materiel to the U.S. Pacific Command Area of Responsibility. 

The benefits go hand-in-hand to create a harmonious partnership. WSRs can build relationships with key contacts and have the ability to witness the processes used by the CCP and San Joaquin’s comprehensive efforts to outperform established productivity and response metrics to meet any emerging need of its customer base.

Conversely, WSRs can provide San Joaquin actionable intel regarding shipment delays, warfighter receipt challenges, frustrated freight reconciliation and research, and materiel projections related to exercise, training, contingency or crisis response events.

DLA Distribution San Joaquin also benefits by cultivating a positive working relationship with DLA Pacific contacts and learning more about the customers they serve.  Receiving direct feedback allows the CCP to adjust its business practices to better meet the needs of the Warfighter.   

Matt Gomez, DLA Distribution San Joaquin acting distribution group chief, said the program is “a great opportunity to find ways for San Joaquin to improve our customer support, decrease the length of time it takes for materiel to get to the customer, and strengthen the relationship between our team and those that serve at the tip of the spear.”

A pilot program was initiated in September 2015 with Craig Bond, a WSR from Alaska, who served as the first to test out the concept and determine if the itinerary and length of time allowed WSRs to get the most from the program. 

The pilot was a success, leading to the first wave of WSRs to participate in the program in June 2016 with Robert “Bob” Sherrill representing Alaska and Darryl Hicks representing Hawaii.  Both were engaged in a week-long training evolution with the Distribution Group team at San Joaquin. The training consisted of a command overview, mission tour, systems and databases overview, and time in the CCP area.

Another highlight for the men was the ability to travel to Travis Air Force Base to visit the 60th Aerial Port Squadron, responsible for transporting materiel by air from DLA Distribution’s CCP. There, the WSRs met with Air Force Lt. Col. Peter Abercrombie, 60APS commander, and John “Buck” Buchanan, 60APS operations officer.  During the visit, the group observed the operations first-hand and witnessed the dynamic relationship between the 60APS and Distribution San Joaquin and how it enhances collective efforts to expedite high-priority requirements for the Warfighter. 

According to Hicks, the week at San Joaquin was very beneficial. "DLA Pacific's integral partnership with DLA Distribution San Joaquin is a force multiplier for our WSRs/liaison officers and the distribution center. This training and orientation is a must for every representative who directly serves the customer, which meets the [DLA] Director's vision of ‘Warfighter First,’” he concluded.

Sherrill recognized the benefit of working with the CCP team and using his unique knowledge of customer information to help identify intended recipients of frustrated cargo.

"In our short time in frustrated cargo area, we were able to identify over 48 boxes of materiel and found the final destination customer through contract research, knowledge of the Pacific region, location and service identification codes,” said Sherrill.  “We saved the customer over $200,000 in potential costs of assets and transportation control numbers identified.”

The goal is for every WSR to take advantage of the integrated training as understanding the processes associated with the CCP and strengthening the lines of communication with team San Joaquin will result in faster delivery times, proactive planning, and flexible responsiveness to support the Warfighter.