Battle Creek, Michigan –
Defense Logistics Agency employees at sites across the country began testing a new way of doing business with the recent arrival of their Mobile Office equipment.
The Research and Development Mobile Office units are currently being piloted at 25 DLA Disposition Services field sites to test processes while using this new equipment. DLA Distribution is also participating in the Mobile Office pilot with five units. Kristy McNally, R&D project lead for DLA Disposition Services, said the units are designed to fit in a typically-used GSA leased or DLA-owned vehicle’s front passenger seat, back seat, or in the trunk area. The equipment could also be wheeled into a customer’s office space and placed on a flat surface such as a desk or tabletop. It features a platform to lock the laptop in place, an adjustable arm and a label printer that creates the standard labels attached to property being turned in by warfighters and a small paper printer.
Site Manager Raphael Berrios said all of the DLA Disposition Services personnel at Fort Benning,Georgia, used the Mobile Office equipment to ensure that they had access and that all systems were working properly. The Mobile Office relies on the use of a government-issued iPhone as a hot spot or a local Wi-Fi signal to access the networks needed.
“We had set aside one receipt in place document so that we could try it out while an information technology specialist was here to address any issues,” Berrios said. “There were no big issues and the Mobile Office worked.”
McNally said disposal service representatives equipped with a Mobile Office can use it to perform all of the tasks needed for receipt in place, including putting the items into the Distribution Standard System, which expedites the input of customer information and provides the customer a faster relief of property accountability. McNally said receiving items in place saves costs by not handling items as many times.
Berrios said the concept should save time and is a good tool for DSR’s in the field. Kelly Clabbers, a DSR testing the Mobile Office agrees and calls it “great technology” because it can go wherever she goes.
“Being able to take this out into the field has cut down on time, since we can verify and receive everything all at once instead of having to run back and forth from a computer in the office,” Clabbers said.
After a month of testing, Dennis Wengert, a DSR at the San Antonio, Texas, site agrees the units definitely save time. Recently he helped receive 18 vehicles at Camp Bullis, Texas, and avoided a lot of extra driving with the Mobile Office equipment.
“Before the Mobile Office, we would have to go to the site, look over all 18 vehicles, match all of the paperwork, make sure everything is correct, then go back to the office, do all of the inputs to get the vehicles onto DSS, generate all of the labels, then drive back out there to put the labels on the vehicles,” Wengert said.
Wengert had a chance to view the mobile office prototype at the DSR University training in Battle Creek, Michigan, so he knew what he was getting.
“It’s definitely a one-stop system, Wengert said.
Berrios hopes the final product resulting from the pilot testing will be even more portable and something that can be used at sites in the continental United States as well as abroad in the near future.
Adding to the gains occur from the Mobile Office is the new Reutilization/Transfer/Donation Photo App, a recently deployed R&D initiative that allows DSRs to use their government-issued iPhones to take property photos, capture descriptive data, and automatically upload it to the RTD web.
“The Mobile Office and the RTD Photo App become force multipliers that benefit DLA, its customers, and ultimately the taxpayers through the efficiencies gained,” McNally said.
Both the Mobile Office and RTD Photo App projects were made possible by utilizing DLA R&D Small Business Innovation Program.