BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
It takes a lot of supplies and many types of equipment to fight a pandemic. Recently, logistics data experts at the Defense Logistics Agency’s Logistics Information Services used their skills to help customers find materials they need to battle the COVID-19 virus.
Personnel at LIS assign and maintain National Stock Numbers that identify the millions of items in the Federal Catalog System. The NSNs allow a suite of applications that support federal and military customers to identify items and access detailed characteristics about each to help requestors pick the best items to fit the need or to locate a possible replacement for an unavailable item. Division Chief Daniel Jacobs said LIS personnel have also been asked to perform data analysis to solve complex logistics questions and issues for customers.
“Over the past week, several customers have requested emergency support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Jacobs said.
Cataloging employees responded to requests by analyzing, creating and maintaining NSNs for urgently needed supplies in support of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Items Supply Systems Analyst Christine Sineath said she dealt with included gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer, respiratory equipment, patient monitors, test kits and airway kits, plus other items needed to combat the global pandemic.
“These were all new items coming in to be assigned a new NSN,” she said. “These items were reviewed for input so that once the request was approved by the medical community, the numbers could be immediately assigned.
Sineath said all of the items she worked on were assigned NSNs within hours of the support request.
“I feel that it’s my job to promptly assign and work all actions to support the medical community, warfighter, medical personnel and the world as we fight this global war against COVID-19,” she said.
Among the items experts researched were some needed to help protect people risking their lives as they care for patients battling the pandemic.
Program Analyst Victoria Tibbs felt “proud and blessed” to catalog disposable coveralls that can help protect pandemic responders.
“I’m providing support for the safety of our country and helping to save lives,” Tibbs said. “I want to continue making a difference during this pandemic.”
Program Analyst Kristin Truex has supported operations for the USNS Comfort by updating vendor part numbers which aids in the procurement of maintenance parts under a DLA contract.
“While my twin sister is on the front lines taking care of patients as a nurse in a local hospital, I am truly honored to be contributing to the fight against COVID-19, for the warfighters and civilians,” Truex said.
LIS Logistics Data Integrity Branch Chief Nicole Berning said she was proud of the work the team did on new and existing items to handle such an important request.
“During these difficult times, it’s extremely rewarding to know DLA can provide essential data to help expedite getting the necessary supplies to those in need,” she said.
Jacobs said DLA employees’ quick responses during the pandemic can significantly reduce administrative lead times associated with acquiring potentially lifesaving supplies.