More than 100 U.S. Coast Guard recruits received initial issue uniform items under the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support’s new item management process Nov. 2 at USCG Training Center Cape May, New Jersey.
Operational dress uniforms, t-shirts and socks were among the items DLA Troop Support’s Clothing and Textiles supply chain helped transition from the previous issuance and manual restocking process, said Patricia Sanborn-Hunt, customer account specialist for C&T’s Marine Corps and Coast Guard recruit cell.
For nearly two years, C&T facilitated the transition of 1,200 national stock number-listed items from USCG to DLA ownership, in addition to aiding with infrastructure updates to improve the issuance process, said Cynthia Merceron, supervisor of C&T’s Marine Corps and Coast Guard recruit cell.
“There were so many moving parts and conversations taking place to make this happen,” Merceron said. “It was very labor intensive, but everyone was so collaborative in making sure this was a success.”
Merceron and her team collaborated with other divisions within C&T, the Construction and Equipment supply chain, DLA Distribution, DLA Information Operations, DLA Logistics Operations, DLA Human Resources, and other stakeholders to ensure equipment and processes were in place to support a smooth transition. They also developed an inter-agency agreement between DLA and the Coast Guard.
The improved inventory model aligns with the support DLA currently provides to the Department of Defense military services’ recruit training centers, Sanborn-Hunt said. This includes radio frequency identification tagging on items and scanners at the training center to reduce issuance time and improve stock accountability for improved demand planning.
“It was much more manual when they owned their own inventory,” Sanborn-Hunt said. “With all the other RTCs we can see what they have on-hand, and it will be a lot more accurate for our people when capturing demand.”
“It gives us the ability to see their demand, which gives us the ability to better support them in the future because we know how much to buy and when the spikes are going to happen,” Merceron said.
C&T anticipates the Coast Guard will issue items to approximately 350-400 new recruits a month, and process 4,000 recruits in 2022, Sanborn-Hunt said. A technical support specialist and quality assurance evaluator will also be on-site as DLA touchpoints.
Some challenges C&T overcame to ensure a successful transition included resolving IT issues and differences in Coast Guard and Homeland Security processes.
“We’ve had obstacles, but we’ve been able to overcome a lot of them,” Merceron said. “Everything is getting done and accomplished, and that speaks greatly to the efforts of everybody … working to make this happen and do whatever it takes to get this to come to fruition.”
Sanborn-Hunt has worked with the Coast Guard as a customer account specialist since 2006 and counts the transition as a big accomplishment. This is also the first time C&T stood up recruit training center support “from the ground up” in nearly 20 years, Merceron said.
Merceron, Sanborn-Hunt, and other C&T and DLA stakeholders were also on-site at Training Center Cape May the week of Nov. 1 to ensure successful execution of process components, C&T Director of Customer Operations Bruce Carson said.
“Experts from each field are remaining on-site for the next several days to assure operation flow continues properly and to address any concerns,” Carson said. “While it was only day one, and some first day obstacles were overcome, yesterday’s event was the result of good planning and teamwork. We will continue with full focus in the ensuing days.”