IH employees get the bigger picture during DLA Distribution visit

By Janeen Hayes DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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Seeing the process of how repair parts go from contract award to the hands of the warfighter was the goal of a visit Sept. 15 to a local Defense Logistics Agency Distribution warehouse, a DLA Troop Support deputy director said.

“It allowed the (Industrial Hardware) personnel to see what happens to the parts once they are shipped from the contractor, how they are stored in different areas based on their movement and how complex the total operation really is,” Tina Piotrowski said.

Piotrowski accompanied more than 30 IH employees, made up of supply planners, resolution specialists, contract specialists and product specialists, on a walking tour of the DLA Distribution Susquehanna warehouse in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

“We buy a wide variety of nuts, bolts and fasteners that are stored at the depots,” Piotrowski said. “The tour allowed us to get a good visual on the size and magnitude of the whole depot operation from material receiving to packing and finally to shipping.”

Sherre Mitten-Bell, DLA Distribution Susquehanna public affairs officer who served as one of the tour guides, said that IH items are a large majority of material in the warehouse.

“Our fastest movers are the repair parts; the nuts and bolts,” she said.

Mitten-Bell led one of the groups around moving carts and forklifts hauling material around the warehouse, which she said is the size of approximately 30 football fields.

Tiffany Watkins, an IH resolution specialist, said she felt a sense of pride as she walked around the facility.

“What was heavily emphasized was, our mission is to support the warfighter and we are one unit,” Watkins said. “I left with a sense of relevance. To see it in motion and to know that I too played a part in those items on the shelves validates that what I do is pertinent and there are lives depending on me doing my part with precision and accuracy.”

The visit opened Watkins’ eyes to how all areas of DLA work together for a common goal.

“While I was there I had this image of a bicycle,” she said. “Each part of the bicycle has its own function and purpose. Each part, the handles, peddles, wheels and the chains are important, but when they work in tandem - now we have movement.”