Logistics team raises awareness on mission, committment to serve

U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville
Published May 18, 2015
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville Center's Logistics Management Office is responsible for managing more than 182,831 square feet of office space that houses 931 employees at five locations.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville Center's Logistics Management Office is responsible for managing more than 182,831 square feet of office space that houses 931 employees at five locations.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville Center's Logistics Management Office is responsible for managing more than 182,831 square feet of office space that houses 931 employees at five locations. Although quite a challenge at times, the team aims to provide seamless logistics support within the organization.

Part of the USACE Logistics Activity at Millington, Tennessee, Huntsville Center's LMO is responsible for three core programs: Facility Management and Preventive Maintenance Management, Command and Supply Discipline, Transportation and Fleet Management and Warehouse Management.

Fermin Feria, chief, Huntsville Center's Logistics Office, said he and his staff have one goal in mind, to provide optimal customer service. Feria has led the logistics group since 2011. He said he wants the workforce to know his staff and understand their functions in order to better serve the organization.

USACE has several regions and each region has several districts, each with a different mission. His team, part of the South Atlantic Division region in Atlanta, Georgia, provides support to Huntsville Center and the USACE Learning Center.

Although equal attention is given to each facet of the Logistics programs, Feria said his team has to address space management issues more than anything else. Christopher Robbins, facilities manager, leads the Center's Space Management and Preventive Maintenance Management Program.

Robbins’ duties include initiating an annual Space Utilization and Management assessment to make sure individual office space at the Center is allocated correctly according to an employee's rank, position and whether they are a supervisor. This can become a challenge when addressing any special safety requirements or disability concerns, Feria said.

The Logistics Team also provides oversight for overtime utilities, renovation and work order projects at the facility.

"This oversight includes making sure our elevators, dock areas and fire safety equipment is all in good working conditions and performing quarterly safety inspections,” Feria said. “Also, in our building lease we have a set amount of dollars for utilities for normal hours of operation. At certain times all power goes out and air conditioning is turned off in the building. So it's important that we know in advance when a team is working outside of normal work hours for a certain time frame."

Feria said the Command and Supply Discipline Program is the team’s most robust program and consists of property accountability, property inventory and hand receipt reconciliations. This program, managed by supply specialists Camille Hodge and Michael Trone, encompasses a property book value of more than $5.7 million, the second largest within South Atlantic Division and USACE.

"One of our toughest jobs has been to get a handle on all our assets,” Feria said. “We conduct 100 percent inventory, annually to help with this problem. Our success in this area is often guided by our supervisors and hand receipt holders assuming responsibility for these tasks. We want to avoid having to initiate a Financial Liability Investigation of Lost Property or Disposition of Equipment in the event we cannot locate an item on our property books or an item becomes obsolete, respectively." Trone said changing the mindset of an organization to stress the importance of property accountability is vital to success. The property management group communicates with hand-receipt holders on a daily basis to better assist customers with managing their assets.

"Camille and I have done a lot in regard to property accountability in the past year to make sure property sub-hand receipts are at the user level,” Trone said. “However, there is still a lot more work to do. It's extremely difficult to keep up with assets if you don't do smaller assessments along the way to make sure there is 100 percent accountability. Everyone has a role making this program successful."

Feria said facility maintenance and property accountability are not the only challenges the Logistics Team faces, they must also make sure the employee's transportation needs are met. Huntsville Center owns one vehicle and leases eight government vehicles through the General Services Administration's Government Lease Program.

"Christopher is our lead for this action,” Feria said. “We get the GSA vehicles based on our mission and vehicle utilization. USACE is now pushing a presidential mandate to utilize fuel efficient vehicles (hybrid, electric and flex fuel) so as the government fleet downsizes, conventional fuel vehicles will be replaced with alternative fuel counterparts. We currently have five flex-fuel vehicles in our fleet. We'll turn in these vehicles in order to gain 100 percent alternative-fueled fleet by 2016. The fleet vehicles cost an average of $50,000 per year so we want to continue to keep these costs low."

According to Feria, Huntsville Center employees must possess a valid state driver's license and have completed the U.S. Army's Driver Safety Course within five years in order to check out a government vehicle for use on local or temporary duty assignment travel.

"Employees should email requests for use of a government vehicle one week in advance,” Feria said. “We can advise them on the availability of vehicles and estimate their travel needs according to the size of their group and their destination. We are also developing an automated dispatch system to better serve employees in this area.”

Feria said ultimately he wants to raise awareness on the services. He needs the Huntsville workforce to help with this effort.

"We want to make sure everyone at Huntsville Center knows who we are and what we do here. Keep us in the loop when making logistic decisions. We (LMO) work together as team to serve our customers and provide the best possible customer service,” Feria said.