by Captain Darrell Duckworth and La Marcus Keels
Facility upgrades at the 565th Quartermaster Company Main Warehouse at Fort Hood, Texas, have turned the corps storage site into a first-class operation.
The 565th Quartermaster Company's Main Warehouse at Fort Hood, Texas, is the largest class IX (repair parts) facility in the Army. Its mission is to receive, store, and issue class IX repair parts to 15 direct-support division and nondivision customers (supply support activities) and to ship interpost referrals to Fort Carson, Colorado. The 565th Quartermaster Company is an element of the 544th Maintenance Battalion, 64th Corps Support Group, 13th Corps Support Command, III Corps. One of the Army's nonstockage list activities, the 565th's Main Warehouse has over 16,000 bins, and its stocks on hand are valued at over $70 million. The facility processes over 11,000 materiel release orders (MRO's) and receives over 1,700 lines of class IX monthly. All of this activity might prompt one to ask, "How do they do it?"
The 565th's high productivity rate is attributable to many facility upgrades that have occurred over the past year and a half. Until October 1996, more than 50 percent of the serviceable bulk items were stored outside in Yard 24, which is a bulk storage area for serviceable and unserviceable parts. These parts were subjected to rain, wind, and sun, and, in some cases, they lost their serviceability. In October 1996, V warehouse was completed and equipped with the Unicor stacking system, which meant that approximately 200 bulk items could be stored under cover. Construction of V warehouse was the beginning of many facility upgrades that would increase the soldiers' productivity and efficiency, thus saving III Corps time and money.
|Until October 1996, more than half of the serviceable bulk items at the 565th's Main Warehouse were stored outside.|
The second upgrade was the tearing down of a temporary clamshell structure in preparation for two new warehouses, one to be built by the 62d Engineer Company and the other by contractors. R and T warehouses were completed in April 1997 and equipped with state-of-the-art Stanley Vidmar stacking systems. Each warehouse has 1,000 bins under cover that can accommodate 95 percent of the 565th's bulk serviceable items.
Unfortunately, the offices in the warehouses in Yard 24 are not equipped with water, heating, air conditioning, or fixed latrines. To alleviate some of the discomfort of the summer months, the 565th, along with the 544th Maintenance Battalion, contracted with Ozarka Water Company to provide bottled water for the soldiers who receive, store, and issue repair parts in Yard 24.
Other major system upgrades include the installation of conveyors in the receiving section and the addition of tables that were custom built by the unit's repair and upgrade section. The receiving section now can receive multipack boxes faster and more efficiently. Instead of laying the parts on the floor, the soldiers can place them on a table in front of their workstations while they enter the appropriate identifying information into the Standard Army Retail Supply System-Objective (SARSS-O). Then they can place the parts on the conveyors and send them to their respective warehouse put-away boxes.
A huge automation upgrade occurred in March 1997 when the 565th acquired four high-speed Intermec 4400 printers. These printers are much faster than the Lowery printers that were fielded with SARSS-O. The 565th can print MRO's and receipt parts much faster with the new printers.
The 565th provides a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week operation and on-call services on weekends and holidays. In the stock control section, which is the "heartbeat" of the mission, seven soldiers work three shifts to provide 24-hour services. Additionally, the receiving section is divided into two shifts that provide customer service until 2200.
To make up for personnel shortages, the 565th employs 30 civilian employees from two contractors. The Raytheon civilians, known by their red hats, pull and ship referrals. With their help, the warehouse has reduced its order and ship time (OST) from 14 days to 4 days. The 565th soldiers and the "red hats" run an interpost referral program with Fort Carson, which, in a 7-week period (July and August 1997), showed a daily cost avoidance of $31,000 for III Corps. Physically Challenged Services, Inc. (PCSI), is contracted to pull excess MRO's and assist with location surveys and inventories. PCSI personnel have helped reorganize the unserviceable yard, properly label and ship hazardous and radioactive parts, and identify repairable parts that have been labeled prematurely for shipment to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO).
The volume of receipts and daily transactions processed by the 565th strains the SARSS-O hardware. The tower, which holds the stock record account and communicates with the four corps materiel management centers (CMMC's) through a modem, runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Certain processes, such as closeouts and account balance file updates, can take from 4 to 8 hours, depending on the quantity of information that must be passed to the 4th CMMC. On 3 October 1997, the 565th acquired a new Pentium tower from the 13th Corps Support Command Combat Service Support Automation Management Office. Since then, there have been drastic improvements in the time it takes to run various processes. A closeout that took 4½ hours on the old tower takes 1½ hours on the Pentium tower. With the new tower, the 565th can provide better customer support, because the workstations that are used to receive customer turn-ins are not tied up nearly as long as in the past, leaving soldiers more time to research and process customer turn-ins.
III Corps Benefits
The III Corps commander, Lieutenant General Thomas A. Schwartz, knows how important the 565th Quartermaster Company is to the Corps cost avoidance mission and its war on excess. The first three quarters of Fiscal Year 1997 resulted in a $113.83 million cost avoidance for Fort Hood and III Corps. The extra money was used to remodel gymnasiums, barracks, and motorpools and for many post beautification projects. At the same time, the company paid out $170. million in credits and returned over $95 million to the wholesale system. These accomplishments caused General Schwartz to commit to some short- and long-term facility upgrades at the 565th Main Warehouse. These facility upgrades will mean better customer support in a more efficient work environment.
Phase I of the short-term improvements will cost approximately $200,000 and include stadium lighting for Yard 24 so bulk items can be received after dark. Yard 25 will be paved, and a fixed latrine and utilities will be installed.
Phase II will cost approximately $400,000. Overhead bay doors, ventilation
fans, and louvers will be installed in the warehouses of Yard 24, and the
remaining three sides of Building 4924 will be enclosed to protect
The 565th Main Warehouse has over 16,000 bins, and its stocks on hand are valued at over $70 million. Facility upgrades over the last 3 years have allowed serviceable stocks to be moved indoors at the bulk storage area, preventing parts from losing their serviceability.
serviceable parts from wind and rain. Phase III of the short-term improvements will cost approximately $200,000 and involve replacing the walls of existing warehouses and installing new roofs.
The long-term improvements will replace the existing wooden building with a new facility for receiving, shipping, and additional storage. This modern 32,000-square-foot warehouse will cost approximately $4.5 million.
Soldier incentive programs in the 565th Quartermaster Company include recognition for best warehouse, best warehouse person, and many other simple performance and morale boosters. Water coolers have been placed throughout the warehouses and bulk storage yard. The unit is buying lower-back support belts for soldiers who must lift heavy cartons and equipment. The battalion also has provided the unit with many pride and safety signs to hang throughout the warehouses. Other internal warehouse improvements include a customer vehicle waiting area and flexible working hours to accommodate customers more easily.
There is now more lighting and space throughout the warehouses, so the company can make better use of its storage space. The storage area has been reorganized and now has alphabetical warehouses that provide a logical flow of parts in and out of the facility, and special sections for hazardous materials, sensitive items, and unidentifiable items. The unidentifiable section has returned over $600,000 worth of parts to the supply system.
The warehouse also has incorporated a reparable exchange program into its operation. Parts such as circuit cards and line-replaceable units are repaired and returned to the supply system at Fort Hood as opposed to being passed to the DRMO or the wholesale system. This resulted in another cost avoidance for the corps. The warehouse goal is to print, pull, package, and ship every referral the same day. The 565th has made this goal a reality.
The shipping section now has signs that identify customer pickup lanes and also has incorporated the Fedex Powership interpost referral program. This program saved over $1 million for the corps in its first 3 weeks of operation. The bulk storage area (Yard 24) continues to move serviceable stocks under cover to prevent parts from losing their serviceability. The unit is looking at inexpensive new walls for other areas located in Yard 24 to provide a better working atmosphere for their soldiers.
After an extensive rewarehousing and reengineering effort, the 565th
Quartermaster Company has turned the corps storage site into a first-class
operation. The company has mastered the basic fundamentals of supply and
has taken it to another level. The 565th takes great pride in being the largest
class IX facility in the world operated by soldiers who "Support the Force."
Captain Darrell Duckworth commands the 565th Quartermaster Company, Fort Hood, Texas. He has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Mississippi Valley State University and has attended the Chemical Officer Basic and Quartermaster Officer Advanced Courses and the Combined Arms and Services Staff School.
La Marcus Keels is a manufacturing supervisor with the Powertrain Division of General Motors Corporation in Warren, Michigan. When he co-authored this article, he was the accountable officer of the 565th Quartermaster Company Main Warehouse, Fort Hood, Texas. He has a bachelor's degree in systems engineering from the U.S. Military Academy.