Revised tracking system credited as Area I saves millions on supplies
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Changes in the way Area I tracks its supplies have saved millions of dollars and could serve as a model for other garrisons, officials said Wednesday.
At most garrisons, the public works department keeps track of its own sustainment, repair and maintenance supplies, said T.J. Welin, director of logistics.
In October 2005, Area I Commander Col. Rick Newton told the public works department to concentrate on its main focus — designing, building and maintaining buildings — while moving supply functions over to the logistics department, whose chief focus is tracking inventory.
“By us observing and knowing the supply system, we eliminate excess purchasing,” Welin said.
During fiscal 2005, Area I spent $5 million on sustainment, repair and maintenance supplies. In fiscal 2006, it spent about $3 million. And since fiscal 2007 began in October, Area I is running under budget on the supplies.
“We feel like it’s a pretty big success story,” Welin said.
Newton used the system change as an example of how Area I can remain relevant to other parts of the Army on the peninsula, despite the plans to return its land to the South Korean government and move its resources to Camp Humphreys by 2012.
Newton used a work order calling for 100 gallons of paint as an example. Under the old system, public works would order all of the paint, but might use only 90 gallons, he said.
When the next work order arrived, the public works department’s focus would be on completing the project, not on using the 10 gallons left over, Newton said. That paint typically would be put in storage and not taken into account when paint for another job would be needed.
Welin, who has nearly 30 years of experience as an active duty and civilian logistics specialist, now tracks that extra paint and other supplies. Logistics also records what has a shelf life and what is easily obtainable, which helps avoid storing excess goods, Welin said.
The logistics also acts as a line of defense against waste, Welin said.
For example, Welin says he received a request for 80 window air conditioning units this week.
“Most buildings we have now are using central air,” Welin said. “We looked at demand history and we challenged that requirement.”
The directors of logistics and public works must approve any purchase over $10,000, Welin added.