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  November 25, 2011

News

Consolidation streamlines household moves, saves money

By Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Military members and civilian Department of Defense (DoD) employees aren’t expected to notice it, but changes that start next year at U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) will help to make their household goods shipments more efficient and cost-effective.

TRANSCOM officials announced plans to consolidate 151 personal property shipping offices into 11 regional offices over a four-year period beginning in 2012.

The consolidation is expected to save millions of dollars over the next 10 years, said TRANSCOM Commander Gen. William M. Fraser III, and supports goals to boost the command’s effectiveness and efficiency.

The changes aim to eliminate redundancies within the household goods shipment process, officials said, reducing overall operating costs and providing standardized, more-efficient business practices.

Eleven new joint personal property shipping offices will handle behind-the-scenes household goods movement details such as booking shipments and commercial movers.

TRANSCOM officials will establish these offices at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Chelmsford, Mass.; Fort Belvoir, Va.; San Antonio; Jacksonville, Fla.; and San Diego. To manage moves outside the continental United States, joint offices will stand up at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Yokosuka, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; and Grafenwoehr, Germany.

However, because local personal property processing offices (PPPO) will continue to provide pre-move counseling services and inspect inbound and outbound shipments to verify quality customer service, the consolidation is expected to be transparent to customers and their Families, officials said.

Personal property shipping counselors and quality control inspectors will be focused on improving customer service and will still be available to assist with all your moving needs,” said Jim Teague, a transportation specialist at TRANSCOM’s strategy, policy, programs and logistics directorate.

The plan is based on an Air Force model, which has shown good results, Teague said.

Jane Schmidt, Fort McCoy Installation Transportation officer, said customers served through Fort McCoy will continue to coordinate their moves with the PPPO in Bloomington, Minn. The office can be reached at 952-837-3180.

“We want to keep customers informed this is happening,” Schmidt said. “It’s not expected to impact the direct contact they have with customer-service personnel.”

Automated moves processing through the new defense personal property system still will be available for military and civilian DoD employees, officials noted.

This system uses a “best value” approach to contracting with movers that focuses on quality of performance, Web-based scheduling and tracking of shipments, servicemember involvement throughout the moving process and a claims system that provides full replacement value for damaged household goods.

More than 90 percent of all household goods shipments now are booked through this system, with active-duty, reserve-component and civilian members taking advantage of its online self-counseling services, Fraser noted in written responses to the Senate Armed Services Committee before his July 21 confirmation hearing.

The system saved TRANSCOM about $153 million in personal property movement costs during fiscal 2011, he reported, noting its use of more competitive rates and best-value scoring.

Fraser vowed to continue improving business processes for household goods shipping and services.

During his first town hall meeting since taking command Oct. 14, Fraser called on his headquarters staff at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., to question processes within the command that have been “on autopilot rather than pulled from a collaborative environment.”

Fraser urged TRANSCOM’s people to be “solution-oriented” and contribute their own ideas to make the command operate more efficiently and effectively.

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