Fleet Management: Ducks In a Row Done Right
May 18, 2009
- Maj. Gen. Scott G. West, Commander, TACOM-LCMC and members of his staff visited Fort Leonard Wood.
- "As a Center of Excellence, it's our academic responsibility to share what we have learned with our professional colleagues
- to recognize the efforts which have produced the Army's finest example of the Fleet Management program.
Fort Leonard Wood, Mo (May 7, 2009) - Maj. Gen. Scott G. West, Commander, TACOM-LCMC and members of his staff visited Fort Leonard Wood, May 5, to recognize the efforts which have produced the Army's finest example of the Fleet Management program. "I was amazed by the sheer magnitude of the mission here - it's very impressive and people need to come here and see this," West said, "But, remember it's all just big cold bolts of steel without the people that maintain them, operate them, train on them and sometimes tear them up - everywhere I go it's always about the people."
Maj. Gen. Gregg Martin, Commanding General of Maneuver Support Center and Fort Leonard Wood agrees that while today's Army is moving from the industrial age to the information age - it's an individual's personal commitment to embrace the comprehensive approach to operations that will make an organization successful.
"As an Army, we're moving away from the traditional culture of command and control to a comprehensive approach that focuses on collaboration, coordination and cooperation," Martin said. "In this fast-paced, information age, we have to share our best practices and learn from one another by teaming with those who have learned to do things right to survive go from good to great."
Martin encourages commanders from other Training and Doctrine (TRADOC) Centers of Excellence to visit Fort Leonard Wood and see firsthand how Fleet Management is implemented.
"Through the initiative of several innovative people, we have cracked the code and figured out many best practices," Martin said. "As a Center of Excellence, it's our academic responsibility to share what we have learned with our professional colleagues."
An organization built to last begins with its people, said Fort Leonard Wood TACOM Support Operations Officer Warren Brabant, but it doesn't end there.
"We have unsung heroes in every section, both military and civilians working together to take care of our troops," Brabant said. "The bottom line is taking care of our soldiers - our job is to make sure the equipment is ready to roll even if it means working all weekend to get the job done."
A winning attitude combined with innovation gives this installation a technological advantage over most installations, Brabant said.
"We're not skittish about trying new ideas and encourage people to be creative," he said.
That's just what his section did when it came to rejuvenating batteries. We're using pulse technology that cleans the plates like new extending their life-cycle from two to six years with more than $3,000 in savings so far this year alone."
The fleet management service section also uses an Oil Cat, a machine that recycles engine oil and redistributes it back into the fuel tank to burn out as fuel, that's a cost savings of $15.00 per truck, and at an installation that supports more than 3,000 units, that's a significant savings when it comes to oil changes. The support section conducts maintenance for and manages an immaculate tool room with an electronic inventory of 855 tools, 375 hazmat products and 300 lifting devices and an arms room containing 21,000 weapons; but behind every success story, there remains a few struggles.
"It's no secret that we still need to upgrade equipment so the Soldiers are training on what's actually on the battlefield - what's at the CEHC now is RG31s, the Buffalo, MEERKAT, but what is on the battlefield now are newer versions," Brabant said. "We've also got several Large Area Maintenance Shelter (LAMS) that we're working out of until we can get new facilities constructed and we're looking at how to heat it during the winter which poses a real challenge for us."
Brabant also said that securing parts for the dry support bridge is difficult because the manufacturer is based in England.
"But their technology is good - during the various conflicts our allies were using the equipment and it performed in the harsh conditions found in Iraq and Afghanistan," Brabant said, "So we learned from what they had, and the Army adopted it as its own, the Soldiers found it easy to work with, so now all we need to do is get the parts."
A magnitude of cutbacks on several installations may have prohibited good organizations from becoming great organizations, but by doing the small things, those cost-saving initiatives have become money makers for Fort Leonard Wood, said Joe Brown, Director of logistics.
"Cooperation and communication are the key. We may not agree but we'll sit down at the table, discuss the situation, come to an understanding on ways to make it work," Brown said. "Because at the end of the day it's not about us (TACOM or DOL) (AMC or IMCOM), it's about ALL of us working together in taking care of our military, ensuring the product or services provided are the best - for the best".