USASAC employee meets requisition challenge
August 3, 2012
NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. -- Faced with the daunting task of manually entering over 20,000 requisition items for a foreign military sales case for the Afghan National Army, one U.S. Army Security Assistance Command logistics management specialist knew there had to be a more efficient way to complete the job.
"I had to figure out a way to streamline the process," Ryan Gonder, who works for USASAC's CENTCOM Case Management Division at New Cumberland, Pa., said.
The FMS request for the ANA included over 3,000 different items that needed to be delivered to six depots across Afghanistan. According to Gonder, none of the items had a NSN, or National Stock Number, associated with them. Therefore, he relied on the Specialized Non-standard Acquisition Process, or SNAP, which is used to procure items that are no longer in the U.S. Army's inventory.
"By talking to the right people, I found someone who remembered doing this in the past," Gonder said. "The main reason for entering the items into the system, creating the requisitions, is that it creates an order that must be filled."
"Ryan was proactive and worked with the (USASAC) Process Management Office to find a way to process the requisitions as a batch versus doing them manually," Keith Schaffner, Gonder's supervisor and chief of the Central Case Management branch C for CENTCOM, said.
SNAP items are identified with information such as a CAGE (Commercial and Government Entity) Code, a part number, end item application and a description.
"This is unique to the SNAP process and it normally requires a manual input effort one requisition at a time," Gonder said. For items that already have a NSN associated to them, requisitions can be processed without the extra data input. "SNAP is usually the last option to requisition items."
"If Ryan hadn't figured out the automated process, he would have had to process the requisitions manually which would have required a significant amount of time, with the real possibility of errors," Schaffner said. "We could not afford the time or risk the errors because the parts were needed for an important Afghan program."
Gonder was hired in 2009 in a developmental position with USASAC, which is his first federal job. He said dealing with a country eight and half hours ahead, with rotating leadership and changing demands, presents a challenge. But he likes the diversity of his job.
"Normal things are easy to order and deliver," he said. "Sending things to Afghanistan… there's a little more to it." For example, if a particular route is closed the items being shipped must be stored securely until a resolution for delivery is found. In addition to dealing with the challenges that come with overseas deliveries, there's the added pressure of meeting the customer's expectations.
In the end, Gonder was able to coordinate a simplified effort to ensure a fleet of the vehicle's replacement and spare parts were shipped to Afghanistan within the case's delivery terms and on time. The effort did not go unnoticed: In March he was recognized during an employee recognition ceremony by USASAC commander Maj. Gen. Del Turner for his efforts and support in standing up the ANA.
"He's smart, enthusiastic and dedicated to supporting the Afghan program," Schaffner said. "I expect to see him rise quickly in the organization to a Central Case Management position and beyond."