By Maj. Johnathan Kennedy, Mission and Installation Contracting Command-Fort CarsonFebruary 1, 2018
FORT CARSON, Colorado (Feb. 1, 2018) -- Mission and Installation Contracting Command-Fort Carson Soldiers and civilians recently spent a week classifying, assigning, recording milestone data and determining the baseline for the retention or disposition of 2,653 paperless contracting file cabinets.
This event was the follow-up to the fiscal 2017 paper contract rodeo and a critical step as the staff cleaned-up the official electronic contract system of record.
"The benefits of an operation like this are numerous," said Lt. Col. Thomas McFall, the 918th Contracting Battalion commander. "We were able to bond and grow as a team during the week while focused on a single mission, learn as an organization the proper data needed for our PCF cabinets, and simultaneously remove hundreds of cabinets from our active library and therefore from our contract management reports."
Planning for the PCF cleanup began in August 2017 with the requirement that the MICC would transition from the contract tactical operations center to PCF for contracting management and tracking beginning Oct. 1, 2017. PCF came online in 2011 and saw several incremental improvements to its capability and functionally over the years. Many of those changes were invisible to the MICC-Fort Carson workforce because PCF was viewed as only a document storage system. All of the meta-data needed for contract management and oversight were placed into CTOC. As the MICC-Fort Carson team experimented with some of the new contract management functionalities, a problem became clear. To fully leverage the new PCF tools, several thousand cabinets would need to be audited for the validity of current information, identify and fill in missing data, or clear obsolete or closed files.
To solve the problem the first step was to conduct an analysis. Maj. Brandon Chapman from the 671st Contracting Team and members from the 918th CBN worked together to produce a list of all fiscal 2017 and older cabinets in PCF. The final tally was 2,653 cabinets. McFall provided guidance on the PCF cleanup analysis that the process could only last a week and leverage most but not all of the staff in the office. The team came back with a course of action that required 20 of the 41 available office staff divided into 10 teams of two with a daily goal of 64 cabinets each. McFall approved the course of action, and the team got to work.
The next step was to create a set of instructions for members of the PCF cleanup teams. MICC-Fort Carson's PCF administrator, Sarah Mehlenbeck, and a team created instructions in a PowerPoint slide deck. The slides detailed what steps each team needed to take to complete the cleanup. Step one was to correctly assign an active MICC-Fort Carson contracting officer and contract specialist to each cabinet. Step two was to input the required milestone dates for the cabinet. Without the required milestones data points entered, PCF classifies cabinets as "unawarded," mixing them into contract actions that are actively in the acquisition process and distorting the resulting reports. The final step was proper cabinet disposition. PCF has two libraries for cabinets, active and retention. Contracts that are closed and requirements that are canceled should be properly stored in the retention library until their mandated retention date while active contracts remain in the active library.
A daily out-brief was provided to McFall to monitor the cleanup progress. As a whole, the teams were behind on their daily quota of 64 until the third day, when the team members began to master the cleanup tasks and pick-up speed. On the fifth day, all 2,653 cabinets were properly assigned with accurate milestone data and stored in the correct library. Of the 1,251 cabinets, or 47 percent, remained in the active library with 1,402, or 53 percent, going into the retention library.
The MICC-Fort Carson staff learned three important lessons from the PCF cleanup event. First, prior to the transition from CTOC to PCF, contract closeouts were not tracked to ensure that their cabinets made it to the retention library. This left large amounts of closed records in the active library distorting reports from PCF on awarded actions. Second, most of the MICC-Fort Carson workforce found the hands-on time of touching so many cabinets very helpful in their day-to-day work as it increased their PCF proficiency. Lastly, although the task seemed monumental during planning, once the teams were set loose to solve the problem, they found ways to accomplish the goal.
MICC-Fort Carson is a subordinate unit of the 418th Contracting Support Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas. It is made up of about 45 military and civilian members assigned to the contracting office and 918th CBN who are responsible for contracting good and services in support of Soldiers. In fiscal 2017, MICC-Fort Carson executed 589 contract actions valued at more than $77.5 million in support of its customers, including $64.5 million to small businesses. The contracting office also managed 8,324 Government Purchase Card Program transactions in fiscal 2017 valued at an additional $7.8 million.