KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- The relationship between the 409th Contracting Support Brigade contracting offices and their customers represent a link that affects the successful completion of Army missions in Europe.

"We are a customer-focused organization and we measure our success on customer satisfaction," said Col. William Bailey, commander, 409th CSB. "The 409th CSB is here to provide effective contracting support, and we will not fail."

According to Bailey, the 409th CSB supports a large part of Army contracting in Europe and places value on supporting customers and ensuring their needs are met.

"Our customers rely on our responsiveness and effectiveness to get the best supply or service for their buck," said Ulli Powell, contracting officer, 409th CSB Theater Contracting Center. "We support many military missions and if we don't provide the best customer service for them and work hand--inhand with them, it could affect their missions and their well-being."

The organizational relationships the 409th develops are critical to mission success.

"I believe it is imperative to have a good working relationship with our contracting office and the people that support us and I believe we have this type of relationship (with the 409th)," said Valerie Daniel, Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

For the contracting team, the job does not end when a contract has been awarded. A tremendous amount of work goes into the follow up and maintenance of those contracts with management of some larger-scale theater contracts spanning years.

"I follow up with the requiring activity to ensure that the contract is running smoothly," Powell said. "If it doesn't, I ask why and get involved. I am 110 percent involved in everything that is going on."

Contract management often requires the contracting officers to make site visits to their customers and reach out to contractors and vendors.

"Contracting plays a vital role due to our location overseas, said Maj. Roger Rodriquez, chaplain resource manager, U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart. "Regional Contracting Office Stuttgart has personally made two office visits, and they were very helpful and informative."

Other customers agree.

"Our contracting officer has been key in making this contract work and put in long hours, went above and beyond to make the customer happy and work with us every step of the way," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Matthew Hurd, U.S. Africa Command Personnel Support Detachment.

Both customers and contracting officers believe good communication and working relationships are integral to the success.

"Certainly meeting customer expectations is key. However, I also believe the key to customer satisfaction is customer education combined with open and constant communication," said Daniel Jaques, 409th CSB procurement liaison.

"If we can tell the customer what it will take to create a successful acquisition and follow up with them through the process, the requirement development process will be improved and the acquisition will be successful."

Early involvement of the contracting offices has equaled success toward the mission.

"If we didn't support and work with our customer, the community would not be able to function,"
Powell explained. "We take care of
so many military units, organizations,
and embassies as well as remote
locations that we need to be right
by their side to provide the supply
and service needed. Every person
working for the 409th impacts
the outcome for a Soldier."