SHARPE ARMY DEPOT, Calif. - The Army & Air Force Exchange Service hosted Paul Cramer, deputy assistant secretary of the Army (Installations, Housing & Partnerships), at its West Coast Distribution Center, highlighting how the Department of Defense retailer's logistics network has transformed to welcome home 21 million Veterans with a lifetime online shopping benefit.

Cramer and his office have been instrumental as the Exchange works to secure additional warehouse space on the Sharpe Army Depot to accommodate anticipated demand as the Veterans online shopping benefit launches this Veterans Day. His Oct. 16 visit marked his first visit to an Exchange distribution center and gave the Exchange an opportunity to highlight its logistics capabilities.

During his visit, Cramer received an operations overview of the distribution center, including receiving, storage, order selection, flow, transportation, shipping and e-commerce, hearing how Exchange Logistics associates take care of Soldiers, Airmen, families, retirees and, soon, all honorably discharged Veterans.

As the Exchange prepares for the launch of the newly approved Veterans online shopping benefit, which gives all honorably discharged Veterans the ability to shop online at ShopMyExchange.com, fulfilling e-commerce orders efficiently and accurately takes on even greater importance. Ensuring the distribution center has room to accommodate expected demand is a key part of preparing to deliver the Exchange online benefit to Veterans.

"This is very impressive," Cramer said, adding that the Veterans online shopping benefit is a way forward for the Exchange. "It's the way of the future and the 21st century. We just need to get people signed up for it."

Alan French, Exchange vice president, logistics fulfillment, emphasized the importance of expanding Logistics' capabilities to support the Veterans online shopping benefit and the growth of e-commerce. Updated warehouse management and transportation management software, reallocated space for e-commerce order fulfillment and revamped duties for associates are among the changes the Exchange's distribution centers are undergoing to prepare for increased online traffic.

"Logistics is focused on the customer experience," French said. "We are the last touch before Soldiers or Airmen get their packages. We are excited to welcome home our Veterans on Nov. 11."

To verify eligibility, Veterans can visit shopmyexchange.com/veterans