By Maj. Thomas M. CampeauMarch 5, 2018
In the summer of 2017, the 210th Brigade Support Battalion (BSB), 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, established an overage management system. The BSB's goal was to use the system to bring all overages (pieces of equipment that need to be returned to the Army supply system) within the Department of the Army (DA) standard of being on the report for less than 10 days.
Using this system, the BSB managed to decrease its more than 10-day-old overage repairable report (ZOAREP) equipment from 57 pieces to zero. Any battalion motor pool can yield similar results by following the procedures and techniques outlined in this article.
The 210th BSB had been reactionary when it came to overages. As soon as overages were turned in by the BSB, additional overages became delinquent. The BSB needed a system that would identify overages that needed to be turned in, prevent overages from being ordered by supply clerks, and ensure overage turn-ins.
A brainstorming session on how to get overages under control took place after the battalion maintenance meeting on June 8, 2017. This session included all key logistics personnel involved with the battalion's maintenance program.
Once the urgency of managing the overages was identified, a team was built to focus on decreasing them. The battalion drafted an action plan to create an overage system and soon put it into practice.
THE OVERAGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
The battalion implemented an overage management system through six complementary steps:
• Establish a weekly turn-in time at the supply support activity (SSA).
• Conduct a thorough motor pool clean-up.
• Send all available military occupational specialty 92A (automated logistical specialist) and 92Y (unit supply specialist) clerks to additional Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-Army) classes.
• Establish and use a daily battalion overage tracker.
• Place a light medium tactical vehicle (LMTV) in the motor pool full time to be the centralized overage transporter.
• Realign prescribed load list (PLL) clerks to companies to improve overage management.
After completing these six steps, the 210th BSB was able to turn in all of its delinquent overages and establish a system to prevent overages from increasing again.
A SET TIME FOR SSA TURN-IN
Before implementing the overage management system, as soon as overages were turned in at the SSA, another set would pass the 10-day limit. This required the BSB to set up another turn-in appointment at the SSA. This system was reactive and did not forecast or anticipate future turn-ins.
Under the overage management system, the BSB motor pool coordinated with the SSA to establish a set time each week when the unit could turn in its buildup from the previous week. This set time provided an additional benefit for the SSA: the BSB would no longer "nickel and dime" the SSA all week with four to six items per turn-in.
Having a set time also gave the BSB the opportunity to turn in excess items not on the overage report. Soon, the unit was turning in not only listed overages but also excess equipment that had been residing in the motor pool.
With a set turn-in schedule, the BSB motor pool became proactive in its overage management. Having a set schedule allowed the motor pool to fall into a rhythm so that each week it focused on the following Monday's turn-in appointment.
Some pieces of overage required preparation for turn-in. For example, some engines needed to be drained of all petroleum-related fluids and cleaned before the SSA would take them. Draining procedures can take up to four days, depending on the piece of equipment. By having a week to prepare equipment, the BSB was able to execute a smooth turn-in.
MOTOR POOL CLEAN-UP
The BSB looked at how parts, including overages, were picked up from the SSA. What it found was that its lack of accountability and lack of a storage system in the motor pool had created a buildup.
Some rooms in the motor pool had serviceable equipment (for example alternators, fan belts, and Humvee doors) that no one was accounting for. This issue was compounded when leaders who knew about this equipment left the unit and did not pass their knowledge to the remaining mechanics.
It was decided that a motor pool "clean sweep" needed to take place. The clean-up was divided into four phases: clean out the bay, identify serviceability, turn in serviceable equipment, and reorganize the motor pool.
CLEAN OUT THE BAY. The motor pool staff removed all the excess items from the service bays. This forced them to look at every item.
IDENTIFY SERVICEABILITY. With everything out of the bay, the mechanics looked at what was found. There were items that were still serviceable as well as items that were annotated on the overage listing from the unit.
After mechanics drained and purged equipment, the motor pool leaders asked other units if they needed any of their newly discovered items to repair their vehicles.
Most of what was found was trash and unserviceable items. The problem was that the mechanics had to sort through whole rooms and areas in case there was something to turn in. This was very time-consuming, but it was worthwhile in the end.
TURN IN SERVICEABLE EQUIPMENT. Since the BSB had a weekly dedicated time with the SSA, this phase was easy. Some serviceable items were on the overage list, so they were turned in and removed from the list.
The brigade was able to use some of the equipment to repair its deadlined vehicles. Most unserviceable items were turned in as code outs (pieces of equipment that are damaged beyond repair) or were discarded.
REORGANIZE THE MOTOR POOL. Once all serviceable items were turned in and the trash was removed, it was time to place everything back in the bays. This phase allowed the BSB to establish its system for parts storage and decide how it would directly store its shop and bench stock.
The BSB ordered a motor pool setup kit (national stock number 4910-01-620-2533), which greatly assisted with the motor pool reorganization and placement of bench and shop stock. Additionally, mechanics provided input on how they wanted to store their toolboxes in the new space.
This phase was critical to how the motor pool was going to establish its overage management system. It ensured an organized process went into effect from the start.
The BSB identified that incorrect use of GCSS-Army was affecting overage management. GCSS-Army been fielded to the brigade just two months earlier. As part of the fielding, clerks received two weeks of over-the-shoulder training and an online course. These classes were very broad and did not go into the detail required for the clerks to fully and correctly implement class II (clothing and individual equipment) and class IX (repair parts) ordering.
As a result, clerks were ordering initial-issue items but were entering incorrect T-codes in GCSS-Army. Because of this, items popped up as overages rather than initial-issue items.
A large portion of the BSB's "overages" were initial-issue items ordered to fill equipment shortages. These overages needed to have purge memos submitted through the sustainment brigade, which is a lengthy process. Instead of focusing on the purge memos, the BSB first needed to stop the flow of initial issue overages from populating on the overage list. In order to accomplish this, the 210th BSB clerks needed to increase their knowledge of GCSS-Army so that they would become more proficient at managing ordering for the battalion.
Clerks from the 210th BSB used "Mountain University" classes to increase their knowledge of GCSS-Army. The school is run by the Army Materiel Command and is available to all units on the installation. The on-post classes were an affordable and flexible way to train Soldiers on the system.
Four classes were offered to clerks based on their areas of expertise. For instance, a five-day course was offered to supply specialists who were using the wrong T-code and creating overages. Another five-day course was offered to PLL clerks so that they could become more proficient in ordering bench and shop stock as initial-issue items. Both types of clerks benefited greatly from attending these courses, and after the training, a noticeable drop was detected in initial issue ordering.
THE BATTALION OVERAGE TRACKER
By creating a battalion overage tracker that went out every day, the BSB's companies became more informed on what overages they had listed under their unit identification codes. Previously, the overages were tracked only in the weekly battalion maintenance meeting on a single PowerPoint slide. During the meeting, some companies would see the data for the first time and go into reactionary mode.
Information was not being presented in a way that revealed which overages needed to be turned in. Often, companies would be notified they had an overage at around the 10- to 20-day mark (when it was already overdue), which gave them only a week or two before it became over 30 days old.
Additionally, companies were not tracking what overages their clerks were ordering and were finding out about overages at the battalion maintenance meeting. A more proactive method of presenting the information--and holding those accountable--needed to be created.
The battalion maintenance officer developed an overage tracker on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. This tracker had a notes column which annotated the current status of each overage. Notes specifying the turn-in date or the status of the item's purge memo would populate in this section. This tracker went out every day to increase shared understanding across the BSB of which companies had what overages.
Overages ordered without the correct initial-issue T-code would populate on the tracker, which would trigger the lengthy purge memo process. This increased visibility made company executive officers more responsible for tracking how their clerks were ordering items.
The SSA also had visibly of the BSB's overages, which allowed it to better anticipate turn-ins. Disseminating the battalion overage tracker daily emphasized the importance of overage accountability and created a shared understanding and awareness of what overages were on the report.
A CENTRALIZED OVERAGE TRANSPORTER
The battalion had a tactical vehicle in the motor pool to physically hold all of the overages that were to be turned in at the next SSA appointment. This simplified overage turn-ins by designating a physical location that all overages would go to for accountability.
Having a set location took the guesswork out of determining where overages would be stored before turn-in. Once an overage was drained and purged and all turn-in paperwork was completed, the overage was stacked in an organized manner in the back of the LMTV to await turn-in. By having an LMTV as the centralized collection point for the battalion's overages, the motor pool mechanics could more easily account for what had to be turned in at the next scheduled appointment.
Before the LMTV was in place in the motor pool, the BSB was selecting overages for turn-in, but items would get overlooked when the actual turn-in time came. This simple mistake caused the BSB to wait another week to turn in the items. By having a dedicated vehicle to hold all the overages, all the managers had do was check the back of vehicle to see what overages were ready for turn-in.
This process also made it easy for Soldiers who had excess equipment they did not need in the motor pool. Soldiers could just fill out a DA form 1348, Request for Turn in, attach it to the overage, place the overage in the truck, and allow it to be turned in.
The managers were also able to inspect the overages and their associated paperwork to ensure they were ready for turn-in and that the equipment had been drained of all fluids. This method of having a centralized turn-in point allowed users to be part of the system and simplified the whole turn-in process in the motor pool.
REALIGNING PLL CLERKS
The battalion realigned four PLL clerks in the shop office with specific companies. The battalion had one clerk order class IX parts for each company. This made the clerks more familiar with which parts were overages that had to be turned in.
The clerks were also able to hold the mechanics accountable for turning in recoverable equipment. By having clerks designated to track overages for specific companies, the BSB could more easily manage and ensure turn-in occurred within the 10-day limit.
Using the above techniques to create an overage management system helped the 210th BSB decrease its overages to meet the DA standard of 10 days. Once the system was in place for over a month, the BSB continued to keep overages down and within the DA standard.
By implementing these procedures, the 210th BSB was able to turn in all of its delinquent overages and establish a system to prevent them from increasing again. Using these procedures may help other battalions to accomplish the same.
Thomas M. Campeau is the executive officer for the 210th BSB, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, at Fort Drum, New York. He holds a bachelor's degree in secondary education with a concentration in social studies from Kutztown University and a master's degree from the Army Command and General Staff College. He is a graduate of the Unit Movement Officer Course, Combined Logistics Captains Career Course, Advanced Military Advise and Assist Training, and Airborne School.
This article is an Army Sustainment magazine product.