Lisa Hunter,
AMCOM Public Affairs

The AMCOM Logistics Center working with AMCOM G1 has kicked off their enhanced Item Manager training courses.

ALC's item managers are responsible for 16,644 different types of aviation and missile repair parts. Their duties include releasing stock to the field upon request, monitoring and maintaining stock levels, and assisting in the decisions of when to purchase stock or if old stock should be repaired. Item managers also validate data to determine if they need to initiate contracts for new purchases and repairs.

"The job of an Item Manager is extremely challenging and heavily dependent on technical proficiency in many area's including the use of Logistics Modernization Program and other Enterprise Resource Planning systems. This requires initial and continuous refresher training," said Don Nitti, acting Executive Director for the AMCOM Logistics Center.

To do that, the ALC leadership is working to establish an enhanced and standardized training program.

Enter the AMCOM Training and Career Management team chief who, along with ALC subject matter experts (SMEs), evaluated processes and began developing a plan that would maximize supply chain performance.

"We initiated a needs assessment survey to identify the training needs of the item manager workforce, find who the subject matter experts are within the ALC community and see what issues were hindering item management effectiveness," explained Tanya Allbritten, AMCOM's chief of Training and Career Management. "Once we gathered and summarized the data, the team of SMEs from across the various functional areas - missiles, aviation and supply chain - worked with G-1 Training to analyze key issues, develop training plans, and synchronize and enhance ongoing initiatives."

Along with Allbritten were ALC employees, Casey Jones, Jamie Miller, Jessica Weir, Dianna Westbrook, Benjamin White and Willie Gaddis, who also served as an instructor. Scott Valent, Deanna Loden and Cletis Severs also taught the courses.

Within weeks, the joint team had created a draft plan addressing the major issues and had begun building a long-term sustainment plan to meet current and future item manager requirements. In four months, this specialized training team used the "Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate" approach to establish core competencies, align item manager processes with design training content. Using that data, the team developed the Level 1 training plan, which consisted of the following courses to be piloted and audited by the IM community to ensure quality, effectiveness and applicability:

Demand Planning
Supply Planning
Material Master (Data Integrity)
Supply Chain Planning Reporting Tool

Each training event is intended to meet the item managers' needs that were identified in the needs assessment survey at all levels. The enhanced training courses that make up the Level 1 or "core competency" level, are unlike any previous training events that ALC has sponsored. Not only do these courses include formal lecture but also hands-on "live" experiences, to be followed by on-the-job training that promotes enhanced communication through mentorship and coaching, and in FY19, updated desk-reference materials to help further streamline item manager access to pertinent data.

"The formalized training plan is specifically designed to help item managers more efficiently perform their jobs, by providing progressive - or tiered - training events that address core knowledge, skills and abilities the item managers need," Allbritten said.

AMCOM Logistics Center instructors have already successfully conducted each of the initial training events for audit. These instructors trained 65 ALC employees and the feedback from class participants was very positive. They received comments like 'Instructors were knowledgeable and presented material well;' 'Excellent job in showing cause and effect correlation and helping us understand the "why"'; 'Course materials were great but the explanations given along with the material was EXCEPTIONAL!;' and 'The material was translated into information I could understand and use.'"

The team is now moving forward with more tools and training. They are developing deskside references, standard operating procedures, and identifying complementary Softskill training events for the item managers.

"We are also moving into the Level II, Intermediate Training, which will encompass specialized training events indigenous to individual functional areas," Allbritten said. "We plan to begin auditing these intermediate courses in October."

Continuing forward, we will be creating the same type of training plan for ALC provisioners. An initial needs assessment session has already been completed with the provisioners and we have subject-matter expert teams who have started designing a training plan that outlines core competencies and training events for them, Allbritten said.

"Technical training and proficiency are critical in all career fields," Nitti said. "But we began our enhanced training with Item Managers because they are a vital part of our supply chain performance. They excel every day meeting Army aviation and missile supply needs and we have to ensure they have every skill necessary for continued success."