DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. -- Item managers from the Integrated Logistics Support Center gathered by the hundreds for a town hall style meeting to discuss best practices, business tools and support, the future outlook and upcoming plans.

After brief opening remarks by Jeff Bohun, Logistics and Support Operations director for the ILSC, Maj. Gen. Dan Mitchell, Tank-automotive and Armaments Command's commanding general, addressed the workforce via video teleconference during a break from his participation in the Association of the United States Army event occurring simultaneously in Washington, D.C.

"The great part about being an item manager is you have a very important job," Mitchell said. "It's difficult and what we do takes a lot of skill," he added. "You're vitally important to the readiness of the Army. Since you work for TACOM, you're responsible for two-thirds of the Army's supply chain. It's a very dangerous world and our Army needs to be ready. You have to get some satisfaction in knowing that you play a vital role in that. Thank you for what you do every day."

Larry Ruehlen, an item manager group leader for the LSO, broke down the mission to its basic essentials in his presentation. "We're trying to get the right parts to the right person in the right quantity at the right time," he said. "In reality, we never have all the money we need, we never have all the time to do everything, we never have all the capacity or resources available to stock our components to a level that would make sure we have whatever we need whenever we need it."

The key to item manager success, he added, is finding an appropriate balance between inventory and mission performance at any given time.

Other presenters included Jim Davis, Van Lopez, Greg Kelly and Christina Rieger who discussed budgets and finance, distribution management, non-Army managed items and the supply directorate, respectively. Issues relating to the organic industrial base were covered by Bohun who was filling in for Erin Steel, OIB director.

The ILSC director, Marion Whicker, offered closing remarks and an event summation.

"Take advantage of the experts on this stage and their organizations," she urged the audience. "They did this because they want to inform and train and educate the supply chain community."

She added, "Do not assume that people know when there's a problem. Bring them up to your leadership. Your leadership will help you."

"We want to let them know that we are here to assist them through some very difficult transactions and processes," Bohun said in later remarks. "We're on their side to help them through some of the stuff we do on a day to day basis."

"I've never been in a meeting in 20 years where I've heard an item manager say, 'I don't know the answer'. They either have a work around, they're pulling parts off an asset at Sierra Army Depot at the boneyard or they're going out and procuring new items."

"The item managers are doing a great job. They live, eat and breathe the supply chain, and they manage their items right down to the nth-degree. There's not a finer team," Bohun added.