As a Forward Support Company (FSC), especially for a Light Infantry Brigade Engineer Battalion, one of the most scarce and high-demand resources you have is the time of the maintenance personnel. This small, select group of about 65 personnel are responsible for ensuring that a fleet of more than 700 diverse vehicles remain operational and ready for the next mission. Due to the fleet’s diversity, these maintenance personnel never have a shortage of work that needs to be accomplished. Even though these Soldiers have day-to-day tasks with maintenance, an FSC commander must also account for time that training will take them away from the fleet, as well as the ever-dreaded tasking from higher headquarters to support an event.Through the use of good man-hour accounting practices within Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-Army), there is a way to capture and illustrate a unit’s productivity and the time lost to training and other military duties. This ability allows commanders and staff at echelon to understand the effects that various training and taskings have on a critical group of personnel and their unit’s overall readiness.Man-hour accounting is a process that was utilized and intensely studied by organizations through Standard Army Maintenance System-Enhanced (SAMS-E) reporting, prior to the conversion to GCSS-Army. The goal of utilizing maintenance personnel to achieve 50% or higher in direct labor toward maintenance operations drove many decisions at both the company and battalion levels, as to what training events an FSC could accomplish as well as what additional tasks and missions that FSC could receive.Once the GCSS-Army conversion occurred, that tracking capability was severely obscured. The structure to record direct labor man-hours for a job, and indirect labor and lost time for personnel, exists within GCSS-Army, but to extract the data and compile it within a useful product does require some quick analysis and ingenuity on the part of the personnel building the report.Creating a Work ScheduleTo make the most of GCSS-Army and the system’s ability to track man hours, one must first set up the work schedule. The default setting is that the work schedule for every person is seven days a week, 24 hours a day. This will need to be adjusted to match the normal work hours of your organization. This can be accomplished by utilizing the code “Set Work Center Personnel Work Schedule” (PA61) within GCSS-Army. Once the work schedule is created, input of “Direct,” “Indirect,” and “Lost” labor time will populate against that schedule. There is an option to include overtime work within the reporting mechanisms and there is no need to adjust the schedule to account for that occurrence.Direct Labor RecordingNow that you have created your organization’s work schedule, you can begin inputting your labor and lost time. There are two main ways to record direct labor, and the most effective way is to record direct labor early and often. The preferred method is to utilize “Partial Confirmation for a Work Order” (IW41), which allows a maintenance manager to input the amount of direct labor applied toward a work order on a daily basis. In doing this reporting on a daily basis, it allows for an accurate by-day roll-up of information and assists the maintenance personnel in recording accurate data.Another option is to use the “Work Order Close-out” document (IW42), but this will only record data on the day the work order was closed out. In recording work time in this method, a project that takes 20 hours to complete will show that all 20 hours were performed on the day the work order was marked as complete within GCSS-Army. This data skew will be reflected when it comes time to account for indirect labor. In recording direct Labor often with IW41, accurate information can be captured.Indirect Labor and Lost TimeThe most valuable data to a commander is the capture of indirect labor and lost time. “Indirect Labor” includes things such as parts processing, maintenance administration actions, maintenance meetings, and moving vehicles around the motorpool. “Lost Time” captures such things as time lost due to leave, awaiting parts to arrive, work breaks, military training, staff duty, and other missions a Soldier may be given.To capture this lost time, maintenance managers must pull a weekly “Accounting Worksheet” (ZMAWK) and have each Soldier fill in their missing time using the “Accounting Indicators.” The accounting worksheet will already display the time spent on direct labor and will only require the Soldier to account for the time remaining based upon the previously built work schedule. Once the Soldier fills in this information, the maintenance manager uses the “ZMAWK” code to put the indirect and lost time into GCSS-Army. Once this is completed, an organization has accounted for the man-hours of all of its personnel.Compiling and Understanding Man-hour UsageOnce a unit has begun the process of inputting man-hour reports into GCSS-Army, the final step is to extract and put that data to use. GCSS-Army does not have a consolidated method for extracting man-hour utilization, it is up to the unit to extract the data and display it in the most effective manner for their usage. The easiest way to compile the data is through the use of a Microsoft Excel document (or similar program) that a maintenance control officer would put in data from GCSS-Army in order to create the man-hour utilization.“Display Confirmations” (IW47) is the method to pull the direct labor for a time period. It is critical to ensure the report is only pulled for the desired reporting period and work centers. Also, this report will display and differentiate time spent on unscheduled and scheduled maintenance (via the work order series number), which is useful to determine what type of projects your mechanics are spending their time and energy repairing.The next step is to pull the “Display Working Times” (CATS_DA) report, which will illustrate the indirect and lost labor time, and can be filtered by the various accounting codes to show how much time was lost. Again, ensuring the proper reporting period and cost center is utilized will ensure accurate data is retrieved.Once the data is retrieved and logged into the unit’s preferred method of calculation and presentation, a useful product showing how a maintenance platoon’s time is used can be presented to make informed decisions regarding time and workload management. Units can limit what accounting indicators are used in order to simplify the process, as well as to develop a more effective reporting process.As with every report within the Army, man-hour accountability relies upon the honest feedback from the individual worker as to how their time was spent. The more honest the individual is, the more accurate the data and results. The more accurate the results, the more useful it is to the commander in creating an environment which allows the maintenance personnel to both complete their daily maintenance task and to get out of the motorpool to train on other military skills and tasks.--------------------Capt. John DeLee is an assistant brigade S-4 at 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. He previously served as company commander of Echo Forward Support Company, 317th Brigade Engineering Battalion, and support operations at 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. He is a 2012 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and has completed the Logistics Captains Career Course.