FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Soldiers assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), were selected to participate in the pilot phase of a new app that will greatly improve work order process for barracks rooms.
The new Army Maintenance Application, or ArMA, provides benefits to Soldiers who reside in barracks and the service technicians making repairs. The pilot program began Dec. 1.
ArMA was directed by Gen. Edward M. Daly, commanding general, Army Materiel Command, as a result of lessons learned from the Army’s focus on quality of life in barracks, said Jeremy Rains, chief of the Business Management Office, Directorate of Public Works.
“The Army realized we need to provide a better way for Soldiers to submit work orders directly, have the ability to track each work order request, and the ability to share their experiences in a customer survey afterward,” Rains said.
The app will help resolve issues quickly, before they become bigger maintenance problems, he said.
“This can help manage all of our time better,” Rains said. “It provides visibility so they can see what is going on with the order. In the second phase of the release, Soldiers can actually take a photo of whatever is broken or having an issue and submit with the work order, the technician will then be able to look at the photo and determine what is needed for the repair.”
Development for the app began in mid-2019 and will apply to all military barracks and government-owned housing.
After the pilot stage is completed at the end of the year, the app will be released Armywide on Jan. 1. The second phase is expected to be complete by summer 2021, when it will officially become an Army-recognized app.
“Installation Management Command selected Fort Campbell as one of the two initial test sites” Rains said. “We’ve asked 1st Brigade to test it out for us first and let us know if there are any issues or things we need to fix before we send it out.”
First BCT was selected because their barracks are the oldest and most challenging to maintain on Fort Campbell.
The app is available for download at https://www.armymaintenance.com/arma_temp. Information required to register includes military email address, location/building of residence, unit and phone number. Users can specify their ArMA notification preferences as email, text message or both during registration. There is also the ability for Soldiers to report bugs or errors to the app developers and Fort Campbell DPW.
The app will eventually allow technicians to go paperless and receive work orders through the app, which will speed up response time and improve communication between technician and the person placing the work order, Rains said.
“The initial deployment of the app will be linked and embedded within the Digital Garrison app,” he said. “Once the coding is finalized and we go completely live, the app will be finalized and will be a separate app from Digital Garrison.”
The app also provides users the ability to set up households, or alternate points of contact, that will help expedite response and repair times, Rains said.
“If a Soldier submits a work order but is leaving for the field to train, he or she is able to create a household so their roommate can be there for the repair,” he said. “The person included in the household, the roommate, will also be alerted on the status of the work order.”
The person included in the household could be anyone who can be available to give the maintenance worker access to the barracks room, Rains said.
The app will not only cut down on manhours, it also will be a cost savings for the Army and installations.
“We’re currently relying on handwritten processes to close out and receive work orders every morning,” Rains said. “We have a supervisor who comes in and filters through the work orders for his shop and then assigns them to his technicians. The technicians then have to come in every single day and write out the work order number, status of the order, and the amount of time taken on the order before handing it over to another team of data clerks. The data clerks then have to enter it into a database before the work order can officially close out. It’s a lot of effort and time, so going digital will be much more efficient.”
The technician can provide updates on the progress of the work order and close it out while still at the work site through the app.
“Every time the technician updates, leaves notes or changes the order, the system will immediately send a notification to the resident,” Rains said. “Currently, someone has to enter and change all of this information manually, which can take longer.”
Once the app is online it is expected to save approximately 12 manhour years in a single year just at Fort Campbell, Rains said.
“Even if it wasn’t a cost savings, the efficiency and the visibility of the orders and process is a huge gain for us,” he said. “It’s updating us in an age where this is expected, this is how it is for people living outside of the gates of the installation at commercially-owned residences. We’re actually catching up to the modern age and will be saving reams and reams of paper.”
The efficiency of implementing digital systems will significantly improve DPW response capabilities, Rains said.
“The app is going to keep expanding and adapting,” he said. “This is something we’ve wanted for 10 years, wanting to provide better service across the Army, and this is a step in the right direction. It helps meet what our customers expect: More responsiveness, better communication and more efficiency.”