Center's furniture program supports Marine Corps quality-of-life improvements

By William FarrowMay 30, 2024

Furniture program supports Marine Corps quality-of-life improvements
Mitch Jackson, standing, provides training on an online furniture ordering system to Marine Corps Installation Management Command employees at Camp Pendelton, California. Jackson travelled to Marine Corps Installation Command regions for face-to-face training with the customers who will be purchasing replacement furniture for Marines living in unaccompanied barracks. (Photo Credit: William Farrow) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Word of mouth has led to the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville (Huntsville Center) Furniture Program gaining a new customer.

The Marine Corps Installation Management Command (MCICOM) learned of Huntsville Center’s Centralized Furnishing Branch via an employee that formerly worked for Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC), one of the Center’s furniture program’s largest barracks furniture customers.

The MCICOM was soon reaching out to Huntsville Center for an initial requirement set at $20 million, with 25 contract actions providing much needed replacement of outdated barracks furniture at 90% of all MCICOM locations, resulting in quality-of-life improvements for unaccompanied Marines living in barracks.

Mitch Jackson, Furnishings Program project manager, said after initial discussions were held with MCICOM leadership concerning centralizing their furnishings program, Huntsville Center’s track record of success in procuring long lasting furniture resulted in MCICOM committing to utilizing the Furniture Program for their newly established procurement process.

“The Marine Corps ask us to assist them in establishing a standard for all of their five barracks types,” Jackson said.

“These standard items include barracks room furniture such as beds, mattresses, wardrobes, and desks. Lounge areas will receive a combination of lounge seating and tables, televisions, and other recreational items such as pool tables, along with appliances they will receiving for both in-room and common area use.”

However, bringing MCICOM in as a customer was not a simple task. To place furnishings orders, an online ordering system had to be stood up and deployed quickly and training to operate the ordering system fell upon Jackson’s shoulders as Headquarters MCICOM requested training as the project is a complete revamp of the Marine Corps policy and procedures for purchasing furniture.

“It is a basic course on the Centralized Furnishings Program -- who we are and how we operate. It also provides some clarity as to why we do things in a particular way,” Jackson said.

The training included the operation and use of the newly developed ordering systems, a complete review of new processes and procedures for ordering furniture.

“This ordering system is like the order system for the other services we support, but is tailored to the Marine Corps specific needs,” Jackson said.

The largest challenge to this project, Jackson said, is simply changing the way MCICOM procures furniture.

“Our processes and procedures on the centralized furnishings program are pretty straightforward and simple, but no matter how simple anything is, people don’t like change,” he said.

The attendees were from all installation that fall under MCIOCM in each region the command serves. Three classes were taught, one session for the East Region at Quantico, Virginia, another for the West Region at Camp Pendleton, and the last for Japan Region at Okinawa's Marine Corps Camp Foster.

Matt Chambliss, MCICOM unaccompanied housing analyst at Quantico, said the on-site training was very beneficial in that it allowed attendees to interact with Jackson.

“The training allowed us to understand the intricacies of the ordering system and allowed us to ask question right then, which is a lot better than reaching back for solutions via email or phone calls,” Chambliss said.

“That Mr. Jackson came to us and met with us with face-to-face training shows a real dedication to the program and to the customer.”