By Rhonda Apple, Pentagram Staff WriterAugust 14, 2012
Material handlers and other employees from the Directorate of Logistics warehouse on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall operate the facility with smoothness and efficiency. Located in Bldg. 205, on the Fort Myer portion of JBM-HH the warehouse is a busy operation and is filled with everything from snow shovels and ice melt to Soldier's uniforms and sleeping systems. Dining facility carry-out trays, computers, as well as bunting and official umbrellas used at state funerals in Arlington National Cemetery fill the shelves.
Majid Martha, acting material handler supervisor on JBM-HH, runs the warehouse with efficiency. "This is my territory," he said. Martha has been with DOL since 1990. "We used to be at Cameron Station in Alexandria before they closed and then we moved here."
The warehouse workers experience a variety of tasks in a routine work day, including enduring extreme hot or cold temperatures and difficult labor. Day-to-day work varies, but includes material handling, packaging and inventory, customer service, information and transportation.
The work is physically demanding, however, the material handlers under Martha's supervision are undaunted by their tasks. He said they listen, follow instructions and go about their tasks with ease as they work quickly and efficiently. Also, everyone in the warehouse is safety conscious, often working around heavy supplies, or operating the four forklifts to move pallets of materials from shipping and receiving to designated warehouse areas.
"They [material handlers] maintain everything that comes into the warehouse and keep it all organized," said Martha. "We receive all kinds of goods here, including computers, uniforms, parts for The Old Guard's motor pool, and we get things for Department of Public Works like faucets, also electrical wire and switches."
The employees at the DOL warehouse operate forklifts to move pallets loaded with heavy supplies and other materials from one place to another. They conduct tasks related to preparing goods for storage and keeping track of where everything is located. Goods are sorted by and labeled on shelves marked with letters and numbers, designated for various units and companies, so employees know where everything is located, and Soldiers or other joint base employees picking up supplies, can locate their merchandise in a timely manner.
"Our dedicated logisticians at DOL warehouse operations ensure that all incoming Army property is properly accounted for and excess property is turned in and redistributed in a timely manner," said DOL Director, Adam L. Barno. "Property accountability is every leader's responsibility and good supply discipline directly impacts overall Army readiness, and that starts at the operational level."
The warehouse is neatly organized into various areas, including an area for turning in merchandise and one for contingency supplies Soldiers can check-out, use and return, said Martha. "This includes gardening and snow shovels, rakes, brooms, sandbag fillers and plastic bags." He explained many of these supplies are used for joint base fall and spring clean up.
Supply technicians at DOL do all the purchasing for JBM-HH, including the Fort McNair portion of the base. "Purchasing is in excess of $14 million a year, so you can imagine the amount of supplies and materials going through this warehouse, handled by Majid [Martha] and his team every day," said Karen R. Kopp, chief, supply and services division at DOL.
"We're half-staffed right now. Majid was the lead and he stepped up as supervisor in the warehouse," said Kopp. "Typically, we would have a supervisor, leader and four material handlers. Right now we have Majid acting as the foreman and two material handlers. Even though we're half staffed, we're still getting the mission accomplished."
Martha took over running the warehouse in Oct., 2011, when the supervisor retired. "He's done a great job and totally reorganized the warehouse," Kopp said.
"We do a variety of things here, so it's never boring," said Reginald Hargrove, a material handler and Army veteran. "I also like maintaining a connection with Soldiers."
Martha gave credit to Gerald White, DOL inventory management specialist, who handles the Standard Army Retail Supply System on JBM-HH. "My work interfaces all [supplies] for our troops here," said White. "He's my life line between the customers and the warehouse," said Martha. "Any information the customer needs, he can provide it."
"I like working here and providing things the Soldiers need. It's my way of helping support the Soldiers, and I really enjoy the work," said White. Martha agreed. "I commend the Soldiers for putting on a uniform 365 days a year. They do a lot of work, and we get to know them well here," he said.
Martha said the number-one goal of operating the warehouse is helping the Soldiers. "When I leave work and go home every night, I'm at ease because I know we've done our jobs well."
"We are very proud of what our warehouse operations branch has been able to accomplish during the past year," said Kopp. "Even though they were only staffed at half of the authorized strength, they were still able to provide superior customer service and meet all missions. This is a testament to their dedication to DOL and JBM-HH and their can-do philosophy and never accepting defeat even when faced with adversity."