By Mitch Chandran, SDDCSeptember 14, 2012
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (Sept. 12, 2012) -- It's been more than three years since Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command launched the Department of Defense's re-engineered household goods moving program -- the Defense Personal Property Program.
Throughout that time, Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, or SDDC, program managers frequently met with government and industry representatives for feedback on strengthening the program's performance and efficiency.
While no one involved with the program is claiming victory, this year's post peak moving season data reveals the best performance to date -- streamlining the process and easing the anxiety for service members moving according to SDDC's Personal Property Quality Assurance Division.
Peak moving season runs May through August each year with the peak of the peak between Memorial Day and July 4.
While phasing in DP3 as a best value carrier selection program for DOD members, SDDC simultaneously phased out the legacy Transportation Operational Personal Property Standard System, better known as TOPS, which has been the standard system for moving personal property since 1988.
"The main hurdle to overcome was the transition from the legacy program to the new best value program and educating the multitude of customers on the use of DP3," said John Johnson, branch chief for SDDC's Personal Property Quality Assurance Division. "There are a new set of rules, processes and a system that many customers were not completely familiar with yet."
Johnson added the pros outweigh the cons and in this case, DP3 brings broader benefits and a higher quality standard to DOD members moving their household goods.
Another hurdle was how service members communicated with their mover throughout the moving process. Under TOPS, the service member would rely on local transportation offices to make arrangements with movers and talk with them on their behalf. DP3 puts members in direct communication with their assigned mover throughout the entire move process.
"DP3 is a paradigm shift," said Richard Yevak, qualifications and quality assurance team lead for SDDC's Personal Property Quality Assurance Division. "People were used to using the TOPS system for 20-plus years and now we are asking them to learn a new way to do things."
Since mid-2009, SDDC and U.S. Transportation Command's Joint Program Management Office did a series of educational sessions with all stakeholders on the new business rules, processes and system.
JPMO manages the Defense Personal Property System, or DPS, which is the software that provides the automation for DP3. DPS centralizes all functionality for DP3 and is available 24 hours a day through the website move.mil.
"It's taken about three years of using DPS for this training to sink in across the board," Johnson said. "People now have a better understanding of the process, system and how to leverage the new tools available to them in DPS. We are seeing this program work more efficiently now and expect that trend to continue with further user experience."
According to Johnson, 2009 was the first year DPS made a dent replacing TOPS with the program rolling out to 18 test installations while phasing in the rest of the worldwide locations throughout the year.
2010 was the main transition year for DPS with the program managing about 70 percent of moves. This year, the program inherits about 95 percent of the household good movements from TOPS.
"DPS system performance is a lot better this year," Yevak said. "Last year's functionality issues were resolved. Rates were available earlier this year and the systems started allowing people to get out in front and book their shipments earlier."
DP3 is the culmination of various pilot programs SDDC tested and evaluated throughout the last 10 years.
"For questions or concerns about the moving process, the first stop for assistance should always be your local Personal Property Shipping Office or Installation Transportation Office," Johnson added. "However, if you experience any technical problems while using move.mil, the System Response Center help desk is there to help. Simply call (800) 462-2176 or 618-220-SDDC (DSN 770-7332) or send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org."
SDDC remains committed to providing a quality personal property moving experience for DOD's service members, U.S. Coast Guard, federal employees, and their families.