August 13, 2014
By Mr. Mark Diamond (SDDC)
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Transportation experts from U.S. Transportation Command and Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command formed a fusion team Aug. 4 to more quickly evaluate and address critical issues affecting the U.S. military's privately owned vehicle shipping program.
On May 1, International Auto Logistics assumed responsibility for the Global Privately Owned Vehicle Contract, also known as GPC III. Under the terms of the contract, IAL is responsible for processing, transporting and storing vehicles owned by military personnel and Department of Defense civilian employees bound for or returning from overseas duty locations.
The newly-formed POV fusion team is a combination of subject matter experts who are familiar with the contract requirements, and supply chain experts who can assess the system and drive improvements into the system. U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul H. Guemmer leads the team.
"We are working very closely with IAL, and we have put together a team to research the issues and gain an understanding of how IAL intends to make the process more efficient and transparent," said Guemmer. "Our group's responsibility is to examine IAL's supply chain processes and provide contract oversight of the company's ability to meet the requirements for our military customers. We're not here to do IAL's job. We're here to look after the best interest of our military customers by highlighting issues that IAL needs to resolve."
Guemmer said the team has been working hard to understand and correct the most immediate issues that are impacting military POV customers.
"We've seen there is a constrained information flow to our military customers, and more importantly, if the process doesn't work, our customers need to know how to elevate their concerns," the general explained. "How can our customers reach an IAL representative, and at what point do they elevate the problem to a government representative who can intervene on their behalf?"
ADDRESSING IMMEDIATE CONCERNS
During the team's first week, it developed and distributed a customer advisory to all Department of Defense transportation offices clarifying the level of service DOD POV customers are entitled to, as well as to provide customers a better understanding of how they resolve issues within the POV shipping process.
The general said another area of concern is rental car expenses and other incidental expenses a customer incurs as a result of a missed vehicle delivery date.
"Our military POV customers are sometimes confused and frustrated," said Guemmer. "They need to know they will be taken care of throughout the entire process."
According to team members, for military personnel the first seven days of rental car expenses are reimbursed by the government, and IAL is responsible for rental car expenses beyond that period. DOD civilian employees are not entitled to rental car expenses from the government for the first seven days. However, DOD civilian employees may file an inconvenience claim through IAL for rental car expenses beginning the first day after the RDD is missed.
The general said much time during the first week was also spent understanding IAL's in-transient visibility, or ITV, processes. ITV is an organization's capability to provide their customer with maximum visibility and near real-time status on the movement of all classes of supply, from origin to destination.
According to Lt. Col. Michael Erhardt, SDDC Operations directorate, members of the fusion team believe the majority of customer concerns are a result of missing or incomplete ITV data. He said IAL's system, in some cases, may not accurately reflect where a vehicle is in the shipping process.
"Every customer should be able to easily and quickly determine where their vehicle is, and right now that's not happening," said Guemmer.
According to Erhardt, as an interim fix, the fusion team is adding Contracting Officer's Representatives, known as CORs, at several VPCs within the continental United States. He said the increased onsite presence will be used to engage with customers, oversee contractor performance, and validate that accurate ITV information is being provided from each VPC.
"Again, we cannot do IAL's job," added the general. "We can point out the areas that need to be improved, and it's up to IAL to put the right priority on providing those necessary capabilities."