Consolidation Streamlines Household Moves, Saves Money
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2011 Military members and civilian Defense Department employees aren’t expected to notice it, but changes that start next year at U.S. Transportation Command will help to make their household goods shipments more efficient and cost-effective.
Transcom announced plans to consolidate 151 personal property shipping offices into 11 regional offices over a four-year period beginning in 2012.
The consolidation is expected to save millions of dollars over the next 10 years, said Transcom commander Air Force Gen. William M. Fraser III, and supports goals to boost the command’s effectiveness and efficiency.
The changes aim to eliminate redundancies within the household goods shipment process, officials said, reducing overall operating costs and providing standardized, more efficient business practices.
Eleven new joint personal property shipping offices will handle behind-the-scenes household goods movement details such as booking shipments and commercial movers.
Transcom will establish these offices at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Chelmsford, Mass.; Fort Belvoir, Va.; San Antonio; Jacksonville, Fla.; and San Diego. To manage moves outside the continental United States, joint offices will stand up at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Yokosuka, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; and Grafenwoehr, Germany.
However, because local personal property processing offices will continue to provide pre-move counseling services and inspect inbound and outbound shipments to verify quality customer service, the consolidation is expected to be transparent to customers and their families, officials said.
Personal property shipping counselors and quality control inspectors “will be focused on improving customer service and will still be available to assist with all your moving needs,” said Jim Teague, a transportation specialist at Transcom’s strategy, policy, programs and logistics directorate.
Automated moves processing through the new defense personal property system will still be available for military and civilian DOD employees, officials noted.
This system uses a “best value” approach to contracting with movers that focuses on quality of performance, Web-based scheduling and tracking of shipments, service member involvement throughout the moving process and a claims system that provides full replacement value for damaged household goods.
More than 90 percent of all household good shipments now are booked through this system, with active duty, reserve-component and civilian members taking advantage of its online self-counseling services, Fraser noted in written responses to the Senate Armed Services Committee before his July 21 confirmation hearing. The system saved Transcom about $153 million in personal property movement costs during fiscal 2011, he reported, noting its use of more competitive rates and best-value scoring.
Fraser vowed to continue improving business processes for household goods shipping and services.
Last week, during his first town hall meeting since taking command Oct. 14, Fraser called on his headquarters staff at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., to question processes within the command that have been “on autopilot rather than pulled from a collaborative environment.”
Fraser urged Transcom’s people to be “solution-oriented” and contribute their own ideas to make the command operate more efficiently and effectively.