USAMMA Creates New Accountable Officer Position
The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency has a big mission. The USAMMA performs materiel acquisition, project management and sustainment in support of strategic level missions and transformation goals of the U.S. Army and the Military Health System.
The USAMMA mission is imperative to ensure the American Warfighter has the medical equipment they need, when they need it.
The USAMMA has three maintenance depots across the U.S. located at Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania; and Tracy, California. The depot houses rows of medical equipment being stored, preparing for maintenance or getting ready to be shipped out. This year, the USAMMA created a new position and appointed Capt. Dennis Kim as the accountable officer for the depots. Kim is tasked tasked with keeping an accurate record of property, documents and funds for each of the depots, and is currently responsible for $125 million in medical equipment.
"Capt. Kim has been handed a very important job," said USAMMA Director of Force Sustainment Lt. Col. Joseph Mrozinski. "His job is to establish policies and procedures that will facilitate proper accountability of the USAMMA maintenance stock. This is very important to the command, and we know that Capt. Kim is working hard to ensure that this happens."
Kim began his position in January 2015 and hit the ground running. He supports the responsible officers at each site. The responsible officer has direct responsibility for the property at their depot. Each item in their warehouse must be accounted for, a task that is currently being done by hand. A 100 percent inventory was initiated in May 2015.
Most of the equipment at the warehouses has an Item Unique Identification tag. One of Kim's goals is to coordinate with the USAMMA's Business Support Office and have barcode scanners and tablets that will communicate with the system of record, which is the Theater Enterprise Wide Logistics System. The TEWLS is an information technology system within the Defense Medical Logistics - Enterprise Solution portfolio that consolidates numerous military logistics functions into a single application and database. The TEWLS helps the responsible officers scan in equipment wirelessly and minimize human error. When combined with an IUID it allows the USAMMA to track items from the beginning to the end of its use.
"This is quite a task," said Kim. "There are thousands of pieces of equipment at each depot, and human error is something that is always going to be factor in accounting for each piece. That's why we are working hard to modernize the warehouses and the accounting process. The ability to quickly scan barcodes will greatly reduce the amount of human error associated with serial number data entry."
Kim's appointment comes at a time of heightened fiscal awareness. The accountable officer is working with the program manager to identify and remove excess inventory from the stock. The depots are also divesting irrelevant equipment. According to Kim, over $8 million will be divested in 2015.
"There is tremendous value in taking the time to get things right the first time," said Kim. "Once the stock record account has been set straight and the technology is there to support us, we will be maintaining a system that will only require minor tweaks despite its large dollar value."
As of July, two maintenance depots completed their inventories. By August, the third depot will wrap up its inventory and the USAMMA will have the scanners and tablets. By September, the maintenance side of the USAMMA depots will convert to the TEWLS - the warehouse side began using the system at the end of 2013.
Kim has successfully navigated the unknown with his new position. When he leaves his role as accountable officer, he will leave behind the legacy of decisive and effective leadership that forged the path for those that will follow in his footsteps.
"It has been exciting to coordinate and work with all of the different directorates within the USAMMA and facilitate this long awaited change," said Kim.