USAMMA's Precision Fielding Saves Money, Time and Effort
The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency is a unique, multifaceted organization whose central purpose is to execute medical logistics programs that directly support Army readiness, while building and enabling health readiness. The organization has found a way to fulfill its mission and ensure that the American Warfighter has the medical equipment they need, when they need it and at the same time save the Army money, time and effort by using a new process called precision fielding.
Headquartered at Fort Detrick, Maryland, 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.
In a process known as reset, the USAMMA continuously repairs, rebuilds and replaces equipment that is worn out or destroyed in theater. In the past, during times of high operational tempo, the USAMMA would reset by fielding complete sets of equipment each time a unit was deployed. Around the time of the 2013 government sequestration, the USAMMA, like all other Army organizations, began to evaluate ways to save money and time. One of the solutions was precision fielding.
"One of the issues was how can we reduce costs and still modernize our force," said Maj. Mark S. Norton, chief of the USAMMA's Materiel Fielding Division. "By using precision fielding, the USAMMA saves time and effort, but still maintains unit readiness by reducing excess that would normally be provided each time a unit deploys. This reduces the burden on the incoming unit to redistribute, turn in or find somewhere to store the excess of fielding full sets."
The Materiel Fielding Division is conducting select unit assessments that will include a 100 percent inventory of high cost items. In August 2014, a team traveled to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and assessed the 274th Forward Surgical Team's on-hand inventory. The USAMMA team then used this formation to build a modernization package for fielding that was delivered to the Forward Surgical Team in November. The USAMMA team's work provided a $742,000 in net savings and cost avoidance.
"These detailed assessments not only allow us to see where we can streamline the fielding of items, but it also allows us to engage directly with the units," said Rick Bower, Materiel Fielding Division Southern/Caribbean regional manager. "The perfect end state for us is to fix what's broken, replace what's new and train the units to manage their inventories."
During each assessment, team members trained the unit on how to evaluate their inventory, procedures for replacing only the items that have been upgraded and the process to send their equipment into one of the USAMMA's maintenance depots to be repaired. The USAMMA has three maintenance depots located across the U.S. located at Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania; and Tracy, California. During an assessment of the 550th Area Support Medical Company in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in May, the USAMMA had previously scheduled the unit to receive 121 pieces of medical equipment. After the assessment, the USAMMA provided the unit with 28 pieces of needed medical equipment.
"The USAMMA Materiel Fielding Division team was extremely helpful and offered insight into upcoming changes in the medical sets, including reclassification of equipment categories and new refit parameters," said 1st Lt. Skye Kolb of the 550th ASMC's assessment. "The team provided insight into the USAMMA's initiative to streamline the fielding process and how it will benefit individual units and the Army as a whole."
The net savings/cost avoidance for 550th ASMC's assessment was an astounding $1.1 million.
"This method of fielding will now be used to outfit medical units to Army National Guard, Army Reserve and Army units throughout the world," said Norton. "The cost savings and cost avoidance will be in the millions."