Original Date: 04/07/1997
Revision Date: 04/14/2003
Best Practice : Fielding Activities
When new items such as tool kits and shelters are issued to the field, a Logistics team representative is sent to accompany the item for the hand-off to the soldier. The extension of fielding activities by Rock Island Arsenal’s (RIA’s) Logistic group, including feedback and review of the item during the hand-off and immediate resolution of issues encountered, have proven both effective at resolving problems and making improvements, and improving customer satisfaction with the items delivered.
In the past, when new items such as tool kits and shelters were issued to the field, a Logistics team was sent to the field for the hand-off to the soldier. The team ensured that the items were inventoried; received in tact and in proper working order; provided necessary training to the field soldiers; and helped the soldiers use the items as designed. No long term review of the items by the team or the soldiers was considered. As long as the items functioned as intended, the items were considered sold. Any changes to the item were costly, beyond the scope of the contract, and normally avoided. Often the soldier (customer) had to make the best of what was received or at minimum, wait a long time for changes. The practice in the past has been to complete these tasks with minimal delay and close out the order.
Since 1993, the Logistics team has added additional steps to its fielding activities that include immediate feedback and follow-up for issues identified in the field. The team now reviews the usage of the new items sent to the field. When an item does not meet the full functionality needed by the field soldier, or when improvements are suggested, the field team representative is present to accept the feedback and review the issue first-hand. Problems and recommendations are brought to the attention of the Logistics engineers and staff for immediate resolution. As a result, the field soldier has a vehicle for resolving real problems found in the field. The fielding activities have also been extended to not only fielding new items, but for items already in the field.
Examples of the successful fielding activities include:
New Aircraft Tool System fielding: This program replaced the heavy metal tool boxes used in the field with a new tool system (Figure 2-5) for the aviation soldier that featured new plastic tool boxes which are light weight and waterproof; tools placed in foam which enhanced inventory; and prevention of foreign object damage. Not only did the quality of tools improve, but the production cost of the new tool kits dropped from $650 to $91, providing a total program savings of more than $11M for the customer. Another example is a metal aviation footlocker that was replaced with a plastic design which reduced the cost from $5,000 to $943 per copy, providing a total program savings of $7.7M for the total quantity delivered.
Shelters fielding: Shelters (Figure 2-6) are equipped with a variety of equipments, tools, and capabilities necessary for the field soldiers to perform tasks from maintenance of vehicles to the repair of electronic hardware. As a direct result of feedback and review from the field, shelters have been modified to better fit the tasks of the soldier. Changes include everything from installing proper ventilation hoods to adding bookcases in the shelters. Over the past 18 months, Logistics field team representatives have incorporated over 30 changes as a direct result of their presence in the field through the practice of accepting feedback and reviewing the issues identified by the soldiers.
The extension of fielding activities, to include feedback and review, has proven both effective at resolving issues in the field and improved customer satisfaction with the items delivered. Additional fielding savings are being explored through this improved collaborative practice with the field soldiers.
Figure 2-5. Tool System
Figure 2-6. Shelter
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