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DRMO process to be streamlined for better service, cost Tampa surplus system to change next year

by Nick Stubbs
Thunderbolt staff writer

MacDill units with excess or outdated equipment or looking for hand-me-downs through the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office will see a few changes in the process by next summer.

The completion of a study by the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service, parent agency of DRMOs all over the country and world, is leading to changes at the Tampa DRMO. It is well known among those at MacDill as the place to unload used but useable equipment and to obtain the same at no cost. While it isn't the answer for all needs, the DRMO can tide over the office looking for a couple of desks and perhaps a desktop computer.

Usually these items are in stock at the warehouse and available for pickup. Consolidating warehouse functions and making an attempt to become more efficient and cost effective, the DRMO serving MacDill will either reduce or eliminate warehousing goods as of June 2006.

That doesn't mean base units looking for something through the DRMO are out of luck, just that replacement or augmentation items will be arriving "just in time," usually shipped directly from the base or agency unloading them or from a regional warehouse.

JIT is the new way of doing business for many government agencies and private companies. A fluid, always moving system where equipment doesn't languish is the goal.

For the DRMS, the ultimate transactions will be items disposed of by one agency being delivered directly to those looking for the same items. Better computer systems and "being tied in" with transportation systems makes JIT possible, said Ken MacNevein, public information officer with the DRMS headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Mr. MacNevein said he is not sure if the Tampa DRMO warehouse will close or just be reduced in size, but as of June 2006 large stocks of items on hand will be going away in favor of an available inventory list on a computer database that keeps track of items being disposed of and the scheduled date of disposal. With that information on hand, a request for equipment can be answered with a list of what is available and a date it can be delivered.

For those agencies looking to unload old items, it means an appointment will have to be made, as with warehousing limited, just dropping off will no longer be possible, said Mr. MacNevein. For those looking for items, it means shopping via computer (almost like browsing eBay) will be the way of the future, as showing up at the warehouse to browse on site will no longer be possible.

It is expected the move to JIT supply will mean a better selection, delivered sooner at less cost to the government. To further reduce the amount of equipment on hand and the time it is allowed to collect dust, contractors will be used to help move items identified as "slow movers" by selling them online, said Mr. MacNevein.

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