DOD and CSA Make Many Improvements to PCS Process Despite Pandemic and Global Port/Shipping Issues | Article






Military One Source is the US Transportation Command’s one-stop-shop for personal property information and systems access: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/moving-housing/moving/pcs-and-military-moves. (Courtesy picture)
(Photo credit: US Army)


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ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Illinois – Summer has arrived and it’s a busy time for some U.S. Army personnel and their families as they move to their next assignment, retire or part ways with the service . Despite overall health improvements in the United States regarding COVID-19, the pandemic is still problematic in other parts of the world and continues to affect the shipping industry.

Even with that, the US Transportation Command, the military, and the US Army Sustainment Command are working hard to continuously improve the permanent station change process for its customers and their family members.

This year has many new favorable elements for the current PCS season, said Colonel Courtney Abraham, Director of the Army Personal Property Major Element and Commander of the CSA Joint Personal Property Dispatch Offices. -Mid-Atlantic.

“The pandemic has affected all sectors of the global market. Ports, port agents, customs, trucking, rail and shipping are all among those sectors that have been impacted by the pandemic, and they continue to see shortages of labour, drivers, material, fuel, increased operating costs and other operational issues. resources,” Abraham explained.

Located in Fort Belvoir, Va., APPLE is the Army’s premier integration organization into the Defense Personal Property Program and the Joint Collective Enterprise. Its mission is to plan, manage, and provide technical oversight of the Army’s personal property shipping and processing offices worldwide.

APPLE maintains operational control of the two JPPSOs located at Fort Belvoir and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

JPPSO-MA is one of six military-run dispatch offices. This organization performs personal property movement services to authorized personnel within a specified area of ​​responsibility. The JPPSO-MA supports shipments to portions of 12 states, including the Washington, DC area.

USTRANSCOM has adjusted domestic and international transit times to provide better predictability and better management of soldiers’ and families’ expectations for the delivery of their household goods, he said.

“All overseas PCS locations could be affected, none more than another,” Abraham said.

“The Personal Property business continues to closely monitor changes in the global supply chain and is constantly communicating with our industry partners to implement best business practices to support our soldiers and their families.”

In late 2020, Abraham said ASC began outfitting units with tablets specifically to help quality assurance inspectors in the field.

“QA inspectors can perform operations and reports on the go, using their tablets, mobile devices or Wi-Fi hotspots,” Abraham explained.

Tablets allow QA inspectors to reach more customers during the service day, as well as immediately provide customers with resources, documents, and report results in the system of record. USTRANSCOM without having to return to a traditional “brick and mortar” office, he said.

Additionally, the Army has a 75% on-site physical inspection standard by QA personnel, exceeding the Defense Transportation Regulations standard of 50%. The Army currently has an 87% physical inspection rate, meaning a QA inspector provided in-person representation at the time of packing, pick-up or delivery, Abraham said.

Here are the changes that have been implemented since May 2021, as explained by Abraham:

O Improve inventories: “We are working with moving companies to pass hard copies of inventories and use electronic inventories whenever possible. This will provide a better record of the packaging of household items and the condition they were in when they were packed. This effort aims to expedite the process of inventory and accounting for household goods, eliminate the exchange of hard copies and enable the digital transmission and storage of inventory records providing better services to members and families during the move. . Electronic inventories will be mandatory in 2023.”

Pickup Date Choice: “Refined the way Soldiers and Families enter their desired pickup dates, adding the ability for them to choose a preferred day within their requested seven-day pickup window. Also known as name of “staggered dates”, this is the seven-day window that your moving company is required to pick up your shipment. This policy is designed to give you more control over requesting a specific date range to plan your move.

O Moving Company Contact: “The moving company will identify points of contact and email the soldier/family this information to facilitate better communication before, during and after the move, thus improving the overall PCS experience.”

o Claims Simplification: “Creating a standardized form to simplify filing an inconvenience claim across DOD. In addition, military claims offices will be able to report a catastrophic loss of a shipment, regardless of the percentage of items in stock that are lost, damaged or destroyed.In the past, the threshold was 60% of the total shipment.

O Securing your property: “Moving companies are already required to place seals on containers, but we are adding a requirement that customers be notified if any seals are broken, that the seals need to be replaced, and that these actions and communications are noted in the file.”

O Better communication: “Increased availability of service providers over the phone – added requirement for Saturday customer support during peak relocation period; the provider must return calls the same business day and wait times cannot exceed 20 minutes. In addition, movers are required to provide customers with 24 hours notice of delivery and make two attempts to contact the customer, with each attempt at least six hours apart, before transferring the customer’s shipment to the storage in transit.

O More control and choice for the customer: “More time to file a complaint (previously 75 days, now 180 days); simplified handling of convenience complaints; better visibility in transit; single point of contact with removal companies; and have the option of repairing or receiving repair costs for the damage, including the full replacement cost. »

O Personal Removals: Formerly known as DITY – Do-It-Yourself Removals – reimbursement increased to 100% of what it would have cost the government to hire a DOD moving company.

O Inconvenience Claim: “Reimbursement for up to seven days of per diems and incidentals when a removal company fails to pick up or deliver as agreed.”

O The SmartVoucher process reduces travel payments to less than two days.

O The Basic Lodging Allowance rate is in effect at all 40 Intercontinental Hotel Groups Army Hotel locations in the United States through the end of fiscal year 2022.

o IHG has agreed to only charge soldiers at their BAH rate when they must stay in temporary accommodation for extended periods of time due to housing issues or delivery of household goods.

O The Army PCS Move, Digital Garrison and PCS My POV – Private Vehicle apps are free on Google Play and Apple Store.

O Army PCS Move app available on Apple and Android devices – knowledge-based app to help soldiers and families understand the entire process, one-stop-shop for forms, contact information and checklists.

O Strategic communication from senior leaders to the soldier and his family. Examples include PCS Playbook, Personal Property Relocation Advisory Panel and Army Relocation Advisory Committee; communicate options, mitigation measures and communicate directly with families.

O Military One Source is USTRANSCOM’s one-stop-shop for personal property information and systems access: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/moving-housing/moving/pcs-and-military-moves.

O USTRANSCOM Customer Facing Dashboard, https://www.ustranscom.mil/dp3/index.cfm, provides customers with visibility into individual TSP performance.

O MILPER message 22-0045 gives commanders the option to change reporting dates 30 days before or after the initial reporting date, or up to 60 days deferment in conjunction with the Directorate of Human Resources facility for approval.

O Army Virtual Call Center at 800-521-9959, one-stop phone number, extended customer support hours, additional chat capability, and access to 24/7 support through USTRANSCOM.

Despite all of these improvements and the aforementioned challenges, Abraham said the soldier still has a lot to say about the success of a PCS. He advised soldiers to always do the following:

o Once orders are received, report immediately to the facility’s transportation office for advice on household items and to complete shipping requests.

o Communicate challenges with the chain of command early, so they can assist and work with the ITO to identify all possible options to support the soldier and family; Several choices are available to soldiers and families to meet the challenges during their PCS move.

O Provide feedback through the Customer Satisfaction Survey. As of May 15, all customers are now asked to complete a brief SMS survey regarding the various stages of their move – advice on duties, packing/collection, delivery and complaints.

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