FLW first Army installation to use RFID for uniform issue Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 April 2014
Story and photos by Melissa Buckley
GUIDON staff
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   Fort Leonard Wood is the first Army installation to implement Radio Frequency Identification technology to inventory uniform items and speed up the issuing process when Soldiers-in-training receive their initial uniform issue.  

According to Lt. Col. Doug Miller, Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Fort Leonard Wood received the technology due to the leadership’s forward thinking.
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Doug Deloach, AdvanTech project manager, installs one of three smart tables that will record the uniform contents of a Soldier-in-training’s bag.

“Fort Leonard Wood is the first Army installation to receive this technology, because they have been the most proactive (about acquiring the system) since word about Radio Frequency Identification got out there,” Miller said.

The Air Force and Marine Corps Recruit Training Centers started implementing the RFID system in 2009.

RFID is the wireless transmission of data by identifying and tracking coded tags attached to objects. Eventually, every piece of clothing that is stored in the Clothing Initial Issue Point will have an RFID tag.

The RFID system is designed to improve inventory accuracy, reduce recruit uniform issue time and reduce shipment receipt and physical inventory times.

Miller was on post last week with crews from AdvanTech and SRA International, Inc., installing the system at the 43rd Adjutant General Battalion’s CIIP.  

The RFID system automates how the uniform items are received in the warehouse, practically taking away the human factor during the final inventory of the Soldier’s issued clothing items.  

When the Fort Leonard Wood CIIP receives a shipment of uniform items from the warehouse, a forklift removes a pallet and passes through reading towers at the dock. The readers identify the RFID tags on the pallets and record the contents of each box on the pallet. These items are added to the inventory list in the CIIP database.   

“Warehouse personnel will not need to manually check and physically count the items
received. Also, the clothing and footwear items are receipted into the CIIP inventory at this point and will not require manually processing of the receipt into the inventory system,” said Denver Williams, Clothing Initial Issue Point, Logistics Readiness Center, manager.

This will improve inventory accuracy and reduce lost or unaccounted for inventory meaning millions of dollars of savings each year,” Miller said.  

This also means savings in time and paperwork at the CIIP and less time spent unloading and processing the contents of the trucks.  

At Lackland Air Force Base Recruit Training Center, Texas, the RFID system reduced the incoming inventory processing time from four hours to 30 minutes, according to Miller.

When a Soldier arrives at the CIIP for their initial uniform issue, RFID technology speeds up the process.   

Currently, Soldiers dump out their bags and have a drill sergeant verify the bag’s contents.  

Miller said the new method is much more high-speed.  

“The Soldier will set his or her bag on one of the RFID Smart Tables. The reader will read all of the tags in the bag and identify the contents. This process takes about five seconds. If everything is accurate, the Soldier’s records are updated, and he or she leaves,” Miller said.

“If the Soldier is missing anything, has too many of something, or has the wrong items, like two different sized boots or uniform items, the system will flag the Soldier’s issue and he or she will fix it as needed.”   

Recruit-issue times at Lackland Air Force Base Recruit Training Center were reduced from more than two hours to about 45 minutes, according to Miller.  

Miller said this is partly because the RFID system dramatically cuts down on service members initially receiving incorrect items.  

“When we did our RFID Road Show at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, we watched a company of Marines go through the process — of the approximately 100-plus Marines who went through, only three had any discrepancies. Two had not enough physical training shorts, and one didn’t have enough t-shirts.”

Once the Soldier completes the table scan, the CIIP’s inventory is updated to reflect the items issued.

According to Miller, Fort Leonard Wood should be able to start full implementation of the system by the end of this summer.  

“We are currently working the contract to have the warehouse tag all of the items in their inventory as well as the items on hand at the Fort Leonard Wood CIIP,” Miller said.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 07 May 2014 )