Lifting the load
Written by Spc. Michael Vanpool
101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs
Fort Campbell, KY – The 101st Sustainment Brigade is receiving new lift systems to make better use of space and cut down on time at the Supply Support Activity at the Eagle Complex here.
The two systems, the Vertical Lift System and STAK, consist of rows of shelves where bins used to be. Smaller forklifts go up the shelves to pull parts for customers.
“Instead of a new facility with more space, you can maximize your storage, and monitor your parts better,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joseph Sweatt, the accountable officer for the SSA, and service and supply officer for the 129th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade.
The SSA issues parts, ranging from computers to engines to tires, to their customers. “About 52 battalions in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), as well as any customer in the division,” Sweatt said.
The warehouse now houses a series of containers and bins with soldiers of the 305th and 227th Quartermaster Companies, 129th CSSB, and civilians from DynCorp International, pulling supplies for their customers that walk through the door.
“All the containers are labeled, basically organized by bins and by location in bins,” said Spc. Eric Dorough, assigned to the SSA, 305th Quartermaster Company, 129th CSSB.
The new systems will replace these bins with shelves and give better ease of motion for the workers here. “It’s the same concept,” Dorough said. “It’s supposed to help us out with storage and consolidate the area.”
The VLS will store the smaller parts on a couple rows of shelves, and an automated forklift will retrieve items.
“It’s basically itemizing the system,” said Pfc. Ransom McElwayne, also assigned to the SSA, with the 305th Quartermaster Company, 129th CSSB. “Instead of us going to a container, we’ll come to a dial pad, type in a location, and the forks will go up automated, pull it out, and bring it down to us. It automates the whole process.”
The whole system moves will the ease of a vending machine, while cutting down on time spent looking for list of parts for each customer.
“Instead of looking from aisle to aisle to aisle,” Sweatt said,” you can pull any part in one station, and it comes to the customer.”
Both of the systems are above industry standard, and they will increase issuing parts by 25 percent as well as increase capacity by 80 percent, Sweatt said.
“If we use this system, we will be ahead of the curve,” he said. “We’ll be able to maximize space, we’re moving along with the times.”
The parts for the new system are rolling through the loading dock this week, with the whole system fully operational by mid-March. The soldiers at the SSA will be able to work the units after some training.