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Tracking Sensitive Item Maintenance

Tracking the required maintenance of sensitive items has always been a challenge for the unit commander. During modernization, the Army must automate manually performed tasks to improve the reporting of readiness status. One idea presented to the Army’s Supply and Maintenance Assessment and Review Team (SMART) program suggests improving maintenance tracking of sensitive items by using the Standard Army Maintenance System-1 (SAMS–1) and the Unit Level Logistics System-Ground (ULLS–G).

Regulations require units to inspect reportable sensitive items for accountability, cleanliness, and serviceability on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. They also require units to maintain equipment according to the equipment’s technical manuals.

Logistics automation systems can track a wider variety of equipment for maintenance than they do currently. By using written references to clarify command responsibilities, maintenance units can use automated maintenance tracking for a broader baseline of equipment. Department of the Army guidelines require units and activities to comply with each automated system’s user manual. Commanders also must comply with regulatory physical security policies, procedures, and guidance when setting up ways to track the frequency of sensitive item maintenance.

During tracking, it is critical to avoid producing questionable status resulting from improperly conducted or overlooked tasks. ULLS–G, SAMS–1, and the new Enterprise transition system, SAMS–E (Enhanced), are designed not only to support ground maintenance tracking but also to support and sustain other day-to-day operations. These systems send automatic alerts to the user and maintainer about pending actions for equipment listed in the database. ULLS–G, SAMS–1, and SAMS–E accept crucial identification data, such as the national stock number, line item number, and quantity, for all types of equipment to enable an expanded automated unit maintenance program.

ULLS provides automated procedures for performing limited TAMMS (The Army Maintenance Management System) functions and managing standard maintenance facility operations. SAMS provides automated procedures for performing and managing some TAMMS functions for direct support and general support maintenance operations. Including property accountability and supply system data on maintenance support automated system databases greatly simplifies the initial maintenance scheduling process. Adopting this procedure brings the added benefit of increased safety directly attributable to the improved review processes provided by TAMMS.

Units using Army logistics automation systems benefit from enhanced accountability and accuracy and increased Soldier safety. In the requisitioning process, generating want slips between maintenance and supply will create an accounting capability for support products such as weapons cleaning supplies and equipment. This process closes the loop on supply class spending by creating a “for record” account in automation systems, removing these items from the “untracked expendable transactions” category.

Unit maintenance improvement is a three-step process. The first step is for the commander to direct the standing operating procedure (SOP) changes needed to promote a partnership between the arms room or supply activity and the maintenance section in which ULLS–G, SAMS–1, and SAMS–E are located. Next, the relevant hand receipt information is loaded into the appropriate database. The third step is to schedule periodic maintenance according to the guidance in applicable technical or operator manuals.

The initial setup process for using ULLS–G, SAMS–1, and SAMS–E in the maintenance shop is labor intensive. However, the proven benefits of saving Soldiers’ time and Army funds make the effort worthwhile. With broader use as tools for sensitive item maintenance, these automated systems will provide excellent service as general equipment-tracking tools. If a command supports the use of these supply and maintenance automated systems, this SMART idea will enhance the defense capability of the Army on the modern battlefield.

Terence Lee Brooks is a logistics management specialist at the Army Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee, Virginia.