USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman's (CVN 75) Supply Department reached $1 million dollars in sales Nov. 27, marking the feat in a record six-and-a-half weeks into deployment.
The $1 million milestone is not unheard of, but the incredible thing is how quickly the ship achieved it. In the past, it normally took about eight weeks to reach that amount.
According to Master Chief Ship's Serviceman Richard Smith, S-3 division leading chief petty officer, the accomplishment is an indicator of just how in touch with the crew the ship's store is.
"This is a major milestone for our customers. It's evident we have something they want, and that is what the ship's store is about: being in tune with our customers," said Smith.
Money spent at the ship's stores filters straight back to the Sailors and Marines aboard.
"We like to encourage our shipmates by letting them know when they buy with us, the money comes back to them," said Smith. "When you buy from the ship store, you invest in our own MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation), whether it's tickets for tours or discounts on cruise books. MWR is the key recipient of the profits."
"Our ultimate goal is to make $1 million in one month," said Lt. Lori Cody, Truman sales officer. "In order to obtain our goal, the crew will get the opportunity to purchase some of our new items in the ship's store as well as on the mess decks. We're going to try and have periodic sales, and hopefully the new items will help us reach that goal."
Much of what helped the ship's stores to reach this landmark is the input of all the crew members of Truman and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3.
"'Marketing 101' is finding out what the customer wants and giving it to them," said Smith. "Outside every outlet we have a suggestion corner, and once a month we have a ship's store advisory meeting, and that is when the crew really gets heard."
"We ask, listen and act upon all the input given to us," added Chief Ship's Serviceman Scott Nester. "We have such a diverse crew, so before we order new merchandise, everyone in the office gets together to brainstorm. There is no one person ordering."
Recently these brainstorms have led to the ordering of a variety of new merchandise that fits the needs of Sailors and Marines.
"Some of the new things we are getting are Lladros (Spanish porcelain figurines), Swaouski (crystal figurines), Bath and Body Works, laptops and Bose sound systems," said Cody. "We also get new CDs every month."
The sales office not only focuses on the sales of the ship's store, but also organizes Navy Exchange Concessionaires coming aboard Truman.
"None of the sales from the vendors helped us reach $1 million, but a percentage of those sales does go to MWR," said Nester.
The ship's servicemen who work in the ship's stores coordinate with every division in supply department to keep the stores stocked and running smoothly. While the ship's storekeepers and postal clerks track merchandise orders and ensure it all gets to the ship, temporary additional duty personnel assigned to the ship's stores assist with breakouts and restocking the shelves.
"Behind the scenes, I don't think people really know the amount of work it takes for ship's servicemen to reach this goal," said Nester. "We sell about 200 cases of soda a day and $2,000 worth of candy in the vending machines. Considering most of your candy costs 50 cents, it takes a lot of time and effort to keep the machines full."
The supply department relies on all of Truman's Sailors and Marines to help them reach their ultimate goal. With the $1 million milestone reached, and anticipation of the results of the Best Ship's Store Sales and Service Award, the collaboration seems to be paying off.
For related news, visit the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75.