SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) San Diego Material Handling Equipment (MHE) team is hard at work this May, working side-by-side with fleet Sailors aboard Naval Base Coronado to ensure their equipment is in prime condition to satisfy mission requirements.
Currently, there are more than 50 different types of MHE - commonly referred to as "Yellow gear" - utilized throughout the Navy, ranging from different types of pallet jacks and forklifts to loading platforms, tractors and cranes.
"Ships rely on MHE to load, offload and move large objects and palletized items like food, spare parts, ordnance and more," said MHE Regional Manager Matthew Kinsell. "Ashore commands also rely on the equipment to help move and store products and materials safely and efficiently. So in the grand scheme of things, we have a huge impact on the fleet's overall readiness and on their ability to meet their missions successfully as they operate forward."
The NAVSUP FLC San Diego MHE team plays a pivotal role in ensuring its customers within Navy Region Southwest are working with up-to-par equipment by assisting NAVSUP Weapons Systems Support (WSS) in identifying equipment requirements, issuing new or overhauled MHE, maintaining the WSS-owned pool of MHE inventory to service the needs of 45 afloat customers and a handful of shore commands, identifying sources for maintenance and repair when needed, and teaching fleet Sailors firsthand and in-person how to maintain and repair their equipment through innovative "Self-help" support.
"We are their boots-on-the-ground regional manager for the Southwest region," said Fleet Operations Deputy Director Theresa Magnuson. "We are the conduit, the interface, between the equipment owner and their customers, and we have established very close working relationships with these Sailors and commands, so we know exactly what their needs are."
Every day at the MHE yard, the 10-person NAVSUP FLC San Diego team works one-on-one with fleet Sailors to perform preventive maintenance, repairs, testing and certification on their gear. By training and instructing them in mechanical procedures on site, the MHE team increases the Navy's capabilities by ensuring Sailors return to their commands with ready-for-issue gear and a sharpened, augmented skillset.
"Our 'Self-help' program lets us teach these Sailors how to maintain and repair their own gear, whether they're in port or thousands of miles away on the open seas," said Magnuson. "It is important that the crews of these ships are self-sufficient when they're away at the tip of the spear. That's why we put in all the work here ahead of time; we train them to be ready to do it themselves where the mission takes them."
As America's Navy builds a bigger fleet, the MHE team's level of support is expected to increase. To keep the Navy's MHE readiness at optimal warfighting levels, NAVSUP FLC San Diego and WSS work collaboratively within the Naval Supply Systems Command enterprise. NAVSUP serves as the lead supply support provider for the Navy and remains the sea service's Title 10 leader for supply chain management, keeping warfighters around the world trained-up, equipped, and ready to fight and win at a moment's notice.
In turn, NAVSUP FLC San Diego's efforts not only minimize equipment breakdown and keep equipment in optimum condition, but they also help save taxpayer dollars by maximizing and extending MHE service life while reducing the high costs involved in replacing unmaintained or inoperable equipment.
"It's much more beneficial for us to keep the Navy's equipment inspected, serviced, repaired and inventoried in good working order than it would be for us to see a need for replacement of gear that was not properly maintained and expired prematurely," said Kinsell.
As the Navy adapts to an increasingly competitive security environment, the NAVSUP enterprise has initiated a massive reform overhaul, focusing on reforming business practices, streamlining requirements and ensuring it meets the fleet's changing needs as the demand for increased capability takes center stage. As part of that endeavor, the NAVSUP FLC San Diego MHE team is working diligently with type commanders and partnering activities to improve MHE-related financial databases and inventory procedures for the nearly 400 pieces of yellow gear in its pool, with a sharp eye kept on accountability and accuracy.
"On a ship, you need to be able to move material from Point A to Point B," said Kinsell. "You have to know where that equipment is and know that it works to be able to do that. Without MHE, how are you going to load a truck to ship critical parts to the warfighter waiting for them to get their equipment back on-line? How are stocking points going to receive and put their gear away? You've got to have ready, working MHE to receive, load, stow, and issue. It's a non-negotiable necessity in warfighting and overall readiness."
The MHE crew conducts between 85 and 130 maintenance actions at the MHE yard each month, in addition to performing site visits for afloat commands to evaluate the material condition of their gear. NAVSUP FLC San Diego's solid working relationships with fleet customers enables the logistics powerhouse to better assist in helping to keep shipboard programs running smoothly as the Navy's warships deploy in support of global security.
NAVSUP FLC San Diego is one of eight FLCs under Commander, NAVSUP. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and employing a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP's mission is to provide supplies, services, and quality-of-life support to the Navy and joint warfighter. Learn more at www.navsup.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/navsup and https://twitter.com/navsupsyscom.
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