The Chairman's Corner
By Alan Freese
Here we go…It’s been a busy couple of weeks since I last sat down to write this column. Traveling to St. Louis, Missouri for the Military Fall PPF can be difficult at times, but the weather was good and the dialogue at the PPF even better. It was interesting to hear the military asking us, the moving industry, to provide “radical” ideas in hopes of averting some of the pitfalls they faced this year moving forward. I came to the reasonable conclusion that the social media sword doesn’t just swing at the movers, The PPSOs and JPPSOs fell under the same scrutiny this summer and they didn’t like it. The best story RDML Clarke told during his briefing was of a General scheduled to receive his HHGs, only to have his crew of three all arrested at the gate and hauled away, leaving his delivery for another day.
I know it can be very frustrating in the military arena with each base commander given the authority to raise or lower their base access as they see fit. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a standardized background system? Everybody would benefit, especially the service members. I think that first and foremost, the military has to understand with the unemployment rate where it’s at, many people aren’t willing to perform this type of work. It’s physically and mentally (especially if you work for me) challenging and not very attractive to the average Joe looking to put in eight hours a day. It does take a special breed of cat to do this day in and day out, between customers and coworkers it can be demanding as the goal posts are constantly moving on a daily basis. It was brought up over and over at the Fall PPF “How do we increase capacity?” At the same time, they shared with us how severely understaffed they (the military) are in their offices. Amazing to me is that we have the same issue, but what they call staffing, we call capacity. The difference is we have to perform and can’t hide behind blanket statements. When we fail to provide service, the first thing that happens is they want to punish us. When they fail at their end, it’s just considered the cost of doing business. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
On the bright side of things, I will be attending the IAM annual meeting this next week, and Col. Ralph Lounsbrough, the USTRANSCOM program manager, has agreed to meet with myself, CMSA President Steve Weitekamp and a few others to further the conversation of having members of local agencies have a seat at the “hot wash” table to address problems from the agency side, not just the TSP side. Col. Lounsbrough understands that problems of local agents can be significantly different from a TSP’s problems. He also understands that the local agents at both origin and destination can have a great impact on how a shipper feels and scores their move. With all of this being said, the time is ripe for us, the local agents, to finally have a voice at the table and work towards solving some of these industry inherent problems. Let’s all pray this works out. I feel the local agents can solve far more problems than we create if given the opportunity to do so.
In closing, I would like to thank Thomas McCarthy for taking the time to travel to St. Louis and attending the Fall PPF as well. Thomas is a great asset to the CMSA, even though he doesn’t know how to buy lunch. Please don’t forget my Chairman’s Choice Charity, St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital. They do the most with the least. Please donate at https://www.gofundme.com/cmsa-chairmans-choice. Thank you to all. I look forward to kicking off my chapter tours next week. See you soon, Alan.
October 2018 - CMSA Communicator