The Chairman's Corner
By Alan Freese
The top military brass is giving heavy consideration to going to a single source move provider by 2021. They have expressed grave concerns that the current platform is not meeting or exceeding expectations. I feel they have thrown their hands up because now with social media, they can’t hide from criticism. The entire DPS program has been a failed experiment, but there is no real mention of that in Gen. Steve Lyons’ letter. The DPS program has largely disconnected the local agent from the military moving process, but it relies heavily on their resources (or lack of) during the peak season. The military doesn’t understand the local agent’s point of view because they never engage the local agent. I have been to the last four (4) PPF meetings and I can tell you that there aren’t more than a handful of agents that don’t operate a SCAC code in the building. They have relied on the TSP to convey the views of the local agent and that has not accurately happened.
At this stage of the game, the military has created a marketplace for SCAC’s that didn’t exist under the TOPS program. With a single source program, that marketplace will likely disappear. The DPS system has never served the local agents or the service members. Without some form of LOI as required in TOPS, there is no accountability or transparency and the local agent is left out in the wind. How many times in the winter do you get a call from a driver or a carrier wanting labor for a pack and haul? That never happened in the days of the LOI because the carriers and the agents had a true relationship that was beneficial to both. That’s how successful partnerships work – both ways right? No relationship survives when only one partner benefits.
Another fault of this program is that every two (2) years the military rolls in / out new leadership. How can the program ever get a head of steam or sense of direction when every time the program manager is just starting to make progress they parachute out? The people in place now are four generations of leadership removed from the days of TOPS. How can you have any relevant conversation or talking points when the poor people have no idea how the program previously worked? If the program is to be successful, the military must invest in personnel in it for the long haul. They can’t rotate out every two years and expect to have a successful program. I can’t think of any moving operation run successfully that way, it just doesn’t work as there is no accountability. Gen. Lyons also doesn’t point out that although they want best commercial practices applied to their program, they don’t appear to want to pay for it. This is a critical reason why local agents don’t participate in the military arena. They are paid for these services for local moves, intrastate moves, interstate moves, international moves, national account moves, but not the military? Why does the military not see this as a deterrent to people performing military work? Shuttles, long carries, stairs, waiting time, attempted deliveries / pickups, extra pickups, segregations, crates, hoisting and all third party services are an oversight in the military system at best, but work great everywhere else. When is the last time you didn’t have to fight tooth and nail for revenue earned under any of these services?
The simple fact is the military has gotten away with being cheap to this point at the cost of local agents with a lack of transparency, now with their emphasis on inconvenience claims and claims in general, who is going to want to perform this work? If you have any endeavors in the military arena, I strongly suggest you get comments and concerns to the CMSA as this can be a game changer for many of us. Let’s all try to be part of the solution. Happy Presidents Day to all, Alan.
February 2019 - CMSA Communicator