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Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
A penny saved is a penny earned

By Lance Cpl. Rose A. Muth | | June 16, 2005

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Many of today’s inventions came from simple ideas put into motion by people who had a plan to improve technology or to help change the world. Although technology is constantly changing, the Marine Corps is trying to stay on top of the high-tech market.

Marine Corps Logistics Command has been in charge of the Beneficial Suggestion Program since January 1, 2002 and has received hundreds of suggestions to help improve the Marine Corps in some way.

“The program is for any Marine or contractor to submit their suggestions to us,” said Lee Aaron, logistics management specialist, Business Performance Assessment and Integration Office, Logistics Command. “If you type ‘beneficial suggestions’ into any Internet search engine, the Marine Corps’ Web page is the first to come up.”

The program was started in 1986 to offer an incentive for all Marines to pass their suggestions up their chains of command. The Marine has to be able to present their suggestion, show a step-by-step proposal and then submit it. 

“If the person who submits their idea gets approved, the amount of money is decided through ‘tangible’ and ‘intangible’ benefits,” said Shirley Stiles, program administrator, Business Performance Assessment and Integration Office, LogCom. “Tangible benefits can be measured in dollars saved, and intangible benefits can’t.”

According to Marine Corps Order 1650.17F, the only way a person can receive an award for their suggestion is if the idea is “outside of job responsibilities or sufficiently beyond job responsibilities.”

“We had a staff sergeant submit an idea to replace plastic switches on generators that kept blowing out in Iraq,” Stiles said. “He found a metal switch to replace it and since he sent it in and did the research. We found out it was working out in the desert, and did the cost analysis to see how many tangible savings there were. He won a cash reward after it was approved.”

The process for a suggestion to get approved or disapproved can be long or short depending on what the idea is trying to improve.

“We get ideas through e-mails or letters, and I put them into a sub-data base,” said Robin Wimberly, management analyst, Business Performance and Integration Office, LogCom. “After it is received it is put into a folder and an analyst is assigned. The analyst reviews the technical aspect or whatever the case may be for the suggestion, and then the suggestion is approved or disapproved.  If the idea is approved it has to be signed off to be implemented.”

Although the program has been around for over a decade, many people are not sure what the Beneficial Suggestion Program is or have never heard of it at all.

“Many people think that we are a paper program,” Stiles said. “The program is designed to help update the technology we have and to improve Marine Corps effectiveness and efficiency. We are good stewards for tax dollars.”

There are 144 suggestions opened in the system right now, and around 230 suggestions in the database according to Wimberly.

“The length of time it takes for a suggestion to be approved or disapproved depends on the suggestion,” Stiles said. “It can be closed immediately if it’s in our jurisdiction, or it may take a while.”

“We also do a follow up with the person who submitted their idea every month to let them know the status of their suggestion,” Aaron said. “If the idea is approved or disapproved, we send a letter up the person’s chain of command to let them be recognized for their efforts. If the idea is approved, the person receives a tote bag full of goodies.”

With the technology changing from day-to-day keeping up with the market can be very hard.

“The Marines have great ideas and they surprise us with the complexities of their ideas,” Aaron said. “Without their input we would not be able to improve.”

To submit a suggestion or for more information on the Beneficial Suggestion Program call 639-5576 or go to www.logcom.usmc.mil/benesuggs.
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