MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- Upon taking the helm as Commander, Marine Corps Logistics Bases, April 7, Brig. Gen. Richard S. Kramlich knew that the bar had been set very high in terms of expectations here. For one, elements of Marine Corps Logistics Bases command reach across the North American continent, from Barstow, Calif., to the Blount Island Command in Jacksonville, Fla., and back to Albany.
In addition, the recent creation of Materiel Command combined the capabilities of Headquarters, Materiel Command staff, Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., and Marine Corps Logistics Bases. These organizations merged to form what is now a unique, integrated Materiel Life Cycle Management team.
Fortunately, Kramlich?s predecessor, Maj. Gen. (sel) Jack A. Davis, established a Strategic Plan Working Group to guide the command through the many challenges ahead.
The working group, which consists of individuals selected for their expertise and experience in strategic planning, meet regularly to complete the background work necessary to facilitate the commands leaders in the development of an effective strategic plan for the command.
By adapting the balanced scorecard strategic planning methodology to the requirements of MarCorLogBases, the SPWG has helped the commands leaders better understand many interrelationships throughout the command. This understanding can help transcend traditional beliefs about functional barriers and ultimately lead to improved decision making and problem solving.
The balanced scorecard helps any organization develop a set of measures that gives a fast, but comprehensive view of the organization, said Maj. John Stevens, SPWG officer-in-charge.
The complexity of managing an organization like MarCorLogBases in todays dynamic military and business environment requires that leaders and managers be able to view performance in several areas simultaneously, said Stevens.
During LogBases third Strategic Planning Conference here Aug. 29, Kramlich outlined his vision for MarCorLogBases, which was a vector for the future: a strategic direction aimed at institutionalizing, clarifying, focusing and capitalizing on information gathered by the SPWG, using the balanced scorecard methodology.
Kramlichs vision, a Call For Support, provided the commands leaders and the SPWG an opportunity to get his thoughts about the different perspectives LogBases will use to build its strategic plan. The commander laid out his vision using the balanced scorecard perspectives, aimed at taking the command through the next three to five years.
I trust everyone understands were in the readiness business, Kramlich said about the mission. Its the only reason we exist. Equipment readiness is the single most tangible and readily understandable measure of our support to the war fighter. And with the establishment of Materiel Command, our operating forces now have a single point of contact for all readiness and support issues.
The Commandants message is clear: Our operating forces will be ready when called.
And my message is equally clear, Kramlich emphasized. We will do everything possible to ensure that they are.
There will always be more requirements than funding, Kramlich said in regard to financial issues. So, itll be more important than ever that we analyze the financial impacts of business decisions before we make them.
First and foremost, Kramlich said, our business strategy will drive our financial strategy not the other way around!
The brigadier general regarded customers as a high priority at LogBases.
In the most basic terms, our customers represent revenue and capacity utilization, Kramlich began. And they talk.
So its critical that all our employees understand that our professional reputation depends in large measure on our customers perception of their individual performance.
The bottom line is that our customers will determine whether we succeed or fail, Kramlich said.
Its important we not lose sight of the fact that were in the service business. But perhaps more importantly, we need to understand that our customers now have other options for obtaining these same services.
All we need to do is get the right stuff to the right place at the right time and at the price, Kramlich pointed out. Its just that simple.
As I look ahead, the commander continued, it will be possible to meet the returning Marine Expeditionary Unit commander and immediately swap him good gear for bad.
Well be able to bring his unit back to 100 percent equipment readiness right there on the beach as soon as he [the MEU commander] disembarks.
The commander gave a maintenance math formula: Cost + schedule + quality = business, when discussing his maintenance management vision.
LogBases will focus on production, production, production, Kramlich stressed. And this will drive our repair cycle times into free-fall.
Maritime Prepositioning Forces
Our Maritime Prepositioning Forces have long been acknowledged as the worlds best, Kramlich said. We just need to find ways to keep them that way.
We will continue to look for ways to improve, and we must always guard against complacency, Kramlich continued.
First, the commander began, LogBases is a multi-faceted organization. Its not one-dimensional. So, if you poke a finger into one element, itll protrude from another.
The balanced scorecard recognizes this concept. We need to accelerate the learning curve.
Second, our fighting forces have no equal in the world. Theyre the best because we have the best logisticians in the world supporting them. And were going to make them even better.
When they call for logistics support, theyll know with absolute confidence itll soon be on its way. But we need to be aware that the higher we raise the bar, the more theyll expect. Lets give it to them.
Third, I cant do this alone. I need the help of all our Marines, Sailors and Civilian-Marines. Well need to develop a critical mass of doers to energize the rest of our workforce.
Finally, most know that Im a native of Pennsylvania, so it shouldnt be surprising when I quote Coach Joe Paterno of Penn State. Joe once said, You either change and get better, or you slip and get worse. You cant stay the same.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, were going to change and get better. And now that you know the way lets get on with it!