DoD vehicle moving program declared a success

The success of a pilot program for moving military service members' personal vehicles when they change duty stations is sparking interest in outsourcing other aspects of the Defense Department's moving process.

Two years ago, DoD's Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) decided it needed better service from moving companies. At the time, 77 percent of military personnel said they were dissatisfied with DoD's moving services. Moves paid for by DoD resulted in damage claims a quarter of the time and claims for damage cost DoD $100 million in 1997.

As part of an effort to address the problems, DoD awarded a two-year, $394 million contract to a single company to handle the estimated 75,000 privately owned vehicles that are shipped annually by Defense agencies.

"Before October 1998, we had a slew of companies that we dealt with to move these vehicles and this would require sometimes working with one company or sometimes two or three or four or five to get a car to its destination point," said MTMC spokesman John Randt.

Since American Auto Logistics Inc., based in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., took over the Global Privately Owned Vehicle contract for DoD, the customer satisfaction rate has increased to 99 percent, according to Randt.

"The vehicle turn-in sites are no longer at military bases," Randt said, describing how the vehicle shipping service has changed in the past two years. "Now we have them in commercial, well-accessible areas; they are near points of entry and exit in the country."

The new contracts also require direct claims settlement at full value for damaged goods. In the past, employees had to work through DoD and received only a reimbursement for 60 percent of the value of damaged goods.

Randt said the apparent success of this project has caused some re-thinking about how services are provided in other areas.

"This contract is really a model for what we are doing, and there may be more of this," he said.

Now, the questions posed when officials are trying to decide how best to provide a service are "is this something the government or a soldier should be doing or indeed, is this something that a contractor should be doing?" Randt said.

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