Week 3 – Site Visit Leads to Pivot

Beneficiaries Interviews —

GySgt Borbor:

  • Training personnel goes onto MCTIMs to find out who is delinquent on their personal training.
  • Readiness is the Commander’s responsibility but delegated to him
  • Battalion Command asks Company command why Marines aren’t ready, Company command asks Platoon command, Platoon Command asks him.
  • The main problem is not giving Marines enough time to train, procrastination
  • Checks through the list of delinquent Marines for exemptions
  • Pains –
    • A glitch in the system allows Marines who should pass, not pass


CWO2 Ploughoff:

  • DRRS – Defense Readiness Reporting Systems
    • Mandated by Congress
    • Goes to Secretary of Defense
    • When you hit submit, it goes directly to the SecDef. This circumvents higher ranks to avoid tampering.
  • DRRS is frequently used by people to forecast readiness when it actual purpose is to portray past readiness level.
  • RG4 – These are the people who handle equipment reporting. (CWO2 Ploughoff – will send Conor a specific contact.)
  • How he compiles DRRS for the MLG
    • He gets a briefing from PPT decks compiled by the subgroups
    • He then briefs the General
    • He uses the PPT he receives to complete the DRRS that he submits.
  • DRRS is not his main job
    • He has to do this on a monthly basis
    • Currently spends one week/mo. on DRRS
    • It took longer when he first started b/c he did not have a sense of the historical readiness state.  Now it only takes a week to understand what has moved over the past month.
    • Typically a person doing DRRS for a given entity is in the position for about a year.


Sgt Brett:

  • Showed us the GCSS order form and report
  • Some of the current orders for the motor pool he showed us were over 400 days old when after 100 they are supposed to be scrapped.
  • They found a report that had 5 things listed, but the only maintenance report on the request said nothing was wrong.
  • Manually reads each line of the report into an excel doc to be read by maintainers in determining applying maintenance.


Sgt Steven:

  • Showed us MCTIMs, MOL, Marine Net
  • MOL contains all the information about a Marine, including if they are on leave and why
  • MCTIMs takes that information to the level just below the person using it, and compiles all the Marine information, with no differentiation in position.


Capt Bender:

  • Presented us with the idea of readiness not taking data from the correct spots
  • In MCTIMs there are a variety of things he needs to check, but for readiness, there is a simple checklist of if they have completed a given exercise in a certain amount of time
  • Didn’t even know that TCPT would be helpful, showed a bit of the disconnect with our problem.
  • Working on a project to track gas usage, could potentially track the production of the maintenance requests for us and examine it for problems.


MSgt Lemus:

  • Marine’s who are “available” may not actually be available, they may be office jobs, etc.
  • Some of the reported maintenance requests are marked incorrectly (03, Short Staff)
  • Wants us to look into the idea that some of the readiness reporting could be automated

SSgt Gaugh:

  • Head of a motor pool platoon
  • Reports to the Motor Head with readiness report
  • Doesn’t use GCSS or MCTIMS, decides readiness based on an old system


Cpl Koss:

  • Handles the Onboard Vehicle Equipment
  • Uses GCSS to input information about current states of motor pool equipment.
  • Has to manually read information from one area of GCSS to a motor pool spreadsheet


Sgt Blomhoff:

  • Quality Control Clerk
  • Determines the status of trucks with an excel report
  • Reads off GCSS reports to determine the status of trucks,


GySgt Miller:

  • GCSS Clerk at 2nd Maintenance Batallion
  • GCSS is already usable on the maintenance floor, just doesn’t have the capacity to do so with current equipment (WIFI and Computers)
  • Anyone can input into GCSS, but it takes a bit of practice. So a mobile solution would be usable by anyone assuming they did quick training.


Sgt Thomas:

  • TCPT report manager
  • Manually inputs data from MOL to TCPT
  • TCPT is used as a tool that takes in requests for transfer of personnel and equipment between battalions


SSgt Moreland:

  • Works with SSgt Macekjo in the Motor Pool
  • Realizes issues with GCSS and new employees, but for the most part, sees the GCSS issues going away as it becomes more integrated
  • Would like the ability to order parts at the truck side. Knows this is possible, just not enough resources.
  • Recognizes the disconnect between operations and maintenance (i.e. GCSS vs. TCPT) not sure, but believes there could be a significant benefit to a connected system.


Key Insights —

  • Our previous MVP was tested against multiple potential beneficiaries, all with the same outcomes.
    • They would love the ability to order parts on the spot, not have to write up what they need, hand off the paper and then plug it into GCSS
    • HOWEVER. GCSS Marine Corps already is capable of this on the Marine’s Toughbooks, they just don’t have the number of computers or WIFI capabilities yet. All of this is on the way, meaning any improvements we make will either be replaced or compete with an existing system, not adding any significant value.


  • They have five different systems that we know of for keeping track of some form of readiness. These systems are all stand alone, which is fine from a data perspective but means they are just using these systems for bookkeeping and nothing more.


  • Readiness is currently reported at the platoon level and this number that they come up with, independently, is passed up to the company level and compiled by another SSgt and then passed up to the MLG level and compiled by a staff NCO. But that number that comes up from the platoon is one: super subjective and nonuniform, 80% readiness in one platoon may not be the same as 80% in another. And two: is very difficult for the CG or anyone else to look further into because they have to go into the platoon level and look through a spreadsheet that keeps this information.


  • That spreadsheet is really two spreadsheets, one called an alpha report, it is made from an SSgt going into MCTIMS and figuring out what people in his platoon are available and how much training they’ve received. He also generates a GCSS report which says what vehicles are down and makes edits to the existing spreadsheet contains all the existing equipment and marks stuff down that is out of commission.


  • All this readiness data that need to compile these numbers and that the CG wants are available via various systems, (equipment-GCSS, personnel – MCTIMS, availability-TCPT) but computers can do a lot more than just bookkeeping. This data is all out there, being read manually into spreadsheets, sporadically compiled, and then put back into a computer for presentation. We just need to be able to automate one little aspect of the readiness reporting first, then another and eventually all of it.

Key Decisions —

  • We are considering a pivot as our Value Proposition failed and we have more potential to be extremely helpful to the Marines in both saving the time of manually inputting millions of rows on excel sheets a year, as well as the ability to accurately and uniformly report readiness and capabilities.
  • We will need to dive deeper into this issue by talking to some of the platoon leaders who are responsible for reporting their readiness to determine how they currently formulate these numbers.
  • We will need to speak to some of the TCPT clerks as well as the GCSS clerks to understand how we can make them talk to each other.
  • We will need to speak to as many different IT professionals to determine our initial limits on what data they will give us access to.
  • The idea is to automate this at the platoon level, and if successful as well as helpful, begin to automate many of them and eventually all.

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2019 at 4:15 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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