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Week 8 – Progress on Phase 2

Key Insights and Decisions

Going into this week, here were the two hypotheses we intended to examine:


  1. Would an automated equipment inventory and vehicle checks provide value to Operators and QC Chiefs?


It really depends on what we do with it. By simply making the process automated, i.e. some sort of app that just allows them to select from options, we won’t save much time on the floor. However, we would be able to make information much more accurate and be processed faster. As we progress to more sophisticated technology, such as scanning or image recognition, we would be able to significantly cut into the time spent doing this. Every day they have to start every vehicle and they do inventory multiple times a month. If eventually, these processes can take place without 1) time spent by Marines and 2) human error, it would be an incredible achievement and have impacts far beyond the individual companies but would save thousands of hours within companies.


  1. Having the ability to upload status’ of vehicles with a mobile device would save time and provide greater reporting accuracy.

There are many applications that a scanner or computer vision project would have in terms of improving the maintenance floors logistics, among which are vehicle checks, service requests, and LTI replacements. The primary beneficiaries differ by area of help but virtually every area of the Maintenance Battalion would benefit from some aspect. In all aspects, we have gotten relatively positive feedback regarding how much they would help, but we need to drill further into how exactly that would be accomplished. The goal eventually would be to combine all of these into a single autonomous system that removes human error and bias from the reporting and assignment process.


Next Week: We will be heading down to Camp Lejeune to actually meet with these potential beneficiaries. Our plan is to narrow down on the inventory checking if that proves to be as big of a problem as we believe, however, as we learned last time we were at Lejeune, the issues we believe exist may be a bit off base from what are actually present. So we are hoping to get a closer look at these areas.


Gunny List:

  • Wants us down there now. “Can’t understand it until you see it”
  • For barcodes on equipment:
    • He is planning on getting external barcodes and gluing them on or etching them into each piece of equipment.
    • Another option could be to use computer vision. There is a toolbox they use now that does the same thing with tools in a toolbox.
  • For developing an app, whatever we do, the most important thing to think about is what happens when it breaks.
  • GCSS/LTI – Reports for LTIs can be exported to Excel
    • Idea would be to have each shop set up an automatic report generation that automatically gets dropped into a folder. Our program would read from that folder into a mobile platform to output tasks to everyone on the shop floor


MSgt Richard:

  • Ops Chief: Been trained on motor vehicle operations since he first came into the Marines. Doles out equipment and personnel for missions.
  • He picks the time to do equipment checks and the Maintenance Chief actually determines what they do.
  • OVE check not really a thing. There is an OVE (SL3) NCO who does it all, this is assigned by Ops. Chief.
  • Has been involved in many conversations for automating parts of what we’re looking at with off the shelf trucks. Data is captured by a piece of paper is the part that needs to be changed. Wasting time by doing it. Also, there is a risk that it doesn’t get discovered.
  • An app that allows people to submit requests in some form would be awesome as what often happens is that many people don’t report things and it doesn’t get reported until 3 or 4 people down the line.
  • Mishap report module and that allow the Dispatcher to update service requests. Our app could make this connect to GCSS. The connection between the two systems is two way.
  • Connecting the systems would be a huge win… Funny we didn’t even have to mention it.


Cpl Stotsenberg

  • He is the GCSS specialist for his Motor Ops group.
  • One of the big headaches he has is operations that need to be addressed for several different vehicles such as a new modification.  The request to modify each vehicle has to be done individually and takes 10-15 minutes. It would be great if he could enter the request and associate several serial numbers.
  • OVE checks are done and maintained via paper records that are kept in the vehicle jacket. Supposedly the checks are being done daily.  However, last year he had to order a bunch of miscellaneous equipment over a short time period. This indicated that the checks had not really been getting done properly.
  • Vehicle checks face problems similar to the above.  Recently they found a broken window that likely had been that way for more than 24 hours.  That lead to back tracing through the paper reports to find who had been doing the checks and who had been signing-off on their work.
  • He believes an app to help manage OVE and daily maintenance checks would make things easier for the operator. It would also make things easier for him as reading handwriting for the service requests is often problematic.


Scott Frederick

    • Background
      • Used to be a Cobra pilot, became finance (disbursing) officer @1st MLG
      • Speak to Congressional leaders, deal with fiscal inquiries
        • Considered special staff
    • Finance Officer is only at the highest level
      • Can be either disbursing officer + Comptroller
      • Two Types of Finance Officers
        • Comptroller = getting money from Congress, disburse the money down to the units, typically pass money to supply officers
        • Disbursing = quartermaster pays Marines, pays out travel allowances
    • Battle Command Display (requested not to specify which units)
      • USMC and other branches are still using paper to keep track of most things
        • Frederick is aware of some commands in USMC developing readiness dashboards
        • Ex: Commander sticks CAC card into the computer, open up BCD, looks at entire MLG, motor pool will have yellow/green/red code (e.g. air filters, only have five, but system wants 8 at all times)
      • Knows of limited working prototypes developed in-house + private contractors working in this space
    • Advice
      • Look into Yardi
        • The massive company that creates dashboard-type software for the private sector
      • Commercial real estate software
        • Poke around, they have a couple of tools
        • Real estate management is very similar to military readiness
          • Property Management
          • Asset Management.
    • Wing version of MLG’s?
      • MAL’s
        • Cherry Point, NC (jets)
        • New River, NC (choppers)
    • GCSS Programming
      • Best way to contact them is through the MLG, need their approval to speak
    • Network Outages App
      • Everything needs to work in war


  • Get a physical output feature of some kind


  • A dashboard should print out a physical report that he’s used to seeing
    • Ask CG (or whatever level of leadership) what he’d want on his report + how current

Lt. Chris Gierl

    • Works for Chief of Naval Operations (2mo)
      • “HR consultant” in the Pacific NW
      • Surface, submarine, etc. forces
      • Inherent Resolve works for rescue in F-18
    • Navy F-18 Maintenance/Inventory
      • “X of Y part”
      • Probably more high tech than the Marine Corps
      • UMA (TCPT for USN planes)
        • Each plane has a binder that has the plane’s maintenance history
        • Kept updated and old things cycled out, but papers still kept and backed into the database
        • Haven’t really addressed what would happen if that database became inaccessible; very little trust in IT infrastructure; leadership believes they could survive on their own if need be for a while
      • Not digitized in terms of input


  • The app should have the capacity to print from the device, even before upload


    • Output
      • Not quite sure how clean it is
      • Can see where parts are and reach out to get it
      • Just used an excel sheet and projected it on the wall for maintenance
    • Connectivity
      • Being on a boat/sub isn’t ideal for connectivity
        • Collect inputs, cache them, and then inputted into the system when the connection returns
        • Becoming more paperless, uploaded to a database, transmitted when possible, paper reports printed out
      • Have had IT people make scripts and optimize systems talking to one another
        • Think just having one system would be helpful
  • Advice
    • Why do two databases? Try and change that, if possible
    • Intermediate game plan
      • What will get us to our final destination? What is step B?
    • Would assume the aviation side of Marines would similar to USN

GySgt. Sanchez (Ops Chief), Sgt. Chris (Chief dispatcher), Cpl Pena (GCSS), Cpl Valez (GCSS Chief), Cpl Gonez (Dispatcher), LCpl Berg (QC), LCpl Michskari (QC), Cpl Miles (QC)

    • Operations Chief
      • Ensure day to day operations are completed effectively
      • Works directly under Cpt. Hatchet (company commander)
      • Oversee GCSS Chief + Chief Dispatcher + QC
    • Preventative Maintenance Check (PM)
      • Take a manual (pictures/checklist) out to the vehicles and go down the list; write down anything out of place
    • OVE
      • Two types of check: one if it’s going on the road vs. one if it’s not
        • Going on Road (TMR)
          • Only need to check 3 pieces of equipment
            • Emergency triangles, first aid kit, fire extinguisher; no matter what
            • Depending on load, more equipment might be needed (e.g. chains for cargo)
          • Checklist records equipment taken on a mission; same form with different things checked off depending on mission
      • Monthly OVE checks
        • Every vehicle/trailer in the motor pool has an inventory sheet/record jacket
        • Inventory sheet has pictures/checklist, work down the list
    • Time Costs
      • Road Check/QC
        • 1 hour/vehicle
        • The purpose is safety, checked 1x before it leaves, 1x after it comes back
        • 15-20/day, 30 min x2
      • PM’s
        • 0.5-1 hour/vehicle
        • 10-15 Marines, all week (400-600 hours)
      • OVE Inventory
        • Depends on the vehicle (15min-2 hours)
        • 10-15 Marines, all week (400-600 hours)
    • Concerns about the Scanner
      • Concerned about getting screwed if the network goes down and they’re relying on an app
      • It would help speed things up, but it still takes a Marine to go out there and physically check; system integration would help several times more (“day and night”)
    • Wants
      • Want vehicle TCPT status updated automatically
      • Want GCSS and TCPT to talk more (our original prototype)
      • Equipment status changes all the time, so it’s incredibly difficult to keep updating the status of everything manually on two systems at once
    • Motor Pool Company Organization
      • Operations Chief
        • Truck Master
          • Chief Dispatcher
            • 2x Dispatchers
        • GCSS Chief
          • Opens and closes all service requests
          • Orders all of the equipment (supply chain)
          • Pena, Williams, Valez
        • QC
          • Heavily engaged in dispatching procedure
          • 3 Marines
      • 1st Sgt.
        • Admin
      • Platoon Commander


  • Two motor pool companies (3 driver platoons each, 1 ops platoon each)


      • Platoon Sergeant
      • Oversee 55 Marines (drivers, fuel operators, vehicle recovery)
    • XO
      • Admin focus (similar to 1st Sgt.)

1st Lt. Sanchez

  • SMU is the unit responsible for actually delivering equipment needs.
  • Existing solutions for tracking inventory in commercial space such as how Amazon or USPS track inventory could be interesting to compare with. A concern is that the Marine Corps is too unique in how they do things.
  • Image Recognition and Scanning
    • Image Recognition – Only way this would be helpful is if it was actually accurate. — Obviously a goal…
    • Scanning – They need it to be durable and flexible. It needs to be able to withstand any number of problems.
  • For a prototype, try  MWSS or CLB/TSB/ELB because of the amount of gear
    • Each of these segments is responsible for “an insane amount of gear”
    • If we want to try our solution in one place, a company that uses a lot of gear is the perfect place to try it. She would be willing to let us use her company.
  • Engineering vs. Motor Transport
    • Engineering: Bravo in TAM, they handle it better, look there. You can’t just merge it because there are many differences.
    • Motor Transport: Delta in TAM, has always been the worst because of the quantity and type of equipment used.
    • Alpha and Charlie equipment are Comms and Weaponry, much smaller and less volatile. Procedures for handling this equipment is likely not applicable to Delta.


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