NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Sigonella’s Innovative Planning Improves Postal Operations in Europe and Africa

By Tia Nichole McMillen, Office of Corporate Communications
NAVSUP FLC Sigonella

Lt. Derek Roncaioli and Logistics Specialist Second Class Petty Officer Alberto Brown on the ground in Faslane, U.K., in support of Exercise Saxon Warrior. Here, they use organic Royal Navy assets from the Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff to transport 700 pounds of cargo and mail for loading on the USS Truxtun (DDG 103). –photo by Tia Nichole McMillen

 

Mail call is a highlight of most Sailors’ days, especially when stationed overseas. As the Navy’s postal professionals, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Sigonella vastly improved postal operations in Europe and Africa within the last year.

2017 marked the first year that there were no backlogs in mail inbound from the continental United States (CONUS) or outbound to CONUS from the Europe and Africa area of operations. Commanding Officer of NAVSUP FLC Sigonella, Capt. Dion English said, “Postal operations have a direct impact on morale and need to run seamlessly. My team conducted research, employed innovative thinking, and built authentic partnerships to quickly and effectively improve operations in Italy and across Europe and Africa.”

In order to make improvements, the team first identified the problems. Traditionally, holiday mail is delayed either as a result of customs delays or because of airline capacity. In 2015 and 2016, the team noted mail delays or stoppage due to Italian customs, directly relating to 125 kilograms of daily backlog during the peak holiday season. The solution was clear–improve relationships with Italian customs and secure more space on carrier generated routes.

“We function in a time where you have to do more with less– you have to learn from the past and use innovative measures to plan for the future,” said Tommie Tate, Regional Postal Manager, NAVSUP FLC Sigonella. “Our business is constantly changing and growing, and NAVSUP FLC Sigonella is at the helm of providing quality of life support through programs such as postal delivery to support the warfighter in Europe and Africa.”

As the Navy’s postal professionals, NAVSUP FLC Sigonella vastly improved postal operations in Europe and Africa within the last year. –photo by Tia Nichole McMillen

In August, the NAVSUP FLC Sigonella postal team started negotiations with the local airlines to increase the amount of space allocated for inbound and outbound mail during the peak holiday periods. By partnering with Navy Region Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia (EURAFSWA), the postal team engaged with the Rome customs team to ensure solid relationships and sound business practices existed to prevent customs delays of holiday mail. Specifically, the NAVSUP FLC Sigonella postal team worked directly with the EURAFSWA legal office to fully implement a customs clearance program at the Rome Mail Control Activity, increasing trust between our Italian hosts, and resulting in zero delays inbound to Naples and to Sigonella.

The postal team, with support from the Rome Mail Control Activity director, met with airline leads from Chicago, Illinois, Atlanta, Georgia, and New York to secure an additional 2,000 kilograms of space on carrier generated routes. So, instead of a daily 125 kilograms backlog, there was excess space to keep the mail moving during the holiday surge. Moreover, leadership from United States Postal Service agreed to expand warehouse space dedicated to military mail movement, with a new focus and prioritized movement of military mail. This forward-thinking meant that the additional cost of using trucks for transportation was no longer necessary.

LS1 Moutchou and LS2 Vitale sort mail after it has been processed through security system.

 

“Because of the outstanding partnership we have with our host nation, Italy, we were able to establish innovative internal controls and business practices to ensure a unified approach to postal operations,” said Tate.

LS1 Moutchou loading mail into a triwall for shipment to service members at Guantanamo Bay Cuba.

“But the power of partnerships doesn’t end there. On the other side of the world, the Joint Military Postal Activity, Chicago International Military Service Center (CISMC) said that in conjunction with our innovative thinking and support, it had its most successful peak mailing season in 2017, better than the past five years since consolidating mail at the Chicago O’Hare facility,” said Tate.

Lastly, and perhaps most important to customers, the NAVSUP FLC Sigonella postal team adjusted hours at all postal outlets to facilitate the increased holiday traffic. This allowed customers to receive their mail at a convenient time and place during the holiday surge.

LS1 Rabajante
records piece and
weight count for mail
being processed

LS2 Barnes and LSSN Nelloms unload mail for processing through security system.

Photos courtesy of Jeff Gibbs, NAVSUP FLC Norfolk Regional Postal Manager, unless otherwise noted.

Spring 2018