NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound Logisticians Visit Seattle Private Sector Firm to View Best Practices in Warehouse Operations

BY BRIAN J. DAVIS CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER PUGET SOUND

Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Puget Sound Supply Corps officers gathered at the Brooks Sports, Inc. Distribution Center in Sumner, Washington, to view the company’s warehouse operations Nov. 7.

The tour was organized by NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound as part of a program the command established to provide opportunities for Navy supply officers to observe how successful businesses in the private sector handle logistics-related functions.

More than 30 Supply Corps officers and key civilians from around the Puget Sound Region attended the tour. Brooks Sports executives kicked off the day with a brief overview of the company and its operations. Attendees were then divided into smaller groups and led to the warehouse floor where products from Brooks Sports and its sister company Moving Comfort are distributed to consumers from individual customers to major retail outlets. At key points of the distribution process, Brooks Sports personnel presented modules on order processing, shipping, receiving and inventory storage.

Seeing the processes and understanding the perspective of a private company allows officers to gain a unique insight that can be applied to improving processes in military logistics.

“With the current emphasis on decreasing military spending and increasing the need to conserve limited resources, the Supply Corps Community has recognized the importance of working closely with the commercial sector to gain insight and expand logistical knowledge on supply related processes with the goal of streamlining operations,” said Lt. Gina M. Slaby, NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound logistics support officer and coordinator of the visit.

NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound also reached out to arrange tours at facilities operated by Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) and Starbucks Coffee Company. While all have efficient, high quality supply chains, each company approaches logistics in their own particular way, according to its own needs and objectives.

“Each company has developed its own way to conduct business and all are all extremely successful in their line of expertise. While Brooks relies heavily on ecommerce, Starbucks and REI have a much larger focus on retail stores. Walking through each of their facilities and discussing how they receive, process and ship inventory is invaluable,” said Slaby.

“We appreciate the chance to see how the private sector does business, and view things from each company’s unique perspective. Opportunities like this where the people at Brooks Sports, Inc. shared their knowledge and experience are invaluable for Supply Corps officers as they grow and seek solutions in our current culture of continuous process improvement,” said Capt. Tim Jett, NAVUP FLC Puget Sound commanding officer.

Brooks Sports, Inc., headquartered in Seattle since October 2014, was founded in 1914 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today their fitness-oriented products, including running shoes, athletic apparel and accessories, are sold in more than 60 countries worldwide.

January/February 2016