BY LT. SHERWIN SHEPHERD AND RSC(SW/AW) DEON DRAYTON Navy Supply Corps School
Managing retail operations (RO) afloat can be a challenging, yet rewarding, experience for even the most seasoned Sailor. This point rings especially true for today’s sales officer.
In the ever-changing warfighting landscape, Supply Corps officers wear many hats, and officers at the helm of a ship’s sales division are no exception. Sales officers are the guardians of shipboard morale, the last stand of lifestyle normalcy, and the trusted agents of accountability. Sales officers approach crew morale with the same sense of urgency as line officers defending the ship against enemy combatants.
Navy Supply Corps School (NSCS) RO instructors are dedicated to junior officer development. Feedback from stakeholders and students, as well as a need for more robust practical exercises, led to the creation of ROM 3 Integrated Simulation Environment (RISE), the crown jewel of the RO curriculum.
RISE focuses on several core objectives: spot inventory (Ships Store and bulk storeroom), universal product code (UPC) validity, meter readings, register operations and reconciliation, and Navy Cash reports. Students divide into small groups and cooperate to achieve objectives within artificial time limitations. Once each group reaches the deadline, students rotate to develop and demonstrate competence in the next objective. As a kinesthetic learning experience, RISE provides realism and depth not possible in traditional training delivery methods.
Technological advancements propel the Navy into the future and streamline processes that once took a multitude of steps. Long gone is the age of entering “day backs” in the forgiving ROM 2 system. Now, new sales officers require strong foundational knowledge of RO, allowing for maximum user functionality. However, the processes only make sense once there is an overall understanding of the system’s working components.
At NSCS, RISE represents a major overhaul designed to assist prospective sales officers with early comprehension of the retail environment. Ready, relevant learning is the driving force of this new curriculum. Modules align with the turnover procedures occurring when officers check onboard their platform. As the course progresses, students dive into inventories, breakouts, and expenditures. The course emphasizes Navy Cash throughout and includes lessons exclusive to NSCS’s newly updated Navy Cash lab.
Later modules explain procurement, Ships Store monthly reports, and financial returns. Instructors reference the supply management certification (SMC) checklist during each module with a special emphasis on SMC areas of concern. All lessons link to real-world ramifications of an officer’s duties to reinforce each topic. RISE combines ROM 3, Navy Cash, inventory, scanning, counting, generating reports and other retail processes.
Concluding the exercise, students engage in an open discussion, to enhance their retention of the course material. RISE allows the necessary repetitions prospective sales officers require for success in today’s demanding afloat environment. Throughout the RO curriculum, students tackle afloat training group audit sheets, Defense Finance and Accounting Services returns checklists, commanding officer’s monthly reports, and many other tools to lay the foundation upon which new sales officers will stand.
However, the fleet must also reinforce what is learned at NSCS. Supply officers must hold sales officers accountable, senior enlisted must properly train sales officers, and enlisted Sailors must ensure procedural compliance in the performance of their duties.
According to RO instructor Lt. S. S. Shepherd, “With the alignment of all these factors, we can almost certainly ensure that the return on investment will be mutually beneficial to all parties involved.”