YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan --
Logistics readiness officials here believe a 20-year leap in technology will make for smoother moves when it comes to the shipment of personal property for Department of Defense personnel.
The 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron Personal Property Section began its transition March 16 to the DoD's Defense Personal Property System, a system designed to replace a program in use since 1988.
The new system provides online tracking of property shipments, a streamlined claims process and full replacement value protection, according to Master Sgt. Timothy Smith, 374th LRS noncommissioned officer in charge of personal property.
An online self counseling feature allows servicemembers to enter their move information and establish their own shipment dates for all types of shipments, including domestic and international household goods and unaccompanied baggage, mobile homes and boats, personally procured moves and privately-owned vehicle information.
"Instead of people trying to get a hold of the moving contractor or the military [LRS representative] to find out the status of their shipment, they will be able to log on to the Web site from any Internet-capable computer to check the status themselves," Sergeant Smith said. "The most important improvement we see this providing is the real-time changes which fit into improving the quality of life of the mover."
Members can also file claims online and then negotiate directly with the transportation service provider for settlement. Claims which cannot be settled online will be transferred to the military claims service system. The system's full replacement value protection means a servicemember will receive funds to replace or repair lost or damaged items at their present value.
As with most major advances in technology, it will take time for some users to adjust, said Sergeant Smith.
"I think most customers will be apprehensive about this new process, but we will try to make it as seamless as possible," he said. "We plan to set up a computer lab in our conference room to allow us to help people through the new process and if they have any questions, we will be right there to help them out."
Although the new system replaces many services previously provided by the personal property section staff, officials will not leave users at the mercy of the Internet, said Keiko Hamasaki, 374th LRS transportation rate clerk.
"We are looking forward to trying this new system and see how it works," said Ms. Hamasaki. "Once customers get used to this new system, it will allow us more time to handle any of the other issues that arise that can't be resolved on the Web site."
Sergeant Smith said feedback from customers will be key to the new system's success.
"The most important and helpful step to make this process a success will be the customers," he said. "Participants will be asked to fill out a survey form to address the strengths and weaknesses in the system, which helps us to improve this process for everyone."
As of December 2008, DPS was operational at 18 locations across DoD, with world-wide implementation expected this spring.
For more information on DPS, log onto www.move.mil