Lejeune first ever in new partnership

9 Jul 2003 | Cpl. Kristin S. Gambrell

Marine Corps Base has teamed up with the General Services Administration to become the test sight for a new partnership - the first of its kind in the Marine Corps.

The two are working together to limit delays and reduce costs for readily available commercial items, according to the partnership agreement between the base and the administration.

The agencies will do this through Camp Lejeune's First Choice, Supply Services Center, which opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 8 at Building 1606. Major Gen. David M. Mize, commanding general, Marine Corps Base, and Edwin E. Fielder, regional administrator, GSA, cut the ribbon signifying the partnership.

As partners, these organizations recently completed the transition from the Supply Services Center to First Choice, a GSA global supply store.  Under this new arrangement, GSA manages the inventory, both vendor- and GSA-owned, while the base's Business Logistics Support Department continues to provide facilities and store management.

This new partnership will allow units to focus on the Marine Corps' mission, while at the same time increasing product availability, limiting the time customers wait for items, and reducing costs for readily available commercial items. 

"We've seen pricing drops of 20 percent since signing the agreement in April, and we are expecting that decrease to continue," said Maj. Christopher T. Craig, assistant officer in charge, Supply Division, Business Logistics Support Department. 

The partnership has increased product availability 33 percent, providing easier access to the Federal Supply Schedule, which has approximately 10,000 contracts and four million products and services available, according to Craig.

Like most of the Marine Corps, the base previously depended upon outdated computer systems and Department of Defense-budgeted funds to source products and services, Craig explained.  This limited the effectiveness of support and the amount of goods organizations could procure. 

Headquarters Marine Corps is looking at this endeavor as a process for other installations.

"By refining our processes and using each others' strengths, we hope to build a partnership that can be a template throughout the Corps," Craig said.  "Thus, we will not have the common problem of tying up strained financial resources and having empty shelves at the end of the fiscal year."

In addition, Marine Corps units will be able to tap into GSA's global resources, making deployed unit's requirements easier to meet.  A visiting unit can now use its credit card, vice having to transfer funds to the base before using the center.  This saves time for the visiting unit and base personnel.

"Our partnership with GSA enables and enhances our ability to support Marine Forces Atlantic customers on a global level," said Craig.