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    USPS saves Soldiers money

    USPS saves Soldiers money

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Adam Hinman | Spc. George A. Ruiz, a human resources specialist with the 49th Personnel Company,...... read more read more

    BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AFGHANISTAN

    09.14.2015

    Story by Sgt. Adam Hinman 

    15th Sustainment Brigade

    BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – There is a way to ship items back home that saves Soldiers money and is becoming one of the more preferred methods for doing so.
    The Click-N-Ship system offered by the U.S. Postal Services was originally implemented in Afghanistan as early as 2013.

    “This US Postal Service process has made shipping packages quicker, more accessible, more secure and cost saving for both the consumer and the Army. While deployed with the 15th Sustainment Brigade in late 2013 I saw the beginning of the Click-N-Ship push in Afghanistan,” said Pfc. Jack Spence, an information systems specialist with the 1st Armored Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). “Throughout Regional Command South we had a few kiosks that were pretty much just regular computers with no special software to do the Click-N-Ship process.”

    By a useful happenstance, the 15th Sustainment Brigade, Wagonmasters, was re-designated as the 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade, Muleskinners. This meant the Muleskinners were able to bring Soldiers like Spence, who already had experience with the service, forward on this deployment.

    The 4th Sustainment Brigade was the first sustainment brigade charged with setting up the Click-N-Ship system throughout the country in early 2015. At the end of May the 1st ADSB took the reins and has pushed forward with it.
    “Click-N-Ship is a service offered by the U.S. Postal Service on their website allowing customers to pay for postage online and print their shipping labels,” said Capt. Simone Nealson, the human resources branch officer in charge for the 4th Sustainment Brigade during their deployment. “It offers greater convenience and access to services for all Soldiers to ship packages home and save 15% without the need for the machine used by postal Soldiers to charge for postage. This service requires internet connectivity to function.”

    This means that when an outlying location has access to the internet, Soldiers can send items home for less. There is also a method that employs satellite communication for locations where the internet is less reliable. The packages would still need to be inspected prior to being shipped but this has been addressed.

    “The human resources operations branch has recently acquired the forms to allow the forward operating bases with mail handlers to be designated as postal clerks and conduct open parcel inspections. This enables the forward operating bases to conduct their own operations on a daily basis outside of the support provided by the 213th Postal Company. This greatly increases the access of postal services to outlying forward operation bases,” said Nealson.
    Spc. Justin Pulley, a mail handler with 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, is one of the mail handlers who was designated as a postal clerk.

    “I personally believe the overall idea of Click N Ship is great. Many of the customers who utilize Click N Ship are using the system because they are either going home or needing to go on emergency leave,” said Pulley. “Click N Ship allows them to ship the bags they cannot take with them and allows the customer not to worry about their personal belongings. Click N Ship is a really good service that takes the burden and inconvenience from both contractors and military personnel on their travels back home.”

    Some of the concerns the 15th Sustainment Brigade realized have since been dealt with.

    “This (the original) method proved to be effective but not very efficient. The computers kept getting slowed down by hundreds of user logins and long wait times for the login process to occur, obviously not ideal. This required regular maintenance to keep the computer operational and reliable,” said Spence. “Fast-forward to 2015, here I am again with Click and Ship making its mark that it’s here to stay. Advancements had to have been made to make the system more efficient and more secure.”

    One of the largest concerns with the old method of using the service with the old model of kiosk was the personal identifying information that the system saved. Every user also needed to be able to log into a government system.
    “Additional software is now required to help facilitate the ease of use for the customer, Common Access Cards are not needed anymore and neither is a computer account,” said Spence addressing both concerns. “Also all temporary data saved to the computer is erased at the end of the transaction which helps keep customers data secure.”

    The savings were not limited to the Soldiers and contractors who took advantage of the service.

    “On top of the 15% saved off the total shipping costs of the package being shipped having the kiosks also allows postal workers to work with fewer staff members,” said Spence. “The kiosks can be operated with zero interactivity from the postal workers.”

    The U.S. Army was able to lower the number of postal workers in theater just from the implementation of this service across the country.

    “Click-N-Ship was a great initiative to enable both the drawdown while simultaneously continuing postal services,” said Cpt. Hugo Estrada, the human resources branch officer in charge for the 1st Armored Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). “Click and Ship is such a success in Afghanistan that is being replicated in Iraq in order to provide postal services to the Soldiers there too.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 09.14.2015
    Date Posted: 09.14.2015 06:27
    Story ID: 175957
    Location: BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AF 

    Web Views: 362
    Downloads: 2
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    USPS saves Soldiers money