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    SUBASE Barracks Logs are Out and QR Codes In, as Initiative Promotes Quick Response



    Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Maxwell Higgins 

    Subase New London

    A recent initiative in Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New London’s barracks is setting trends and highlighting Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday’s new service-wide effort to “Get Real, Get Better.”

    No longer do barrack’s residents have to leave their room, travel to the building’s front desk, and ensure a room maintenance or facility maintenance issue is noted in a logbook for a barrack’s manager to check and resolve as opportune. SUBASE New London has replaced such single, centralized, hand written logbooks with “Quick Response” (QR) codes in every barracks and an easy application available through every Sailor’s mobile phone.
    “It’s process improvement at the most basic level,” said Donna Wilson, the Family and Unaccompanied Housing Installation Program Director. “We’ve made it easier for the Sailor to report an issue and easier for the barrack’s manager to seek to resolve it, effectively and efficiently.”
    Logging an issue
    The National Archives highlight that in Navy parlance, any kind of running record is called a "log." The Archives reveal traditional Navy logs have been and continue to be green cloth covered books, which, depending on nature of use, detail information from simple entries documenting daily routines to operational accounts, casualty reports, or materiel discrepancies.
    SUBASE New London and its barracks maintained such a tradition.

    “Residents would utilize a green logbook located on each building’s quarterdeck to report any issues but not all residents realized the purpose of the logbooks,” said Wilson. “And those that did, often felt such an old-style reporting system would not result in their issues being fixed, or even addressed in a timely manner.”
    Wilson took note of this concern during base-wide barracks tours with the installation’s new commanding officer in September 2021. She had been solely the SUBASE’s Navy Family Housing program director for years, but her responsibilities expanded to include Unaccompanied Housing at the end of June 2021.
    “As I learned more about the Unaccompanied Housing program and barracks’ systems and processes, I felt that there needed to be a more effective method for residents to get messages to the building managers about issues they were experiencing,” said Wilson. “And as the captain and I opened and reviewed the green logbooks in each barracks, the old adage ‘there has to be a better way’ kept running through my mind.”
    QR Codes are Quick Response
    The SUBASE’s Navy Family Housing program had used QR codes for marketing and promotion, and Wilson was familiar with them.
    “Often scanning a QR code with your mobile phone camera or an app reader takes you to a web site for more information,” said Wilson. “But I knew you could modify the application to take the user to an electronic form.”
    Wilson sought the assistance of Chuck Tweedy of the Navy Family Housing side of her joint team, and with additional team inputs, creativity, and some trial and error, a system with QR codes and an easily completed on-line reporting form for room issues or discrepancies was developed.
    A great idea on the face of it, the new system still needed to be tested before being implemented.
    “We piloted one barracks for a three week period,” said Wilson. “Results showed the new system to be highly effective and a much better form of communication between resident and management.”
    The system and process are modern, easy, and quick highlights Wilson.
    “Each barracks is assigned its own QR code, and a QR code matrix barcode decal is easily visible on the back of every barrack’s room door as well as in all common areas,” said Wilson. “Residents can snap a picture of the QR code with their cell phone which brings up a form in which they enter their name, phone number, room number, and their issue or request. It takes just seconds to make a report.”
    The system then populates a database that is checked every morning by the building manager, according to Wilson.
    “If the barrack’s manager can quickly address the issue by independent action then it’s done,” said Wilson. “If the issue requires a greater scope of work, the barrack’s manager immediately enters a work order request with our Base Public Works Department. The resident receives an email response outlining what action has or will be taken.”
    For barrack’s managers like Sara Lewis, the new system is a tremendous leap forward in the rapid and communication process between management and residents, and in many cases, the rapid resolution of reported problems.
    “One morning I received several QR emails in quick succession, all saying the same thing, ‘no hot water in my room,’” said Lewis. “I made an emergency call and within an hour the contractors arrived and replaced the hot water pump which was discovered to be the issue. Hot water was restored to the building before the residents returned from work that afternoon.”

    Setting Trends
    With the success of the pilot program, SUBASE’s Unaccompanied Housing team expanded the QR code initiative across all SUBASE New London’s seven barracks.
    Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic (CNRMA), SUBASE New London’s parent command, has taken notice.
    The Region’s Unaccompanied Housing program has sought Wilson’s assistance in establishing a QR code pilot program at Naval Station Newport in Rhode Island and Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia. These two efforts begin this month, February 2022.
    “The QR Coding System has taken off!” said David Snodgrass of Integrated Shore Requirements (N5) at Navy Region Mid-Atlantic and a member of the Region’s Innovation Team. “In the bigger picture, we’re hoping to get all of the UH’s [Unaccompanied Housing teams] within CNRMA to complete this process. We’re also going to introduce it to MWR [Morale, Welfare & Recreation] and NAVFAC [Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command], then share it with CNIC [Commander, Navy Installations Command].”
    Snodgrass called Wilson and SUBASE’s Unaccompanied Housing team ”trend-setters…assisting us with moving into the 21st Century.”
    SUBASE New London Commanding Officer, Capt. Ken Curtin, feels the QR coding initiative is a great example of Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday’s new service-wide effort to “Get Real, Get Better.”

    “The CNO is encouraging and empowering everyone, from the deck-plates to senior leaders, to find and fix problems and innovate at their level,” said Curtin. “Donna [Wilson] and the SUBASE team have demonstrated just that. Seeking to get to the root of a systemic issue and not just the symptoms of it. QR coding takes advantage of technology, ease, and speed and allows reporting, and ultimately, resolution of small problems before they become larger.”
    For Wilson, the potential impact, as the innovative QR code initiative may spread far and wide across the Region and Navy, is humbling.
    “At the end of the day, I’m just happy that our barracks teams are making a difference for our Sailor residents,” said Wilson. “It’s about customer service and responsive support.”
    For more information about barracks or single service member housing at SUBASE New London, please contact the SUBASE Unaccompanied Housing team at 860-694-3416.



    Date Taken: 02.18.2022
    Date Posted: 02.18.2022 14:00
    Story ID: 414941
    Location: CT, US

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