Why can’t we…….. The commonly asked questions of PCSing

If you’ve have a few PCS’s under your belt you know that there are many things that can be improved upon with the process.

I frequently hear questions on why this can’t be done or why that can’t be this way. It’s frustrating.

Here are some of the common questions I hear, and some insight on why things are the way they are.

We need stricter background checks! Heck, we need to background check to begin with!

Yes, and it is a requirement that the crew members are background checked. But there are different systems that are used. Many moving companies can only background check back a certain number of years while the DoD process can go back 20+ years. This creates issues at the gate when crews who have been checked by the company are then denied access because the DoD uses a different system. The real question is why can’t the moving companies use the same process as the DoD? This would create less of a mess for crews to get on base. In addition, we all know that the day labor used in our moves too are not background checked, but creating a database that would allow companies and drivers to pull from background checked employees in there would also help the labor shortfall.

This company is horrible! They shouldn’t be getting anymore contracts! How are they still in business?!

Shipments are awarded out to companies by SCAC code. Companies own multiple codes and, in some cases, own hundreds. When there is wrongdoing the DoD can send out letters of warning, suspension or even removal from the program. If a company is suspended or removed, most likely it is only happening to one code and only in one market that they service. Therefore, they can still get shipments and continue doing business in the other markets and through their other SCAC codes. The DoD is also hesitant to remove a company due to it reducing the capacity in that market which then creates longer waits for those families.

Stop giving business to the lowest bidder!

Shipments are not just awarded to the lowest bidder. Yes, cost does play a part in it, but it is not the only factor. Every year companies submit rates for the different markets for the DoD to accept or deny. Shipments are contracted out based on their Best Value (BV) score. This score includes results of the Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS) which makes up 30% of their BV score. The rest is made up by the cost, length of time they have had a government contract and other factors. So, while cost is a factor, it is not the only one.

Why can’t we have tracking to find our household goods? Amazon can do it!

That would be amazing right! Something I have asked many times. The question is do we track every single box? Every crate? Just the shipment as a whole? Companies push back on having real time tracking because if you need to truck share, your truck may go somewhere else to fill up before moving across country. It can be worrisome to see through tracking, your truck drive from Virginia to North Carolina before heading across country to Colorado, and companies do not want families freaking out over that matter. We can be fine without real time tracking, but we need to at least be able to see that our shipment has left the origin location, stopped at the warehouse, and then arrived at destination. It would give families a peace of mind knowing where their shipments are and would allow visibility to see where something might be if it comes up as lost.

I can’t read my inventory; I have no idea what these codes are because I can’t read them. Can’t this be better?

Electronic inventories are amazing! My most recent move had an electronic inventory and it was the best! I could read what was put down, could double check the damage assessment codes, and they even added pictures of my furniture to the inventory too. Why can’t this be standard? The technology is obviously there! I believe the issue comes from a few things – 1) people are set in their ways. They have done the paper inventories forever and don’t want to mess anything up with change, and 2) the added cost to get and implement the technology. I know, it shouldn’t matter what the cost is if it’s effective and helps alleviate multiple issues that families face.

But not so quick….
What could be some quick easy changes are not going to be happening anytime in the immediate future. Transcom is still moving forward with their single source move manager contract to change the way the process is handled. While the recently published contract does address some of these things, it will still be a few years before we see those new changes implemented.

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