Traditionally, this organization has relied on large wooden crates for the storage of their tentage and accessories known as SL-3. Over time, the use of these wooden crates revealed recurring problems. These problems had a fiscal liability as well as a shipping and physical liability.
Fiscally, the organization had to spend approximately $120k annually to replace wooden crates; additionally, storing in the wooden crates prevented airflow which led to damage of the tentage stored in the form of mildew. This resulted in further liability for replacing the damaged material.
A shipping liability was identified regarding customs and agricultural clearance where many countries don’t allow wood products to be imported. This significantly reduced their readiness and ability to operate rapidly since they would often have to unpackage the material inside the wooden crates, discard the wood and simply stuff the containers with the material that was unloaded. This significantly impacted accountability, organization, security, and time. Property was even lost due to responding rapidly to the situation and ensuring the mission moved forward which led to FLPLs.
Other limitations of the wooden crates included loading and security. There was no way to lock the crates, so they are very easy to break into. When it comes to loading and unloading, the crates are only accessible from the top. Loading heavy equipment is physically demanding enough without the added challenge of lifting it 3-4 feet off the ground. This often requires more personnel for the tasks of loading and unloading content from wooden crates.
Ultimately, the organization felt it was wasting a lot of resources towards the management of material which is deemed mission critical. Here is some of the waste identified:
• Several hours to do inventory due to a lack of visibility and accessibility
• Equipment damage due to minimal air circulation inside the wooden crates
• Several hours to unload content because wood was not allowed into a port
• Discarding unallowed wood only to procure it again when they got back to home station
• Equipment loss due to inability to lock the crates (SL-3 BII loss)