Main photo by Wade Myrthel, PSCC Packaging Team
A few weeks back, MSG Half-Mast travelled to Tobyhanna Army Depot to speak with Mr. John Mayatte, Director of the Army Sustainment Command’s (ASCs) Packaging, Storage and Containerization Center (PSCC) to gain a better understanding of the organization’s mission and impact on Army readiness. [Mr. Mayatte’s bio appears at the end of this interview.]
Please start with the mission of the Army Sustainment Command Packaging, Storage and Containerization Center (ASC PSCC) and a brief overview of its history, major lines of effort, etc.
: The precursor to what is today PSCC was established at Tobyhanna Army Depot in 1963 as the Supply and Maintenance Command Packaging Center. The Center subsequently underwent several name changes. Finally in 1970, the Center was officially renamed the Packaging, Storage, and Containerization Center (PSCC), a name that continues to this day. PSCC’s mission is to improve and sustain Army readiness across the enterprise through logistics and engineering assistance for packaging, storage, hazardous materials (HAZMAT), automatic identification technology (AIT), distribution facilities optimization, standardization and packaging applications testing.
Through these mission sets, we provide guidance, assistance and expertise to all Army echelons and work closely with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and the other services to ensure policies and procedures are optimal and properly implemented throughout the supply chain. We employ the Army leads for stock readiness, HAZMAT packaging and transportation, shelf-life management and wood packaging materials oversight. PSCC also operates and maintains the largest packaging testing facility in DoD, which provides unrivaled capabilities to ensure packaging materials and solutions meet military standards. See https://www.pscc.army.mil
for more details.
: How does the PSCC mission help to improve Army readiness and would you illuminate this insight with a recent example of how the PSCC’s logistics and engineering assistance helped an Army unit?
Mr. Mayatte: PSCC’s primary mission focuses on the protection and preservation of Army and DoD materiel. Supply chain speed is often the focus of many discussions; however, a corroded engine, broken windshield, damaged O-ring or electrically damaged circuit card is of little use to our Soldiers no matter how quickly they receive it. Military assets are stored in numerous environments (open fields, metal containers, sheds and warehouses) for extended periods of time. They are then transported across the supply chain using various intermodal means (truck, rail, sea and air), through harsh climates (humid, arid, artic), and locales around the world (developed and undeveloped countries). These factors create extreme challenges to the serviceability of Army and DoD materiel that require robust packaging solutions designed to withstand these rigors and continued adherence to these predetermined packaging and storage requirements until the point of use.
PSCC’s packaging and stock readiness experts routinely provide onsite assistance and assess the condition of Army stock at Army supply activities, APS sites and DLA depots. Through these visits, we’ve discovered that conducting proper Care of Supplies in Storage (COSIS) checks of volumes of stored stock with limited personnel resources can be quite challenging. Because COSIS is extremely important in sustaining readiness, our subject matter experts (SMEs) developed a methodology called a COSIS risk assessment (CRA). This assessment allows a unit or activity to categorize all their stock into COSIS priority groups (CPGs), thereby identifying stock most at risk for degradation, such as highly corrosive items, for example. We also developed COSIS Quick Guides that provides information on how to properly inspect each CPG to determine if remedial action is required. PSCC recently provided a CRA for Army Field Support Battalion (AFSBn)-Carson. PSCC can complete a CRA for any supply activity – including tactical SSAs (TSSA).
: PSCC focuses heavily on the Care of Supplies in Storage (COSIS). What makes COSIS so important to the Army and what’s the impact to readiness when the proper COSIS techniques aren’t applied to stored items?
Mr. Mayatte: As stock moves through the supply chain, the packaging that protects an item from various environmental factors such as humidity, UV or electro-static discharge (ESD) can become compromised or degraded, rendering the item susceptible to damage or corrosion. The consequences of not intervening by performing COSIS include increased repair and replacement costs and, more significantly, can result in an item issued to our Soldiers in unserviceable condition. This would then require reordering, causing further delays that negatively impact readiness. And in the case of ESD susceptible items, the damage is not visible – so the item will look “good” until it fails in use. In extreme situations, an unserviceable part can damage the system or item it’s installed in, or worse, cause harm to Soldiers.
: Besides packaging and COSIS advice, what other services does PSCC offer and is the U.S. Army the only beneficiary of these services?
Mr. Mayatte: PSCC provides storage and distribution optimization services for fixed warehouse locations, as well as mobile containerized solutions. During this process we conduct a determination of storage space requirements (DOSSR) and recommended modifications to operational layout and storage aids to maximize storage utilization, improve asset protection, and enhance materiel flow. PSCC storage SMEs also develop and maintain detailed planographs that map a BCT’s Common ASL (CASL) parts to a specific location in a field pack up (FPU) container. In conjunction with our planograph development, our SMEs provide pack up workshops and guidance to TSSAs on how to properly load and configure FPU containers.
PSCC also provides training extensions for the shipment of HAZMAT. What does that mean? Army units must have appointed, certified personnel to ship HAZMAT. To maintain this certification, personnel must complete HAZMAT refresher training every 2 years. At times, due to extenuating circumstances such as deployments, Soldiers may not be able to meet this requirement. As the Army Focal Point for HAZMAT packaging and transportation, PSCC can authorize training extensions for our Soldiers and civilians to allow them to continue shipping critical HAZMAT items without disruption in operations. Additionally, PSCC can provide regulatory relief and issue military air waivers, when appropriate, allowing transportation of critical systems that contain HAZMAT not normally authorized per regulation to ship via military air or other means.
PSCC does not limit our services to U.S. Army only. As the Army’s shelf-life (SL) administrator, we traditionally offer both remote and on-site shelf-life assistance and workshops to Army activities. Through our involvement with the DoD SL Board and from observations from our Joint inspections, we know SL management is challenging across all of DoD. At the request of DLA, PSCC is now recognized as the official schoolhouse for SL training. We developed a 2-day resident SL course, that is available to all DoD Components.
: When it comes to packaging and transporting items, there are several regulations that Soldiers must adhere to. What kind of help does the PSCC offer Soldiers who might find themselves in need of guidance?
Mr. Mayatte There are standards that cover military packaging for storage and transportation, but these documents can be difficult to digest. To help alleviate this, PSCC developed the TM 38-8145-706, Preservation of Army Materiel in Storage, which contains step-by-step instructions for packaging items, and a series of videos that walk a viewer through proper COSIS and packaging remediation. Links to the TM and videos can be found on PSCC’s website www.pscc.army.mil. We routinely contribute packaging-related articles to PS Magazine. Current articles include a series on CPGs.
PSCC also provides on-site asset protection workshops and shelf-life assistance for Army activities that would benefit from a more hands-on experience. But ultimately, if a Soldier has a question or issue concerning packaging or any of our areas of expertise, PSCC can be contacted through our central email address found on our website. Units often seek advice regarding HAZMAT packaging. PSCC can recommend the proper type of packaging and appropriate United Nations (UN) markings. In fact, PSCC works closely with DLA on a recurring basis to certify a wide range of HAZMAT packaging that the Soldiers can order right off the shelf.
: Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about the PSCC while you have a captive audience?
Mr. Mayatte: PSCC is a relatively small organization with a diverse mission set. We are a one-stop-shop for packaging, storage and distribution. We combine the use of data and observations during on-site assessments to determine the health of our supply activities and the supply chain in general. What I think is unique about PSCC is that we have the means and the reach to not only identify issues, but to enact solutions. If we find a problem isolated to a particular supply activity, we can assist by providing packaging supplies, training or targeted on-site assistance. For systemic issues, we have the ability, through our representation on a variety of Army and DoD working groups, to influence policy and guidance to ensure doctrine remains relevant and effective for the Army. PSCC continually strives to support Army personnel in the development of solutions and new approaches or methodologies to optimize the supply chain.
Mr. John Mayatte
was born in Gulfport, MS. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1989 as an electrical equipment repair specialist and later engineering chief during deployments to Somalia and Korea. After active duty, Mr. Mayatte began working for the U.S. Postal Service in 1994, while also attending the University of Southern Mississippi (USM). In 2005, he applied for and was selected for the Army Materiel Command (AMC) Fellows Program. His civil service career includes being an engineer for the Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA), Software Engineering Directorate; item manager for the Program Executive Office (PEO) Mission & Space; and LOGSA lead engineer for the Logistics Product Data Store (LPDS). Later, he applied for and was selected as the Executive Officer of LOGSA’s Logistics Engineering Center, which at that time was the parent organization to PSCC. He was then selected as the Chief of LOGSA’s Support Operations (SPO) Office. In 2015, he applied for and was selected for the position he still occupies today, Director of the Packaging, Storage, and Containerization Center (PSCC) in Tobyhanna, PA.