NEWS | Dec. 3, 2020

U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center Korea Reduces Turnaround Time for Covid-19 Tests

By C.J Lovelace CAMP CARROLL, South Korea

CAMP CARROLL, South Korea -- Persistence in the fight against COVID-19 is paying off for the medical logisticians at the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Korea.

The team at USAMMC-K, a direct reporting unit to Army Medical Logistics Command, is helping to protect the workforce across the Korean Peninsula by streamlining its ordering practices and making it quicker for customers to receive much-needed personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing supplies.

USAMMC-K serves as the theater lead agent for medical materiel, providing direct support to U.S. Forces Korea, or USFK, medical forces and ensuring tactical units are integrated into the end-to-end medical supply chain. It also assists combatant commands in health logistics support planning.

According to center officials, turnaround times on PPE orders, including masks, gowns and gloves, have been reduced eight-fold since August -- from an average of 24 days to just three days.

“Previously, some of their orders could take anywhere from four to 10 weeks,” said Capt. Andres Gil, chief of materiel management at USAMMC-K. “Specifically, there was a backlog on [COVID-19] test kits with some customers waiting eight weeks for that critical supply.”

With influenza activity expected to increase during the winter, it has become even more critical that PPE products and testing supplies are available to help slow the potential spread of the respiratory virus, which has similar symptoms to COVID-19.

Sufficient COVID-19 tests in support of USFK are “now on our shelves and ready to be provided as the demand increases for these winter months,” Gil said.

The improvements have enabled the center to support the needs of its military, Department of Defense Education Activity and U.S. Embassy customers on the Korean Peninsula.

Having supplies available and ready to go, he said, helps the workforce stay healthy and boosts mission readiness.

“The team achieved this through ordering all PPE supplies through the Army Strategic Management System,” said Gil, who also serves as USAMMC-K’s accountability officer. “It is based on streamlining the process of ordering through the depots where stock is available.”

To recognize the achievement, leaders acknowledged members of the distribution center for their hard work as part of the center’s Employee of the Month program for October.

Gil said the effort reflects the USAMMC-K team’s tenacity and attention to detail to ensure its customers are well taken care of during the COVID-19 response.

USAMMC-K Commander Lt. Col. Marcus D. Perkins has led the way on the initiative, providing the vision and direction to make sure the team is “ready for any new waves of COVID” on the Korean Peninsula, Gil said.

“Our ability to meet the PPE demand has surely increased and … we will continue to focus on meeting the demand,” Gil said. “All this has been possible through great leadership direction and the staff’s ability to execute.”