MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Early in the COVID-19 crisis, leaders at Navy Personnel command realized prioritizing and re-ordering the nearly 90,000 released Permanent Change of Station orders in fiscal year 2020 was going to be a challenge that required advanced tools that NPC did not possess. The solution, the Optimized Slating Tool (OST), was created in a matter of weeks by two innovative lieutenants from the MyNavy HR enterprise.
The OST enabled the Navy to prioritize fleet readiness requirements and accession pipeline staffing and ensured those orders were balanced against the available move capacities that U.S. Transportation Command could provide for household goods shipments. The tool automatically ensures Sailors are moved according to their priority with high priority billets being filled first, and ensures key readiness factors like time for a face-to-face one-month turnover are all factored into the timing.
“The number of variables and complexity of this multi-faceted problem required automation,” said Rear Adm. Jeff Hughes, NPC commander. “We didn’t have the time to wait for a contracted solution, opting instead to tap the analytical potential of two amazing officers within the MyNavy HR team. They absolutely delivered and exceeded our expectations.”
NPC quickly built a solution through utilizing in-house talent from across the MyNavy HR enterprise. Lt. Kyle Belcher from Enterprise Support Comprehensive Analytics at Chief of Naval Personnel in Washington D.C., and Lt. Allison Hogarth from the Allocation and Statistics Branch in Millington Tenn., created the OST.
“This is a great story about mixing what computers and people do best to accomplish the mission,” Belcher said. “I had worked on a similar project, so NPC brought me on to help build and run the program. It was a collaborative effort. I worked with Lt. Hogarth while building the program, exchanging data and running tests, then working together to solve problems.”
By providing detailers with an optimal plan to reduce the backlog of orders, the OST balances Fleet readiness and HHG capacity. Each set of orders receives a priority number, outlined in NAVADMIN 169/20, based on the type of command the Sailor is going to. This information is then run through the OST and sent to detailers for review and action, which creates a visualization for leadership to view the current orders situation.
“To help minimize gaps at sea, our marching orders were taken directly from NAVADMIN 169/20 that directs Sailors going to operational sea duty have the highest priority to move once the stop movement order is lifted,” said Hogarth. “The tool does not override or replace the detailer, but instead provides them with an optimal plan that they can adjust as needed.”
The OST has optimized and scheduled July HHG shipments within capacity constraints. Using the information already gathered, the OST is also able to generate prioritized schedules for August and September HHG shipments. Initial results indicate that the Navy may return to historical shipping averages earlier than anticipated using this approach and detailers are able to forewarn affected constituents and respond to emergent needs faster. The workforce at NPC combined their skills to make a program that will be beneficial to detailers even after moves are back on track.