Discount Shopping & Disaster Response

Discount
Shopping
and Disaster
Response

In the spring of 2008, floods destroyed the water purification plant in Mason City, Iowa. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel were not the first on the scene… Pepsi was. FEMA had set up an account with Pepsi to provide bottled water to the area until FEMA could arrive. This story shows how the Government and the private sector can effectively collaborate to quickly respond to and mitigate the impacts of disasters.

FEMA became part of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003. The agency is responsible for responding to state, local and tribal government’s requests for assistance when they cannot fully respond to disasters. After Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, the role of FEMA expanded significantly. Katrina placed FEMA into the spotlight and, with that, came more demand for help.

In response, FEMA has increased its emphasis on preparedness. However, FEMA is still called upon to respond to larger disasters. Both preparedness and response are areas where the private sector could aid FEMA.

Challenges

In early 2008, flooding devastated the Midwest and state and local governments asked FEMA to respond rapidly to support their disaster response efforts. While FEMA was quick to take action, the physical distance of the disaster areas from FEMA distribution centers limited their ability to quickly respond. FEMA currently operates five distribution centers in the continental U.S. – primarily in states on the southern border and the east coast, far from the heavily flooded Midwest.

This geographical problem becomes more complex in the absence of a single integrated tracking system. Supplies are normally shipped from a FEMA distribution center to federal operational staging areas (FOSAs). FEMA uses the Trading Partner Management (TPM) system to track items as they are shipped from distribution centers to the FOSAs. However, after the goods are received at the FOSA, FEMA personnel track items using paper forms or an improvised system called eFOSA.

The inability to track items from start to finish with an integrated tracking system results in a slower process, increased opportunities for fraud, and risks misplacing supplies.

However, the tracking problems actually start in FEMA’s distribution centers. FEMA uses a program called Warehouse Manager to keep an electronic inventory of supplies in a specific distribution center. According to a May 2008 OIG report, Warehouse Manager is only in place at two of FEMA’s five distribution centers. The other three distribution centers rely on improvised systems and paper tracking.

Solutions and Recommendations

The private sector is already in position to address FEMA’s challenges in both areas: infrastructure and logistics. Large retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Target, face many of the same issues that FEMA faces. Both groups must move large amounts of goods from distribution centers to specific staging areas and track those goods the entire way. By teaming with large retailers, FEMA can quickly, move vital resources – food, water, and clothing – to anywhere in the U.S. in the initial stages of a disaster.

In the case of the Midwest flooding, Target and Wal-Mart distribution centers in Northern Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota could have delivered immediate supplies to an area that FEMA would not be able to reach for days (Figure 1).

The private sector can also provide support in tracking supplies. In preparing for disasters, experts from private sector companies such as Fed Ex, Wal-Mart, and UPS, should help FEMA to create an integrated and comprehensive tracking and inventory system. These companies have faced the same problems that FEMA faces in identifying, moving, and tracking key supplies when rapidly responding to planned and unexpected changes in demand.

During a disaster, FEMA should utilize private sector logistics systems to help send material over greater distances more quickly and with more control. National transporters, such as UPS and FedEx, move large numbers of individual items daily to specific destinations around the country. By explicitly involving large retailers and logistics companies in preparedness plans and in response to specific disasters, FEMA can more rapidly and effectively respond to disasters anywhere in the United States.

 Figure 1 Distribution Centers of FEMA compared to Target and Wal-Mart.

Blog Emergency Preparedness

Contributors

* Arc Aspicio |

Arc Aspicio is a management, strategy, and technology consulting firm that takes a mission-oriented approach to complex client challenges. Focused on innovation, Arc Aspicio provides services in strategy, design, human capital, operations, analytics and visualization, technology and information sharing. The company is known for a strong, collaborative culture that values gratitude, provides leadership opportunities, and explores the future. Our teams take a human-centered approach to working with clients and are flexible and responsive within dynamic Government client environments where missions evolve and new priorities arise sometimes even daily. We thrive on these situations and promote continuous improvement and new ideas. And, #welovedogs! Follow us on Twitter @arcaspicio or learn more at www.arcaspicio.com.

Lynn Ann Casey / Chief Executive Officer info@arcaspicio.com 703.465.2060

Launching into #Action Through Strategy

Launching into #Action Through Strategy

As a new employee, your first company-wide meeting can make you nervous. This was how I felt.

Arc Aspicio’s recent Strategy Launch Day was so well planned and it involved participants so that I learned that I had nothing to worry about! The company treats each employee equally and equips even the newest joiners with the information and skills they need to have a meaningful experience

What Being a Consultant Means to Me

What Being a Consultant Means to Me

As a Consulting Associate at Arc Aspicio, I provide expertise and insight to help clients solve difficult problems. To be successful, a consultant does not need only to be a subject matter expert on their client’s industry and needs - though this often ends up happening over time.

Captivate Your Audience Through Design+Data

Captivate Your Audience Through Design+Data

So often, senior leaders must communicate their strategic and simple vision in a world of growing complexity. They must make decisions – and frequently explain them – based on an enterprise view of their data. It’s getting easier to do this these days through data visualizations and infographics that speak to specific employee and stakeholder audiences. Design+Data is what we call it at Arc Aspicio.

Chief Data Officers: Six Steps to Manage Data as an Enterprise Asset

Chief Data Officers: Six Steps to Manage Data as an Enterprise Asset

With an exponential increase in the types and quantities of data, organizations need defined strategies and techniques to manage data as an enterprise asset. To create enterprise-wide use of data, a Chief Data Officer (CDO) needs a clear data agenda for leadership and the whole organization to address current and future needs. CDOs should follow this six-part data plan to achieve short term capability gains and plot a path to greater enterprise data maturity.

Securing Cyberspace: Agile Strategy to Counter Changing Threats

Securing Cyberspace: Agile Strategy to Counter Changing Threats

Cybersecurity, managing and protecting computer systems from attacks, is evolving just as quickly as the techniques hackers use to cause damage. Historically, the public and private sectors believed that stronger technology and more advanced computer systems alone were enough to prevent attacks. As new trends emerge and the technologies used to both conduct and prevent hackings improve, cybersecurity strategies must remain agile, trying new tactics to counter changing threats.

Hacking Back – Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?

Hacking Back – Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?

With the increased frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks worldwide, companies and executives are becoming frustrated with a traditional focus on defensive tactics. As a result, some private sector actors are taking a more active role in cybersecurity by “hacking back” – hacking against the very groups that are attacking their systems in retaliation or to retrieve stolen data. As hacking back rises in popularity, it is important to consider a number of political and legal issues and the risks to counter-terrorism efforts.

LeadersNest Names Lynn Ann Casey a FedFem Award Honoree

LeadersNest Names Lynn Ann Casey a FedFem Award Honoree

Washington, DC, October 19, 2018 — LeadersNest named Arc Aspicio CEO Lynn Ann Casey a FedFem Award Honoree. The FedFem awards salute high-impact women executives and leaders of the government contracting community. FedFem Award Honorees blend their entrepreneurial courage and Federal government support that effectively impacts the industry, national economy, and the local marketplace. 

Boosting the Mission: Developing Acquisition Requirements Guidance

Boosting the Mission: Developing Acquisition Requirements Guidance

To keep up with the fast pace of change in the field of Government acquisitions, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) components are developing their own acquisition requirements (AR) policies. However, without specific timeframes to finalize these policies, DHS agencies often lack guidance on how to develop ARs. Among DHS agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard is leading the way with their own formal policy to describe this process. To compliment the U.S. Coast Guard’s policy, DHS created the Joint Requirements Integration and Management System (JRIMS) to offer direction for agencies—to review, validate, and suggest solutions for capability gaps and requirements.

Top Qualities of Design Thinking Leaders

Top Qualities of Design Thinking Leaders

Design Thinking is on the rise in the business world. Design Thinking leaders focus on creating the best product for their clients and working with the experiences and insight of fellow coworkers. Some of the key characteristics of Design Thinking leaders present themselves in individuals who are open and subject themselves to vulnerability with clients and coworkers. These qualities help leaders to connect and build relationships with others. They also create an open flow of communication that allows for others to better share their knowledge to align with and understand the company's mission.

Think, Key, Speak: Purposeful Communications

Think, Key, Speak: Purposeful Communications

I spent the early years of my career in the United States Navy as a Naval Flight Officer on the E-2C Hawkeye, the Navy’s aircraft carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Command and Control platform. The various missions of the aircraft demand that aircrew monitor up to ten radio frequencies, and actively speak on three or four of those, at any given moment in flight.