SHARPE ARMY DEPOT - The Army & Air Force Exchange Service welcomed United States Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) Commanding General LTG Kenneth Dahl to its West Coast Distribution Center, offering a behind-the-scenes look at how the Department of Defense retailer's logistics network is transforming to welcome home 13 million Veterans with a lifetime online shopping benefit this Veterans Day.
The Aug. 22 visit marked the first time Dahl, an Exchange Board of Directors member since December 2015, toured a U.S.-based Exchange distribution center (DC). For the Exchange, the visit was a rare opportunity to highlight Logistics efforts for a sitting board member. Dahl was given an operations overview of the DC, including receiving, storage, order selection, flow, transportation, shipping and e-commerce.
He stopped at several stations, shaking hands with associates and hearing more about how their jobs help the Exchange take care of Soldiers, Airmen, families, retirees—and soon, Veterans.
"It's exciting to be here at the epicenter of all you are doing to welcome home Veterans online," Dahl said. "Veterans have a desire and propensity for continued service to the Nation. Keeping them tightly connected with the military after they transition is critical, and I view the Veterans online shopping benefit as an important ingredient in sustaining that connection."
As the Exchange prepares for the launch of the newly approved Veterans online shopping benefit, which gives all honorably discharged Veterans the ability to shop online at ShopMyExchange.com, fulfilling e-commerce orders efficiently and accurately takes on even greater importance.
"The Exchange Logistics team has prepared for well over a year for the Veterans online shopping benefit," said Col. Karen Fleming, Exchange deputy logistics director. "It takes a very strong logistics network to be able to compete. For us to achieve our vision, the way we do business in our distribution centers has had to change."
Updated warehouse management and transportation management software, reallocated space for e-commerce order fulfillment and revamped duties for associates are among the changes the Exchange's distribution centers are undergoing to prepare for increased online traffic.
"E-commerce is our retail battlefield," Fleming said. "We are transforming to give our customers a seamless experience—just like what they would find with any major retailer."
Dahl praised the Exchange for offering Veterans what other retailers can't—a connection to their military family.
"Veterans will want to shop with you online," Dahl said. "They will like the connection to the military—Solider for Life, Airman for Life. They will recognize that by shopping with the Exchange, they are putting money back into Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs in local communities. It's very important we sustain our connection with Veterans, and Veterans online is an exciting new way to do that"
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The Army & Air Force Exchange Service goes where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives through goods and services provided. Exchange earnings provide dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs. The Exchange is part of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors, responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force through the Chiefs of Staff. To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site at http://www.aafes.com/about-exchange/public-affairs/press-releases.htm or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.