Weight checks register $1.2 million in savings


The Tinker AFB office that helps military members with their residential moves saved more than $1.2 million since fiscal year 2013 by increasing how often it weighs trucks hauling household goods.


Expanding the number of moneysaving “reweighs” was also adopted at the regional Joint Personal Property Shipping Office at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph and saved about $2.2 million in 2016, according to preliminary estimates, said Chris Fellows, chief of the Tinker Personal Property and Passenger Movement Office.


“We initially gave our information to our regional partners of what we successfully came up with as an office back in 2014,” Fellows said. “They realized the successes we had accomplished at a local level, so they adopted this program and expanded it.”


With around 10 employees, the small office under the 72nd Logistics Readiness Squadron handles more than 2,000 moves a year in nine central Oklahoma counties.


The Department of Defense contracts with private moving companies to help move military members and their families for permanent changes of station. To calculate the move’s largest cost – the weight of the load – a truckload of household goods headed to Tinker, for example, will be weighed at the starting location to determine the per-pound payment for the DOD.


An average shipment weighs 7,000 to 8,000 pounds. Last year, the office performed 320 reweighs, said Ron Jackson, a quality assurance specialist.


“When we think about cost savings,” Fellows said, “we would like to get what we pay for. Sometimes the Department of Defense pays for weight moved that isn’t always accurate from the initial weighing and is overcharged. That added cost can be transferred not only to taxpayers, but also to the individual service member themselves if they in fact go overweight. Using scales, we want to validate the weight of a shipment that is moved and make sure the DOD gets what it pays for.”


A smaller part of the cost savings came from denying unnecessary expenses. A shipper or residential customers may request to crate an item, but the office may determine that a less expensive alternative is available and just as effective, such as sturdy boxing.


The Bldg. 469 office anticipates more savings starting this spring when it begins using a truck scale that already exists on base. In the past, shipments were weighed for a small fee on commercial scales in the area.


Permission to use the scales near the truck gate on the west side came through a collaborative effort among several offices on base, including 72nd Air Base Wing Civil Engineering and Defense Logistics Agency Distribution.


Jackson said the office reweighs about 8 percent of the shipments arriving in the metro area. The office, however, is aiming to move the percentage to around 12 percent with the on-base scale, he said. The peak moving season runs from around Memorial Day to early fall.


“The percentage of the amount of reweighs we do will go up because we are going to try to reweigh 100 percent of the personal property shipments coming to the base,” he said.


Fellows said “as a Personal Property and Passenger Movement Office, we strive to provide the customer an outstanding service experience. We want to make sure their move is cost-effective and efficient.”