News>Feature - DLA Document Services handles print jobs
From left, electronic duplication specialist Barry Eubanks assists Tech. Sgt. Christopher Ré, 2nd Air Force, and Yeoman 2nd Class Rosann Hoffmann from Special Boat Team 22 at the Stennis Space Center with their printing needs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)
by Steve Hoffmann
81st Training Wing Public Affairs
4/27/2011 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Over the past 60 years, the Defense Logistics Agency Document Services has evolved into much more than the guys in the back making copies for the Department of Defense. While its thumb is still poised on the copier's start button, there are a whole range of document services available both online and off, hard copies or soft.
Indeed, they are not your grandparent's Document Automation and Production Service, literally. Formally known as DAPS, DLA Document Services just recently underwent a name change. Defense Logistics Agency is the DOD's largest logistics support agency providing the services and supplies they need to operate. DLA Document Services supports the warfighter and DOD community with all things related to document reproduction and distribution.
"One of our mottos is 'we exist for the convenience of our customers,'" said Patrick Jacobs, supervisory document automation specialist. "We are here to help the various squadrons and base agencies obtain the necessary documents they need to perform their mission."
All of the booklets, manuals, testing material, study guides and visuals needed to perform the training mission at Keesler are printed in the relatively small brick structure at 708 Fisher Street, Building 901. However, since a large percentage of DLA's customer base is military, often the knowledge of its presence and services leaves when the service member leaves without being transferred on to a replacement. So periodically, DLA Document Services needs to remind base customers that the agency is open for business.
In one form or another, copying and printing has been available on base throughout Keesler's history. The Air Force used to employ a large staff to operate large printing presses which printed documents in bulk and then stockpiled in warehouses. In the printing industry, that way has become a thing of the past. Today, DLA Document Services employs a much smaller, more efficient team using much smaller, faster printers that can print orders on demand without the need to warehouse them.
"On average we process 250 to 260 orders per month which translates into roughly up to 3 million copies per month and we do it all with five employees," said Mr. Jacobs. In addition to copies, DLA Document Services provides printing, collating, binding, scanning, imaging, document conversion, CD-ROM, web and design services.
The Keesler facility not only supports the base community, but other area military installations as well. The Seabee Base in Gulfport, Miss., Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg and Stennis Space Center in Hancock County all benefit from the services DLA Document Services can provide. The Keesler facility is one of 15 regional centers with headquarters at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. and one of 180 worldwide located primarily on U.S. military bases in seven countries. Mr. Jacobs manages five offices, including the one at Keesler.
"Being in this network results in better service for the customer," Mr. Jacobs pointed out. "If one office doesn't have the capability to meet a customer's needs, there's an office that does and we can get the job done.
"Also, our office is structured such that if only one person showed up to work on any given day, that person would be able to do whatever job needed to be done," he added.
DLA Document Services has developed a robust online ordering system that allows their facilities to process orders received from customers via the Internet. For the past three years, the Keesler facility has participated in and was one of the pilot facilities for the Air Force's new technical order distribution program. Updates on anything from equipment maintenance manuals to weapons manuals, flight manuals and procedural operations can be made to the original document and ordered online. When new discoveries are made in the field or on the job, these changes can be implemented and new manuals ordered and distributed more quickly than before.
"In the past, these products were warehoused in four locations across the U.S. and shipped everywhere," Mr. Jacobs explained. "Now they can be produced more locally as needed, which reduces costs."
Gradually, DLA Document Services has been working with customers to build digital libraries of documents with the ability to access them online as well as the conversion of paper documents to a digital format that can be edited.
But where the rubber hits the road for Mr. Jacobs and his team is producing a product that is visually accurate, high quality with high resolution and delivered in a timely manner. The U.S. Army's Handbook of Ammunitions Used in Afghanistan is an example of a product that requires a certain level of expertise. Produced in support of the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., this manual shows pictures and gives descriptions of the different types of ordinance, makeshift bombs and improvised explosive devices that the enemy
uses in Afghanistan.
"One of the requirements for this manual was that it be durable and waterproof so we printed it on a polyester stock," Mr. Jacobs explained.
"This particular stock is actually not paper at all -- it's plastic. It's durable and holds the color very well. So you can imagine if you were fighting in Afghanistan and came across something, you'd want the images and colors in this manual to be accurate so that you would know what you were looking at."
"That's what I like most about this business," said Mr. Jacobs. "No two jobs are alike. There's always something new every day."
Whatever your document needs, Mr. Jacobs recommends coming in and setting up an account.