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NEWS | Aug. 4, 2023

Enterprise approach enhances Army’s largest GPC program

By Daniel P. Elkins Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs

Government Purchase Card program division chiefs, branch chiefs and supervisors from throughout the command completed an onsite leaders summit July 11-13 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, as a culmination of an enterprise approach to increasing standardization of policies, processes and effective GPC mission support to the command’s internal and external customers.

The Mission and Installation Contracting Command GPC Program represents the Army’s largest and most complex charge card program, based on annual charge volume, transactions, rebates earned, complexity of databases systems, and portfolio of the Army’s most high-profile and high-operational tempo global customers, according to officials and data metrics.

“Over the last year, the MICC GPC Program transitioned from 31 offices managed by their respective office directors under the structure of two field directorate offices and two brigades to a centrally managed program under MICC Field Directorate Office at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston,” said Aundair Kinney, the deputy director for FDO Fort Sam Houston. “The process took about two years and was challenging."

Prior to the transition of portfolios, the MICC GPC Program consisted of 66 agency/organization program coordinators, or A/OPCs, aligned by local MICC office customers. The implementation of standardization measures reduces GPC program staffing to 44 personnel in the 1101 career series.

Kinney added the realignment has resulted in positive changes to include additional supervisory tiers, new products, a complete overhaul of account management, and updated GPC training.

"Our goal is to aid mission partners we support so that they can effectively carry out their mission. Although we have made improved processes and standardized efforts, we are on a never-ending journey to always improve the customer experience and engagement to help them meet their mission,” she said.

Ray Estrada, who has led the GPC centralization effort, joined the MICC in November 2015 as program manager before also taking on duties as director of MICC Program Management Directorate in August 2021. He quickly set out to begin working closely with leaders at the MICC headquarters as well as its subordinate brigades and field directorate offices to consolidate all agency/organization program coordinators, hiring directorate leadership, standardizing policies and workforce position descriptions, and realigning GPC portfolios.

“Through the centralization of MICC GPC Program management and supervisory of the command’s GPC workforce, our Army GPC customers will continue to benefit from increased standardization in GPC mission support, policies and processes; mission readiness and continuity of operations through an agency/organization program coordinator team concept; and best-in-class policy compliance business solutions,” Estrada said. “Specific for the MICC, the centralization yields increased manpower savings, operational cost savings, and ability for MICC office directors as well as staff at the brigade and field directorate level to focus on the contracting workload.”

Estrada explained that since the establishment of the MICC GPC Program Management Directorate in August 2021, unprecedented milestones have been accomplished. In addition to the consolidation and realignment of GPC portfolios at all levels of command, efforts included the immediate centralization of program management and mission support for the MICC’s 25-plus external customers and their approximately 12,500 GPC accounts; standardization of GPC workforce personnel performance objectives, training, evaluations and employee administration; and official transfer of supervisory responsibility of all 44 MICC GPC portfolio managers under the MICC GPC Program Management Directorate leadership.

He added those efforts have contributed to a substantial reduction in the number of delinquent cardholder accounts, which translates to additional buying power for cardholders and improved internal controls in their organization.

The GPC director added that his leadership team will continue efforts toward increasing enterprise-wide standardization of policies, processes, mission support, internal training and customer training moving forward. Additionally, they will continue to search for opportunities to increase operational and personnel efficiencies with the primary purpose of improving readiness for supported units.

Estrada said the MICC GPC Program supports the acquisition priorities for multiple mission partners while leveraging database, systems, analytics and reporting requirements. Organizations supported by the MICC GPC Program include the Department of Defense, Department of the Army, U.S. Southern Command, Forces Command, Army Reserve Command, Training and Doctrine Command, Installation Management Command, Army North, Futures Command, Army Enterprise Marketing Office, and Army Tuition Program.

As part of the transition, MICC GPC leaders have also rolled out two enterprise data and communication tools aimed at improving program management. The Enterprise Purchase Card Information Center, or EPIC, delivers the DOD its first data tool for integrating data from the three DOD-mandated GPC systems, providing increased and more efficient enterprise-wide oversight and global mission support. Additionally, the establishment of enterprise-wide communications and resources are now available through a consolidated, real-time MS Teams collaboration site as well as a cloud-based SharePoint portal platform – providing MICC GPC customers with a first-ever, centralized access point for GPC-related information, policy guidance and program personnel contacts.

“EPIC’s integration of the three DOD-mandated GPC systems has increased modernization of MICC's GPC program workforce mission support capabilities and gives the MICC Command the ability to provide real-time data to supported Commands for both garrison and deploying units,” Estrada said.

He added the GPC SharePoint portal is the MICC’s first-ever, centralized web-based repository for customers needing program personnel resources and GPC-related policy guidance, processes, procedures and training resources.