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by Mr. Steve Stark

Production at Tobyhanna Army Depot, PA, requires a vast amount of raw metal—hundreds of different materials—and a lot of vendors to supply those metals. While that was a solution, it also becamea problem.

Working with multiple vendors over the years resulted in a complex process for cataloguing metals, which in turn periodically resulted in stock number redundancies or multiple part numbers, according to Michael Henry, chief of the Production Management Directorate’s Materiel Management Division at Tobyhanna.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is the largest fullservice electronics maintenance facility in DOD. Its mission is total sustainment: the design, manufacture, repair and overhaul of hundreds of electronic systems including satellite terminals, radio and radar systems, telephones, electro-optics, night vision and anti-intrusion devices, airborne surveillance equipment, navigational instruments, electronic warfare,and guidance and control systems for tactical missiles. A major element of the U.S. Army Communications – Electronics Command, Tobyhanna prides itself on the state-of-the-art automated test equipment and other advanced technologies it uses to deliver products and services.

With no standard supply format, it was time-consuming and inefficient to research all possible materials every time a customer submitted a request. To avoid the excess inventory that resulted from placing unnecessary orders, employees had to perform a manual review of every part to find a match. This happened on virtually every project and led to increased lead time, excess materials and higher costs. It also became a storage issue when the same material was stored in multiple locations, which made the search more difficult.

Ultimately the solution, which Tobyhanna developed after extensive analysis, was to consolidate its supply and supply tracking by using TW Metals Inc., aglobal supplier of specialty metals and the Northeast prime vendor of raw metals for DOD activities on the East Coast. Thus Tobyhanna tapped into the efficient supply chain already established for TW Metals.


Tobyhanna, as an Army Working Capital Fund installation, gets its operating capital from its revenue. So it has to deliver high-quality products on time.

“To improve efficiency and streamline processes, we developed a standard process that met all of the depot’s requirements,” Henry said. “The TW Metals project has helped us address issues and better manage our raw metal stock.”

Previously Tobyhanna Army Depot part numbers were not easily identified; items could not be ordered through the DOD Supply System when using the locally generated part numbers. Tobyhanna part numbers consisted of a description

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