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News | Oct. 23, 2023

DCMA Springfield industrial specialist develops desk guide with lasting impact

By Jason Kaneshiro DCMA Eastern Region Public Affairs

A DCMA Springfield industrial specialist developed a desk guide for her job series years ago. It quickly proved its value to other contract management offices.

As the years passed, many of the agency’s systems changed and the guide needed a major update.

Senior Industrial Specialist Harriet Kerwin, the guide’s creator, developed the training aid and took it upon herself to work on an updated version that included the newest relevant information within the career field.

“I created the initial IS desk guide in 2016 as a way to help train an influx of new industrial specialists that were coming on board at DCMA Springfield,” Kerwin said. “Policy dictated what the IS had to do, but there was nothing that told us how to do those things.”

Kerwin said her goal was to gather available information into one reference document and to fill in the missing steps.

“Aside from performing production surveillance, the day-to-day IS tasks require a good understanding of many different computer applications. Not only how to navigate them, but, more importantly, how they interrelate with one another,” she said.

As users sent feedback or asked if there were plans to add a specific topic, Kerwin accumulated a long list of updates.

“Systems upgraded and links changed,” Kerwin said. “With new hires at my CMO, it became imperative that the guide be updated, and it took many hours to make that happen.”

DCMA Springfield’s Manufacturing and Production Team Leader, Rory Cioc, said Kerwin has been consistent in her approach to continuously improve.

"It is this behavior that has allowed her to succeed in this organization," Cioc said.

Like the original document, the updated version was a volunteer effort by Kerwin after she realized the urgent need for new content.

In December 2022, Kerwin requested some time each week to devote to the modernization of the guide. In the early-Spring of 2023, the fruits of her labors were realized when the revised IS desk guide was published and released to the workforce at DCMA Springfield and other CMOs.

“I very quickly started receiving emails from outside DCMA Springfield singing her praises,” Cioc said. “There has even been consideration for making her desk guide an agency standard.”

Kerwin said she began to realize the guide was a good resource and would be helpful to any new IS. She had no idea, however, that it would spread throughout the agency or be so well received.

“I also didn’t realize how useful it was to seasoned (industrial specialists), who use the guide as a refresher for tasks that they don’t perform on a regular basis,” Kerwin said. “It is clearly a much needed and useful document.”

She felt that these types of training products are absolutely beneficial on an agency-wide basis for both productivity and time savings.

“Personally, I feel a high level of responsibility to keep it updated, no matter how overwhelming and despite the fact that it is considered an optional part of my job,” Kerwin said. “I think that it’s clearly a much needed and much appreciated resource that I want to be able to share.”