RS Springfield Boldly Steps Into the Future
By Sgt. James Heuston
| | February 13, 2006
MARINE CORPS RECRUITING STATION SPRINGFIELD, MASS. --
The Operations Office at Recruiting Station Springfield is like any other around 1st Marine Corps District. Recruiting substations are checking in with the Operations Chief. Only Cpl. Phillip J. Ginsberg, operations clerk, RS Springfield is able to update the board from his computer.
Unlike other operations offices around the district, RS Springfield uses a digital projector instead of a magnetic board. Now instead of physically moving magnets around a large tin board, Ginsberg can change a single number on an Excel spreadsheet and update every cell linked to that number.
“If an average Operations day is five pool moves, five shippers and five contracts,” Ginsberg said. “What would take an hour to process now takes five minutes.”
And because the cells on the spreadsheet are linked with formulas, there is less chance of an error on the board.
“It’s like a recycling circle,” Ginsberg said. “The board feeds directly into the mission letters which enables the [operations officer] to do them in a speedy fashion.” Before the digital board, it typically took the operations officer two hours on mission night to complete the mission letters. “When he does them now they are directly linked to the board. So in essence we do each other’s work.”
“The concept of the digital board was an obvious one,” said Sgt. Robert T. Migneault, operations clerk.
Anyone familiar with available technology and the mission board could put the two together. Once it was found to be feasible, the hard part was getting a spreadsheet that worked as well as the magnetic board did.
“I had an Excel spreadsheet that we used,” said Migneault. “But it was just good enough to say we had something. When we saw that Cpl. Ginsberg knew what he was doing, we let him take the ball and run with it.”
Ginsberg had studied Excel while taking a college class at Holyoke Community College here.
It was all simple math, but getting the right cell linked to the right formulas was a challenge, Ginsberg explained. “You have to create cells that can merge and work together,” Ginsberg said.
The end result was a board that showed the RSS missions only three months out with any extra columns of information hidden.
“It’s as easy as a point and a click to pull that information up, but it’s not always displayed,” Ginsberg said.
“It has worked above our expectations,” Migneault said. “The [commanding officer] can see accurately where we’re at with contracting and shipping, as well as having the ability to print off a copy of the board and take it with him. Or we can even fax or email it to him whatever the case may be.”
After almost a year in service the digital board is still being fine-tuned for clarity and the information it provides.