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NEWS | May 4, 2022

Latvians gain insight on US Army logistics from LRC Italy

By Stefanie Mosley, U.S. Army Garrison Italy

Officials from the Latvian State Defense Logistics and Procurement Centre paid a visit to U.S. Army Garrison Italy recently to observe Army logistics at work.

Led by Col. ErvĪns Kopeika, the group stopped by the Logistics Readiness Center Italy, a unit of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade, April 20, to see what systems and processes the Army uses to receive, inventory and issue supplies and equipment. Along with Kopeika, his team of leaders in warehouse management, data management and logistics planning were also in attendance.

“The Latvian military is considering upgrades to their own way for acquiring and issuing supplies and equipment,” Kopeika said. Inviting Latvian officials to see operations firsthand helps Latvian officials plan improvements to their logistics in support of allied forces.

“This trip is one of the greatest aspects of the partnership,” Kopeika said, referring to the nearly three decades of cooperation between the U.S. and Latvia.

Among logistics units, LRC Italy is unique as they provide support to more than just the Army in Vicenza and Livorno. Customers come from across the European footprint. The center’s work is essential to the units they support to ensure they maintain readiness at all times.

During their time in Vicenza, Kopeika’s team discussed the policies and procedures at the Central Receiving and Shipping point, the Central Issue Facility, and the Supply Support Activity with Keli’i Bright, director of LRC Italy, and representatives from each of his facilities. However, in true LRC Italy fashion, Bright took this opportunity to go a step further and maximize this trip for Kopeika and his associates.

“We were able to take them to a Rapid Fielding Initiative to show them how our CIF can 'associate' a piece of clothing or equipment to a Soldier's individual clothing record. CIF demonstrated how we can create a bar code for different types and sizes of equipment and connect that item to a Soldier's clothing profile via his or her Common Access Card,” Bright said.

In recent years, Latvia has sought new ways to improve their depot and warehouse systems and to make daily operations more efficient. Latvian officials are looking into a digitalization process by creating a barcode system – already in place at LRC Italy.

“Despite our efforts, our speed through the transition to digitalization is still a little slow and with the current threats in the world, it must be improved,” Kopeika said.

Moving forward, barcode technology will allow Latvia to receive, inventory and issue supplies and equipment and improve their daily operations in a much more efficient way, said Kopeika, who has been in the supply field for 28 years.

“I’ve come to understand you cannot copy somebody else’s system one for one,” Kopeika said. “But we work with our systems, with what we want to implement, with the differences we learn.”