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ID scanner improves commissary efficiency

By Cpl. Brady Wood | | November 15, 2013

The Defense Commissary Agency has announced that commissaries worldwide will soon start scanning all patron ID cards and logging household information when they go through checkout, Oct. 31.

The new scanners will gather basic demographic information such as military status, branch of service, ID card number, household size, age, residential zip code and duty station zip code. All information gathered is secured and safeguarded.

"The demographic information will help us better understand our patrons and their preferences," said Joseph Jeu, the director and CEO of DeCA. "This will enable us to provide products and services directly related to the patron base at specific locations."

According to Cynthia Six, the commissary officer for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island Commissary, the Tri-Command Commissary is slated to start using the equipment Nov. 21.

"We already have the equipment here at the registers," said Six. "The only thing we are waiting for is the system to be setup."

Jeu also said that this new method will in no way compromise customer privacy.

"All we are doing is putting technology to work so that we can better understand our customers and ensure the commissary benefit continues to remain relevant to our customers now and in the future," said Jeu.

The demographic information allows DeCA to track if each commissary is reaching out to their authorized patrons.

"This is to prove that those that benefit from using the commissary are actually using it," said Six. "If for some reason we are not reaching all of our demographics, then DeCA gives us a plan to reach out to those who are not taking advantage of the commissary."

The Defense Commissary Agency also allows someone who would originally not be a patron eligible for the commissary benefit, to shop there.

"Let’s say for example you and your wife are both active duty and you’re getting ready to deploy," said Six. "If you have a child you can have a relative live here and with an agent letter you can get them approved to shop at the commissary all they need to do is make sure they have the letter when they checkout the groceries."

Once the ID scanner is ready to go, it will not only inform DeCA who is using the commissary, but also how the commissaries can be improved in order to better fit the demographic area.