Story and photos by MC2 Michael Doan, PAO, NAF Atsugi
Atsugi, Japan - People who have visited Naval Air Facility Atsugi’s Post Office since May of 2017 have likely noticed a lot of construction, but not been aware of the changes coming their way. On October 21, 2018 renovation of the post office came to an end, bringing changes to improve their customers’ experience.
“People may not know that when the post office was originally moved over to the current building, it was set to be temporary,” said Miami, Fla., native Chief Logistics Specialist Gonzalo Ramirez, acting leading chief petty officer for the post office. “The previous lay out was not customer friendly and this is what the renovation was to fix. The renovations have helped us go from our old set-up to a more efficient and permanent design.”
Working in an environment originally intended to be temporary can create inconveniences, especially for a post office processing an average of 8,000 pounds of incoming mail and 2,000 pounds of outgoing mail each week. “For the customer service desk and the lobby area, we have made that larger so we are able to help more customers,” said Ramirez. “We were working with limited space before; but now we have more room to fit the needs of our customers. It feels more open now and not so cramped.”
The improvements and additional space come just in time for customers seeking to send gifts back home during the busy holiday mailing period. “I think it is a great environment here, operation wise,” said Dededo, Guam native Logistics Specialist 1st Class Darryl Ortua, leading petty officer for the post office. “We have a great set up now especially after the renovation was completed. Everything is brand new and feels fresh.”
Ortua also said that he notices the positive impact the change has had on customers coming into the post office now that the layout is less confusing.
“They added more mailboxes and expanded areas so we can accommodate more personnel,” said Ortua. “We have more than 1,100 mailboxes now.” Not everyone is able to have their own personal mailbox and there are certain criteria that must be met for those seeking their own mailbox.
However, even more mailboxes are planned for the near future. “It is also going to be 24-hour access now for those with mailboxes to get their mail as opposed to how it was previously with people having to come in during our normal working hours to have someone hand them their mail,” said Ortua.
Ramirez also noted that customers have been waiting six months to see what the renovations would bring. The renovations were geared toward improving the customer’s experience and making it feel more like a stateside post office.