Gettin’ the Goods

Getting Goods

gettin' the goods

guide to the MCX retail supply chain

Aaron Pylinski | Community Writer

There are a couple of common themes aboard MCAS Iwakuni. One is the population density and the other is the air station’s isolated locale. With all of us living so closely together, you can’t go without seeing someone at the Marine Corps Exchange (MCX) you just ran into at the commissary ten minutes prior.

Our isolated location is a key topic for the community as well. We aren’t isolated in the traditional sense of distance even though Iwakuni is almost 530 miles south of Tokyo. This isolation is due to the lack of western culture outside our gates and the fact that the closest MCX to us is in Hawaii. Once you leave the air station you are completely immersed in Japan.

This remoteness leaves little local support by way of retail and services. Which means we get a majority of our clothing and food from vendors in the United States. And since we’re the only location outside of the United States with an MCX, maintaining our stock comes with its challenges.

Getting goods to the airstation is no easy task and our team at MCCS is committed to getting the community what it needs, when it needs it.

*All shipping times are estimated

By the Numbers

Average MCX purchase: $26.94

Total items in stock in retail stores: 26,930

Customer interactions per year:

  • (retail): 913,536

  • (services): 122,534

  • (food/beverage/recreation): 1,257,039

Warehouse annual inventory shortage (over the past three years):

  • Allowable tolerance of inventory adjustment: 1% of total inventory value (MCCS-wide)

  • MCCS Iwakuni discrepancy rate: 0.1%

Retail Supply Chain

    • MCCS Iwakuni sends purchase order/request to buyer in United States
    • Buyer in Quantico sends purchase order to vendors/companies in the United States
    • Vendor handling and processing (15-20 days)
 Product shipped and received at port in Rancho Cucamonga, CA (10 days)
    • Product containerized and booked on ship bound for Japan
 Product ships to Japan and arrives in Yokohama (14-16 days)
    • Product transferred from ship and reloaded onto smaller vessel bound for Hakata, Japan via Pusan, South Korea (up to 7 days)
    • Arrives in Hakata, Japan and clears customs (2 days)
    • Container placed on truck, shipped to Iwakuni (1 day)
    • Estimated total days in transit from order to arrival in Iwakuni: 70 - 90 days

    Complication that may delay the shipping process include:

    • Japanese Holidays (Golden Week, New Years)
    • Storms at Sea
    • Local Political Issues (contract negotiations, etc.)

    "It is important to us and to the community to continually improve our supply chain."

    - Mark Neely, Chief of Business

    Did you know?

    Most clothing coming to the MCX are shipped by air. Though the shipping time is shorter, there are still a number of steps required just to get it in the air. It is faster to get merchandise to Iwakuni via air cargo, but it is far more expensive than shipping over the sea.

    • Headquarters, MCX selects items to be shipped
    • Items are consolidated on the West coast and prepared in containers for shipping
    • Containers are loaded on aircraft
    • Containers arrive at one of three locations: Osaka, Tokyo, or Fukuoka
    • The items clear customs
    • They are then loaded on trucks and moved to MCAS Iwakuni

    Total Shipping time: 7 to 10 days

    Average Monthly Freight Shipments

    Total shipments received/processed: 86

    40’ sea containers (20 pallets each) off-loaded: 36

    Air shipments from United States: 28

    Truck shipments from Kanto-area distribution centers (in Japan): 22

    High Selling Items by Activity


    Housewares – Hangers, Command Hooks, Microwaves

    Televisions – 32” or those that can fit in barracks

    Consumables – Sports Nutrition Products, Candy

    Food & Beverage

    • Hamburgers
    • Fries
    • Bottled Water
    • Power Drinks
    • Chips

    Shipments bring supplies to these important facilities

    • MCX
    • Main Marine Mart
    • Northside Marine Mart
    • Atago Marine Mart
    • MCXtreme Bikes & More
    • Car Rental
    • Crossroads Food Court and Cafe
    • Sakura Theater
    • Club Iwakuni
    • Torii Pines Cafe
    • Bulldog Burger
    • JD’s Grille
    • Starch n Stripes
    • Bowling Alley
    • Hangar
    • Temporary Living Facility (TLF)
    • Information, Tours, & Travel (IT&T)

    U.S. Armed Forces Classes for Supply

    • Class I - Food, Water, Health, & Comfort Items

    • Class II - Clothing & Equipment

    • Class III - Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants (POL)

    • Class IV - Construction Materials

    • Class V - Ammunition, Bombs, Explosives, Mines, Fuses, Detonators, Pyrotechnics, Missiles, Rockets, Propellants, & Associated Items.
    • Class VI - Personal demand items (such as soaps and toothpaste, writing material, snack food, beverages, cigarettes, batteries, alcohol, and cameras—nonmilitary sales items).
    • Class VII - Major end items such as Launchers, Tanks, Mobile Machine Shops, some Parachute Systems, & Military Vehicles.
    • Class VIII - Medical material including repair parts peculiar to medical equipment.
    • Class IX - Repair parts and components to include kits, assemblies, and subassemblies required for maintenance support of all military equipment.
    • Class X - Material to support nonmilitary programs such as agriculture and economic development (not included in Classes I through IX).

    “It’s a real balancing act to make sure we give the customer what they want and still not over-order and create waste.”

    - Ron Edwards, Distribution Facilities Manager


    The MCCS Iwakuni Warehouses are shared facilities. They support the MCX & on-station businesses (clubs, restaurants, franchises, meals for the labor and delivery unit, & the school lunch program).

    • Main Warehouse - by the MCX

    • Cold Storage

    • Dry Storage - for business & food court operations

    • Warehouse Annex - for beverage storage 

    Anywhere from 50-100 pallets of frozen food are stored off station at any given time. This is mainly because of the influx of servicemembers and their families in the growing community. This will be eliminated when the new, two-story warehouse is completed in 2019.

    Product availability is one of the best forms of customer service.

    - Roycelyn Rausch, Distribution Facilities Manager

    Exchange Food Concepts

    The warehouses support activities on station to include business and food concepts.

    Military Bases in Japan

    Though we share the country with numerous other military bases, we get little support from our brothers and sisters in arms. These are the main military bases here in Japan.

    Food Concepts

    • Bueno Burrito
    • Bulldog Burger
    • Club Iwakuni
    • Crossroads Cafe
    • Eagle's Nest
    • JD's Grille
    • Mobile Canteen
    • Sakura Theater
    • Soba Express
    • Torii Pines Cafe (Starbucks)

    Branded Concepts

    • Bueno Burrito
    • Bulldog Burger
    • Club Iwakuni
    • Crossroads Cafe
    • Eagle's Nest
    • JD's Grille
    • Mobile Canteen
    • Sakura Theater
    • Soba Express
    • Torii Pines Cafe (Starbucks)


    • MCAS Iwakuni, Iwakuni
    • MCAS Futenma, Okinawa

    Air Force

    • Misawa Air base, Misawa
    • Yokota Air base, Tokyo
    • Kadena Air Base, Okinawa


    • Atsugi Air base, Astugi
    • Sasebo Naval Base, Sasebo
    • Yokosuka Naval Base, Yokosuka


    • Camp Zama, Zama