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Israel Hernandez


March marks the middle of our fiscal year, and all of us will be reviewing our FY08 progress. I think you will find that this year in the U.S. Commercial Service has been and will be one of change and continued growth. While we implement Commercial Diplomacy, on-line payment, the new client tracking system, the new CBS accounting system, and soon the new User Fee model, I want to thank you for your patience. These initiatives will fundamentally enhance our organization for years to come. Our challenge for the remainder of the year will be to remain focused on our performance goals amidst these changes. If you have any export successes that need to be submitted, please take the time to submit them before the end of March.

To begin, the new accounting system will be an important tool in continuing to remain fiscally responsible in FY08 and the future. We received more money than expected from Congress proving that our stakeholders find the U.S. Commercial Service valuable to U.S. businesses. Congress also decided that we and others can no longer use recoveries, or funds previously obligated in FY07 but not used, to supplement this year’s budget. In short, we must use all of our funding in the current fiscal year; thus changing how we operate every fiscal year. In short, this year will be truly a year of transition. The new accounting system will help us track our spending more closely, so that we can comply with this adjustment.

I know you are also experiencing challenges with the new client tracking system, and I assure you we are listening. To assist with these challenges, there are two Aplicor consultants working full-time at the helpdesk. When you call the helpdesk at 1-877-206-0645 or 1-202-482-1955 or email at Helpdesk@mail.doc.gov, indicate you have a CTS question and you will be routed directly to these two experts from Aplicor.

In the coming months, you can expect to receive detailed information and training on our new user-fee model. We hope to fully implement the model in May, but not before we have given you comprehensive training. This model will provide additional transparency and structure to our standardized services’ fees and incentives to encourage new-to-export clients to use our services. While this implementation comes shortly after other major changes, it will allow us to work with our clients more confidently.

As we work through these changes, our challenge is remaining focused on our performance goals. I want to first congratulate you for reaching over 100 percent of our first quarter target for total export successes. With one month left in the second quarter, we should be attentive to the number and types of export successes we are reporting. We are currently at 37 percent of our second quarter target for overall successes, and even further behind for our individual goals for New-to-Export and New-to-Market clients. I hope everyone will take some time this mid-year to review ways in which you can personally contribute to these goals, and I look forward to the new user fee model roll-out which will give an added incentive to increase our new-to-export client base.

Despite these challenges, the organizational climate survey showed that a majority of us believe strongly in our core mission and are highly engaged in our work. For that reason, I am confident we will weather these changes and maintain our performance goals. I encourage you all to review the survey results available online at http://www.buyusa.gov/customerservice/your_voice_your_organization.html

You will need the User Id, USFCS, and Password, crmu, in order to view the results.

I look forward to discussing how I will use the information you provided in the survey in the coming months to make our organization stronger. This organization deserves it, you deserve it.

Thank you for your continued patience as we implement these new initiatives together, and your continued dedication to your clients.
Best Wishes,

Best wishes,