Opening Doors: Fueling relationships across the federal government

By DLA Energy Public Affairs

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While the warfighter is the priority, non-Department of Defense partners can capitalize on Defense Logistics Agency Energy’s comprehensive supply chain network and economies of scale.
  
Offering its collective expertise to identify energy solutions, DLA Energy has an increasing number of non-DoD customers on its list.
  
“We want to partner with federal agencies to support their fuel needs,” said DLA Energy Customer Relationship Management Division Chief Marc McConahy. “Because of our established processes and systems, we are an efficient and effective source.”  
  
In fiscal year 2017, DLA Energy sold approximately 160 million gallons of fuel to more than 800 federal agencies worldwide. Customers included the U.S. Coast Guard, Veterans Administration, Department of State, General Services Administration, National Park Service, Department of Agriculture, Department of Transportation and others.
  
A new, unique partnership became effective in fiscal year 2018 between DLA Energy and the NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility.
  
By examining DLA’s Enterprise Business System reports, the DLA Energy Customer Relationship Management team identified jet fuel use at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility increased from 50,000 gallons per year in 2012 to more than 500,000 gallons per year in 2016.
  
“In our outreach with NASA, we discovered that fuel consumption at Wallops had gone up 88 percent due to increased DoD use of the NASA facility,” McConahy said.
  
The awareness of this stark increase prompted NASA to review their current vendor contract agreement and begin exploring new strategic alliances with DLA Energy. A collaborative team of NASA and DLA Energy members met to jointly examine the facility’s jet fuel supply chains, operational requirements and costs. The team’s objective was to identify the most cost-effective supply solution that would meet both NASA and DoD mission requirements.
  
“We jointly concluded that purchasing fuel from a DLA Energy Defense Fuel Supply Point was the most cost-effective solution for both NASA and DoD,” McConahy said. “We will deliver 480,000 gallons of Jet A, saving half a million dollars in fiscal year 2018. This is a great example of how we can benefit the customer with proven processes to effectively provide for their needs and save money while doing it.”
  
DLA Energy fuel agreements not only save the federal government money but also come in handy during a contingency.
  
“During the 2017 hurricane season, some of our customers like the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection were having difficulty getting fuel for storm response and recovery operations,” McConahy said. “Because we had an existing agreement with them, DLA Energy was able to supply them the fuel they needed.”

The Process
  
The first step in partnering with a non-DoD customer is to ensure DLA Energy can help that agency fulfill its mission more efficiently and effectively.
  
DLA Energy managers meet with or contact counterparts from prospective customers and explain the services and expertise DLA Energy provides.
  
“It requires close coordination with federal agencies to help them determine their requirements and ensure consistency,” said DLA Energy Customer Account Specialist Phillip Adams. “In some cases, the agency might not have visibility on fuel they are receiving. It’s our job to help them.”
  
Next, DLA Energy creates a fuel purchase agreement with the potential customer.
  
“Selling fuel to non-DoD agencies requires systems and procedures that are consistent, transparent and auditable, and it is up to the CRM Division to establish and monitor these agreements,” McConahy said.
  
As of April 2018, DLA Energy had completed 77 fuel purchase agreements supporting other U.S. government agencies.
  
Once the agreement is in place, the DLA Energy Mobility Fuels Customer Support Division takes over to ensure a separation of duties.
  
“We validate the customer’s requirements to ensure the resulting contract fully supports their needs throughout the process all the way to completion,” said MFCS Division Chief Tom Redford. “We also provide training to customers in the use of DLA’s auditable systems to order and provide government acceptance of fuel received.”
  
New customers learn how to use the Enterprise External Business Portal and the Invoice, Receipt, Acceptance, and Property Transfer systems to place orders, accept fuel and make payments.
  
The automated system allows both parties to be in sync, Redford emphasized.
  
McConahy explained that the transition from mailed invoices and agency paper check payments to electronic billing using the Intergovernmental Payment and Collection System improves the speed and accuracy of payments.
  
“We know we’ve been fully successful when a federal agency can go into our systems and order fuel like they were ordering it online,” he said.
  
While fuel is the largest commodity DLA Energy manages, the agency also manages coal, electricity, natural gas, renewable energy and aerospace products for federal partners.
  
Federal agencies seeking to do business with DLA Energy can contact the 24/7 DLA Energy Help Desk at 1-800-446-4950 or energy.helpdesk@dla.mil.