COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime completed a DLA supply chain efficiency initiative by realigning its consumable hardware mission to better support DLA’s customers. The focus of the mission shift requires DLA Aviation and DLA Land and Maritime’s assumption and management of more than 900,000 national stock numbered items divided between the two Major Subordinate Commands.
In 2018 DLA leadership decided to realign the consumable hardware mission to increase procurement effectiveness and efficiencies as part of a series of initiatives to reduce overall material and operating costs.
The responsibility transfer included items ranging from o-rings, springs, seals, miscellaneous commercial hardware and more. It began in March 2020 and was officially completed Sept. 30, 2021, roughly a year ahead of schedule and required a gradual integration of NSNs into the Land and Maritime’s procurement operations.
“When we were presented with DLA’s revised procurement vision and expedited timeline, Land and Maritime moved quickly to restructure our internal processes and operating procedures to reflect what we felt would ensure seamless integration of the new mission,” said DLA Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. Kristen Fabry. “Specific initiatives aimed at improving DLA’s customer service profile always gets Land and Maritime laser focused on the mission in an expedited fashion.”
Spearheaded by Heath Berkshire, Land and Maritime’s Tactical Vehicle Support division chief, meeting the timeline involved successfully navigating several logistical challenges. “Primary among them were onboarding new personnel and completing training requirements in the COVID-19 environment,” said Berkshire.
The workload transferred to Land and Maritime included approximately 460,000 items. Land and Maritime added staff to be able to successfully integrate the new mission without impacting its current procurement activities.
“We had a few logistical hurdles to work through, but we involved multiple directorates and adapted operations as we encountered challenges,” said Berkshire. “The most crucial required us to hire, onboard and train the new employees in a virtual environment.”
Berkshire said that onboarding new employees had to be accomplished in a virtual environment dictated by COVID-19. Social distancing guidelines dictated a much more prolonged process than normal which required Land and Maritime to spread out both hiring and training timelines.
The slower the onboarding process prohibited in-person training and required Land and Maritime to spread out training demands to accommodate social distancing requirements. It also presented challenges in getting new employees acclimated to Land and Maritime’s work culture and required the inclusion of innovative techniques to complete the necessary training.
Berkshire added that Land and Maritime adjusted its internal operating processes to accommodate the new mission so there wouldn’t be a loss of momentum in ongoing operations.
“We optimize the use of automation in our procurement operations, so we’re anticipating improvements in operating efficiency as we move forward in embracing this new mission,” Berkshire said.
The transfer will also help free up resources at DLA Troop Support and position them to provide more focused support to other supply chain demands like DLA’s Whole of Government strategic initiative.
DLA expects to save about $8 million in annual labor costs as DLA Aviation and DLA Land and Maritime absorb the work associated with the mission transfer.