COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Partnerships, readiness and protecting the supply chain were key topics at the Captains of Industry Forum Aug. 24 hosted by Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime.
The interactive half-day session brought together industry giants from nine strategic suppliers and DLA senior leadership to discuss challenges and solutions on logistics topics.
This year’s theme, “Readiness Through Partnerships,” reflected a different tone than last year’s focus on cybersecurity, as recent worldwide events stress the importance of well-supplied warfighters and support to federal and state agencies.
DLA Acquisition Director Matt Beebe and Navy Rear Adm. Michelle Skubic, commander of DLA Land and Maritime, led the forum. In opening comments, both encouraged the participants to be candid and provide feedback to help DLA improve processes and understand industry perspectives. Senior leaders from Defense Contract Management Agency and Defense Contract Audit Agency were also on hand.
“DLA recognizes the importance of senior-level engagements with industry to have open, meaningful dialogue and really challenge how we go about doing our business,” Beebe said. “For us to advance in the area of readiness, we can’t do it without our industry partners and we need to learn from each other what’s working and where we need to strive to do better on behalf of the warfighter.”
By sharing more information, industry and DLA can be better partners in meeting high demands and getting parts where they need to be when they need to be there, Skubic added.
DLA Land and Maritime personnel briefed the executives on topics affecting the supply chains and provided overviews of the Army and Navy’s current efforts. Transportation and distribution network improvements were also discussed. Industry executives expressed the need for more information to prepare for near-future needs of the military services to prevent backlogs in supplying equipment to warfighters.
Skubic spoke on the pressures of today’s current operational environment and the critical need for DLA to meet those demands.
“We have the expectation that we’ll raise our game and by that I mean 100 percent supply availability,” said Skubic, of what the nation and military services need. “That kind of expectation – that we’ll deliver faster the right part when the customer needs it – all of those pressures are coming to bear in the operational environment you’re watching unfold.”
Industry participants suggested ways to streamline proposal processes to help get parts shipped out faster. Enhanced analysis, forecasting and upgrades to current technology were discussed among the group, with experts weighing in on challenges, options and lessons learned.
At the end of the session, leadership announced plans to host another Captains of Industry forum as part of the 2018 Supplier Conference next summer.