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News | Nov. 17, 2017

Record year for DLA Energy SRM Program

By Connie Braesch DLA Energy Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Energy’s Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization Division had a record year keeping Department of Defense fuel storage facilities at maximum operational readiness.

“Both 2016 and 2017 were very successful years,” said DLA Energy SRM Division Chief Eric Wiedemann. “But 2017 was our best year ever in terms of the number of tanks that were returned to operation … the best since DLA Energy has been managing the program.”

The SRM Division, in conjunction with the service control points and the service construction agents, established a goal of returning 125 tanks to service in fiscal year 2017. A goal to return more tanks than in any previous year and about 45 more tanks than the average number returned for the previous three fiscal years. By the end of the fiscal year, the SRM team not only achieved their goal but they exceeded it by 22 tanks – achieving 117 percent of their initial target. 

This was a tremendous accomplishment and is a testament to the multiple process improvements made within DLA and by the service construction agents, Wiedemann said.

DLA Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Martin Chapin expressed his gratitude to the team for coming together to meet and exceed the plan.

“A trusted and reliable infrastructure is at the heart of the energy supply chain,” Chapin said. “The SRM Program has made outstanding progress to ensure our customers have the fuel storage capability needed to execute their missions. In today’s environment, fuel tanks and infrastructure are every bit as much of a warfighting asset as a tank, fighter plane or combatant vessel.”

Anticipating needs, identifying potential disruptions and closely working with DLA Energy partners was a key focus for the SRM Division in fiscal year 2017 and will continue to be in the future. Responsible for about 75 percent of DOD fixed-fuel facilities, the SRM Division ensures each facility complies with engineering and environmental regulations and meets emerging warfighter needs. 

“In 2011, about 80 percent of our work was emergent, which means somebody found a problem requiring us to respond to fix the problem,” Wiedemann said. “Because of improved processes and teamwork, by the end of fiscal year 2017, only about 13 percent was emergent. DLA Energy SRM is now a proactive program able to identify deficiencies and repair them, before they result in disruption to the fuel systems.”

He said keeping the fuel tanks properly inspected and addressing problems early can reduce the time tanks are out of service and therefore any possible negative impacts to the supply chain.

Wiedemann compares SRM’s efforts to maintaining your vehicle. 

“Because you take your car in for the 50,000 mile service check and get the oil and tires changed, you aren’t having breakdowns on the side of the road,” he said. “Similarly, because of our proactive centrally managed programs, we have not had any tanks go out of service unexpectedly because something broke for many years.”

Wiedemann attributes the program’s success to not only continuous process improvements, effective resource management and streamlined DLA Energy processes but also to the amazing people in the SRM Division and its partnerships.

“We have a very talented workforce, and we have a very strong relationship with service control points and service construction agents,” he said. “We have a ton of superstars, and it’s not that we are just waiting for things to happen and then reacting to it. We have people that are thinking ahead and are always looking for ways to improve.”

He added that his “superstars” like DLA Energy SRM Branch Chief Debra Simpson, Management and Program Analyst Laura Funk and Logistics Management Specialist Datoya Taylor are key to the program’s success and growth. 

“A big key to success is the analysis team. While we have teams focused on projects, it’s the program analysis and master planning team members that are able to do the metrics and help management adjust the processes so that we can continue to improve,” Wiedemann said.

For fiscal year 2018, the SRM Division is moving toward a steady state for tank inspections and repairs with a consistent goal of 80 to 90 tanks per year, he added.