While many college basketball fans’ brackets were busted early, the PR Madness continues for the Industrial Hardware supply chain at the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support.
IH’s play on the annual college hoops tournament has grown and evolved with the supply chain’s priorities. But PR Madness, first held in 2015, still stirs employees’ competitive spirits and has been a boost to productivity.
Joanne Anello and Mike Tarkett, the chiefs of IH’s two traditional acquisition divisions, created the competition. Anello said she developed a love for college basketball while watching games at the University of Pennsylvania’s famed Palestra.
“March Madness is my favorite sports competition, and I have always thought [about] how cool it would be to do something modeled after it,” Anello said. “Mike [Tarkett] and I saw it would have a positive impact on production, reducing backorders and aged purchase requests, team building and boosting morale.”
Modifying the win-to-advance concept of the college basketball tournament, Anello and Tarkett developed point values for different categories of acquisitions, depending on their level of complexity.
Other IH divisions have joined the madness this year. Jose Pereira, traditional technical division chief, and Andrea Woodring, supply division chief, have found ways to adopt the system so their employees can join tournament teams such as the PR Pirates, Philly Special and week three leaders, Nuclear Enterprise.
Instead of battling for acquisitions, the traditional technical division refined the competition for its diverse teams: technical data, quality, testing and engineering.
“I wanted to make sure the folks in [my division] were recognized for all the hard work they do in different areas, and this is a great way to recognize employees’ contributions,” Pereira said.
The traditional supply division has a “buzzer beater” style race to meet a goal – to reduce certain inventory documents by 50 percent – by the end of the competition.
Tarkett spurs on the competition by composing SportsCenter-style weekly updates. In he week two wrap-up, Tarkett wrote that Philly Special’s Ken Price, last year’s Most Valuable Player, had ”shook off the rust” for this year’s competition. Teammate Ryan Cunningham was quoted in the week three update about Price’s big performance.
“When Ken gets in the zone, we all just get out of his way,” Cunningham mused.
As the competition heats up, the teams have their eyes on the prize. The highest scoring teams in each division receive monetary or time-off awards.
Anello said the competition’s benefits continue after March ends.
“I see residual effects after PR Madness is over,” Anello said. “I noticed that there is a lot more knowledge sharing and helping one another across the divisions.”
PR Madness ends on April 13, and winners will be announced by team and individual high scorers for recognition by IH leaders.