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News | Nov. 7, 2019

Hardware supply chain employees promote cross-functional understanding

By John Dwyer III DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

Employees engaged in cross-functional discussions to learn how their roles complement those of offices they may not have direct interaction with on a regular basis during an event at the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Nov. 5 in Philadelphia.

DLA Troop Support Industrial Hardware leaders organized the event to bring employees from across the supply chain together to explain processes and field discussions on improving cross-process efficiencies.

“The goal is to come together to understand what we all do so we can support each other better,” Troop Support IH Technical Division chief Jose Pereira said.

A variety of topics, such as how technical drawing updates - used in the contracting process to ensure the right materiel specifications are used - are accomplished, filed and used in the acquisition process were discussed.

After each presentation, employees posed questions and recommendations to the audience to increase knowledge of the IH technical, supply and acquisition roles represented. Attendees also shared process improvements that program leads may not have realized affected other offices.

“I think everybody, depending on the stage of their career, gets a different level of benefit from [these discussions],” Robert Singley, an IH lead acquisition specialist, said. “For somebody very early in their [supply or acquisition] career - it might have blown their mind to find out that [technical and quality employees] work from a technical standpoint … and they’re working on the same problems the acquisition folks are, but from different perspectives.”

Having experienced cross-functional confusion in the past and seen the benefits of discussions like this, Singley appreciated the event.

“I think the cross-functional days are extremely beneficial to get people in the room together and pick each other’s brains,” Singley said. “Everybody sees things in a different light … and to just exchange information like that – it’s golden.”

While employees are encouraged to engage in this type of discussion regularly, IH leaders hold events such as this annually to keep the conversation alive, Periera said.

“We know our folks are talking to one another, but we want to make sure that employees see how much leadership values that level of engagement and understanding,” Pereira said.

An added benefit, Singley said, is the economic value of the session.

“It’s a cost effective way to solve problems and train employees in how what they do affects others,” Singley said. “Instead of creating an hour-long computer training or developing a course, employees get to hear about processes from the folks that lead them, ask questions and get real-time answers. And all it cost was less than an hour of employees’ time.”

Industry and customer descriptions of the different technical processes employed by IH can be found at the Troop Support Industrial Hardware Engineering and Technical Services webpage.