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News | Nov. 22, 2019

New DLA CIO orientation to DLA Distribution focuses on technology as key enabler to modernization

By Dawn Bonsell, DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Navy Rear Adm. Kevin M. Jones, commanding officer, Defense Logistics Agency Distribution and his leadership team zeroed in on technology as a key enabler to DLA Distribution’s modernization efforts during a Nov. 15 orientation brief and tour for DLA’s new Chief Information Officer, Dr. George Duchak, Senior Executive Service.

Duchak opened the meeting by humbly noting his strong CIO/J6 background and that he is in the early stages of learning logistics. Noted by Jones’ leadership staff, the team began the orientation brief by foot stomping the important role information technology plays in logistics. “IT is integral in how we do our business every day,” said Scott Rosbaugh, DLA Distribution future plans director. Rosbaugh and the leadership team went on to explain Distribution’s operations—highlighting that of the 249 thousand customers, 80 customers make up 75% of the business.

DLA Distribution has over 50 global locations, with approximately 10,000 civilian, contractor, active duty and reserve military employees managing 2.4 million items in stock worth over $105 billion. The leadership team explained the importance of a reliable network with 18 million global transactions in fiscal year 2019. Duchak agreed, commenting, “I’ve come to realize that information moves first…before anything else.”

Following the general overview of Distribution operations, the leadership team went into describing the 21st century Distribution warehouse concept. “We’re in lockstep with your J6 team as it relates to modernization,” said Jones. The key project is the new warehouse management system pilot initiated in June 2018 at DLA Distribution Corpus Christi, Texas. In addition, a modernization project is scheduled for DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania’s Eastern Distribution Center, the largest warehouse within the Department of Defense. The effort will save the agency an estimated $107 million with a return on investment in 4.3 years. A “goods to man” capability based on advances in technology, concepts and processes that bring good to an employee at a fixed location is another modernization effort in the testing phase. Voice technology, tablets, printers and a Real Time Location System are also part of the robust modernization plan to bring the Distribution warehouses into the 21st century. The initial rollout of the various modernization concepts will focus on eight distribution centers with over 1 million transactions per year as appropriate to meet mission requirements. The J6 team is also focusing on issues surrounding cybersecurity as they relate to the new technology.

Following the modernization overview, Jones noted, “There’s a kid down range in Afghanistan who goes outside the line every night…and we need to make sure he has the materiel he needs,” said Jones.

Eric Fegley, DLA Information Operations customer experience director, highlighted the fiscal year 2020-defense wide review reductions, indicating, “The team looked at what we could reduce and still find efficiencies.”

The conclusion of Duchak’s orientation was a tour of the Eastern Distribution Center, during which Army Col. James M. Callis, commander, DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania and his team discussed potential technological solutions related to Distribution’s work environment. The DDSP team highlighted the continued need for modernization and specific tools such as Qlik®, which could improve Distribution’s processing, tracking and overall quality of work. The team explained that modernization efforts have been discussed over the past decade with plans to phase in modernization efforts so that the work in the EDC can continue with minimal interruption. The team highlighted that all efforts are geared toward improving readiness in support of the warfighter.