The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support has teamed up with the National Industries for the Blind to provide more purchasing power for military and federal employees shopping at Base Supply Centers around the world.
The new AbilityOne Base Supply Center Tailored Logistics Support Program allows 16 nonprofit agencies under the NIB umbrella to compete for large purchase requests from customers throughout their 150 storefront shops on military installations and in federal buildings, a capability they did not previously have.
The program, comprised of 16 contracts with a total $150 million maximum value, was developed by DLA Troop Support’s Construction and Equipment supply chain to increase business for BSCs and improve job opportunities for individuals who are blind or visually impaired according to Tom Page, C&E Director of Supplier Operations.
“[At the 2019 NIB Expo] we discussed starting a program that would allow the storefront locations to compete for larger purchase orders, which would generate additional business and allow them to increase employment opportunities for blind and visually impaired individuals. Further, the scope of the AbilityOne TLSP would expand the already diverse product group portfolio managed by C&E and allow us to procure supplies for Whole of Government customers that we typically cannot support within our existing TLS or Prime Vendor programs for various Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief efforts, as an example.” Page said.
Base Supply Centers are one-stop shops for military and federal employees that sell a variety of products manufactured, assembled and packaged by people who are blind or have other significant disabilities through the AbilityOne program.
The new AbilityOne TLSP works as a way for C&E to facilitate purchase requests for BSC customers for orders that exceed the threshold of the government purchase card. This will, hopefully increase the revenue for the BSCs while simultaneously creating additional employment opportunities, according to Page. As a valid acquisition avenue, NPAs will compete to fulfill large orders similar to a standard multiple award contract, but competition within the program is limited to AbilityOne NPAs that operate the BSCs per federal regulations.
Tyrone Lyles, Troop Support Small Business Office special programs liason, said the partnership with NIB and the other nonprofit agencies will benefit everyone involved.
“It’s a win-win,” Lyles said. “These new contracts create opportunities for persons with disabilities under the AbilityOne Program, while also expanding the menu of products offered in the C&E Supply Chain and enhancing our strategic partnership with NIB.”
Kevin Lynch, NIB president and CEO, agreed the program will produce positive results.
“National Industries for the Blind and our associated nonprofit agencies are proud to support our nation’s military by providing a wide range of quality products and professional services,” Lynch said. “Our partnership with DLA and the AbilityOne Base Supply Center Tailored Logistics Support Program will enhance mission readiness for our military customers while creating and sustaining employment for Americans who are blind across the country.”
The AbilityOne program provides employment opportunities to more than 45,000 people who are blind or have significant disabilities, including approximately 3,000 veterans.