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News | Sept. 22, 2021

Realignment of industrial hardware procurement to streamline support, yield savings

By Beth Reece

Transfer of the industrial hardware supply chain from Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support to DLA Aviation and DLA Land and Maritime is expected to better align weapons system support and enable the agency to support growing missions of other defense and federal agencies.

The transfer of procurement responsibility for over 900,000 items ranging from nuts and bolts to seals began in March 2020 and will be completed Sept. 30, one year ahead of schedule. DLA Troop Support will officially deactivate the supply chain, and the commodity group will then be referred to as consumable hardware starting Oct. 1. 

Moving industrial hardware work conducted by supplier-facing teams at DLA Troop Support to already existing customer-facing teams at DLA Aviation and DLA Land and Maritime streamlines acquisition functions and will improve communication and collaboration among employees, customers and suppliers, said John Bray of DLA Human Resources.

“Industrial hardware was kind of an anomaly at DLA Troop Support with the parts being much more common in aviation and land and maritime systems,” he said. “Although customers shouldn’t notice much difference, they’ll now be able to get answers to all their questions on industrial hardware from one source depending on which type of system is involved.”

The nearly 500 employees who handled industrial hardware at DLA Troop Support have gradually transitioned to positions in other supply chains at the Philadelphia-based organization with no loss of grade or pay. Some are or will undergo reskilling as DLA Troop Support incurs new missions in support of whole-of-government partners. Those missions are estimated to increase DLA Troop Support’s revenue by $7 billion through fiscal 2023. 

“The plus-up in workloads for supply chains like medical makes this transition even more beneficial and comes at a good time especially for DLA Troop Support,” Bray said. 

DLA expects to save about $8 million in annual labor costs as DLA Aviation and DLA Land and Maritime absorb the work using current employees, internal management reassignments and some new hires.

DLA leaders decided to streamline industrial hardware to increase effectiveness and efficiencies in 2018 as part of a series of initiatives to reduce material and operating costs, said Esther Wade, chief of DLA Logistics Operations’ Process Integration Division.  

“Finding smarter ways to support our customers will also help reduce our cost-recovery rate, which is a huge benefit not only to warfighters but to other federal agencies as well,” she said. 

The effort has been a collaboration between major subordinate commands and directorates throughout the agency to include business process, finance and human resources representatives. 

“Being able to make this happen sooner than originally scheduled is a testament to our close partnerships and our desire to better serve the warfighters,” Wade said. 

DLA has managed industrial hardware since the Navy transferred items like metal sheets, bearings and electrical cable to the Defense Industrial Supply Center in 1962.