RICHMOND, Va. –
One of the more challenging tasks for the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation teams supporting the Air Force industrial customers at the retail industrial sites is determining what materials to have on hand, quantities to stock, timelines of the requirement and ensuring demand and supply planning factors within DLA business systems are postured to maintain procurement pipelines for items with consistent demands.
For DLA Aviation at Oklahoma City, much of these tasks fall on the Planning and Support Division who work proactively with the Air Force customer to ensure the agency has the right material on the shelves and in the right quantities to meet production requirements. The division uses demand consensus events to align DLA planning to customer needs.
DLA Aviation customer support managers collaborate with representatives from the program offices and maintenance organizations on Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City to identify Air Force end items to undergo a demand consensus review. DLA Aviation deep look facilitators and demand planners lead DCEs with a cross functional team made up of stakeholders and subject matter experts from both the Air Force and DLA. The process is formalized and documented.
DCEs are item-by-item reviews of DLA-managed items the customer needs to accomplish a multitude of maintenance operations performed at the Air Logistics Complex on Tinker Air Force Base. These reviews ensure the agency is planning and procuring the correct items, in the correct quantities to support depot production.
“These meetings are a supportability analysis of DLA-managed items needed to meet maintenance requirements for Air Force-managed end items from a planning perspective,” said Chuck Kaminski, who is the chief of the Planning and Support Division. “The focus is to validate the customer’s requirements by reviewing demand signals and planning factors for existing parts requirements and then comparing them to actual usage or needs.”
Kaminski said wherever there is a difference between data points, the team challenges the planning factors and the drivers causing disconnects. The team then determines what factors or logistics cataloging data point needs to be adjusted or corrected and then initiates the necessary corrective actions. Actions like advising the customer to input a collaborative forecast, adjustment to an existing forecast, adjustment of retail stock levels or updates to supportability assessment tools.
While conducting these reviews, the DLA team often uses the opportunity to educate Air Force attendees on actions required by them as the requirements owners to ensure DLA receives the correct demand signals to assist the agency in procuring and stocking material to support Air Force maintenance.
Planning and Integration Branch Chief Jennifer Abel said when the COVID pandemic began, the Planning and Support team strategized and explored options for hosting the events. Initially, they moved them into a training room on Tinker that provided the space to maintain the mandatory social distance protocols, but it quickly became problematic because Air Force personnel couldn’t access the necessary systems, thus reducing the effectiveness of the events.
Abel said after a bit of trial and error, the team was able to restructure the process and move events to a virtual environment. The change has been a success, reducing the number of days for the events, allowing some action items to be corrected during the events and increasing overall participation.
Since moving the DCEs to a virtual platform in April 2020, they have completed 23 events virtually, reviewed 4,000 national item identification numbers and generated 2,612 action items.
Kaminski said since they began hosting the events back in May 2019, they have facilitated a total of 71 DCEs, reviewed more than 11,000 NIINs and generated 8,138 action items, including updating weapon system designator coding and removing obsolete national item identification numbers from the bill of material.