NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. –
Defense Logistics Agency Distribution is posturing for success —lowering costs and increasing productivity, the leadership team told Navy Rear Adm. Doug Noble during his inaugural visit to Defense Logistics Agency Distribution as DLA’s director of Logistics Operations and commander of Joint Regional Combat Support.
Noble and Patrick Kelleher, DLA executive director of Operations and Sustainment, received a command overview from Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Keith D. Reventlow and his leadership team, followed by a tour of DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania’s Eastern Distribution Center.
“This was a great opportunity to talk about all the important work happening here at DLA Distribution,” Noble said. “We’re moving quickly on deploying the Warehouse Management System, which is a big shift in the way this team does business across our warehouses, and it’s crucial that we’re all in sync.”
The Distribution team provided an in-depth look at support provided to warfighter readiness, highlighting the themes for future success as modernization, network optimization and policy changes to decrease costs and increase productivity throughout DLA Distribution’s worldwide network.
Optimizing the workforce, transportation, processes, infrastructure and technology and a new warehouse management system will help posture DLA Distribution for success. The WMS replaces a 1950’s era system, using a goods to person strategy, that delivers material to workstations, rather than employees traveling to multiple locations. The WMS also assists supervisors with managing and assigning workload and verifying that picks have been completed properly.
Since Dec. 2021, a new policy change directs all overseas military equipment repair parts and components to ship out from the Eastern Distribution Center in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, ensuring the warfighter receives equipment repair material where and when they need it. In addition to improving global material availability, the change has already saved the agency $200 million in inventory costs.
Supporting the agency’s tenant of, “warfighter first, people always,” DLA Distribution is looking at stock relocation throughout the network, using existing infrastructure to optimize storage capacity for the warfighters’ most active material, while modernizing and implementing ergonomic, wireless and mobile technologies to assist workers. The mobile technology is currently in use at nine of the 24 distribution centers and is already showing a 30% increase in productivity.
During a walking tour of the $200 million modernization effort at the Eastern Distribution Center, Noble saw the wireless voice pick equipment and the initial phase of a new automated receiving platform that will lead material to a buffer system, then to a seven-story storage area, controlled by artificial intelligence. The effort will triple the number of items picked each hour, provide employees with a more ergonomic work environment and improve order accuracy.
While DLA Distribution is implementing changes at their level, they also look to DLA Headquarters to partner in other policy and process changes for overall agency success.