BATTLE CREEK, Mich –
The Defense Logistics Agency is on the transformative path known as Digital-Business Transformation, or D-BX, to address pressing challenges rooted in outdated legacy systems.
These legacy systems, plagued by fragmented data, manual processes, audit non-compliance, and aging infrastructure ill-suited for emerging technology, no longer meet the needs of the agency, its suppliers or its customers.
DLA held its third D-BX Senior Executive Service Offsite at the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, September 13 and 14, 2023. These offsites unite the agency's SESes and key leaders to chart the agency's course forward in adopting emerging technologies.
"In my view, this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the whole agency to come together and recapitalize how we do our business processes… That's the purpose of our presence here, and our success hinges on active senior leader engagement, not only at the enterprise headquarters but also within the major support commands and every other facet of our organization," said DLA Vice Director Brad Bunn, underscoring the conference's significance.
DLA is introducing a 'digital core' of information technologies to fortify its operational capabilities. This digital core will increase scalability, heighten collaboration, enhance security, and automate manual processes. It includes a single sign-on portal, simplifying access for DLA employees, alongside external portals for customers and suppliers engaged with the agency providing real-time access to engineering data and lead times, streamline ordering platforms with end-to-end order tracking, and improve supplier interactions.
D-BX is a pivotal element in DLA’s strategic plan explained Melissa Pratt, the acting director of the Program Executive Office’s strategic capabilities and processes team overseeing D-BX governance and orchestrating these events.
D-BX comprises 20 initiatives aimed at establishing foundational technologies to support operational procedures and improve efficiency. Eric Fegley, DLA Information Operations director, highlighted six key tenets: sustain performance during transition, increase standardization, decrease customization, maximize automation, deliver a delightful user experience, and kill Notification of Findings and Recommendations.
It was the first in Battle Creek.
“It’s a real honor to host the DLA senior leadership. We don't often get a chance to bring people from across DLA here to Battle Creek,” DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon said.
Cannon said it was great to have his fellow SESes see the facility and meet the Battle Creek workforce. Local employees volunteered to “shadow” visiting leaders assisting them during their time at the building and providing mentoring opportunities.
“I appreciated the decision to have a shadow program for senior leaders as part of the recent D-BX offsite,” DLA Energy Deputy Commander David Kless said. “It was an opportunity for them to ask questions and understand what occupies senior leaders’ time and get our perspective on topics ranging from operational support to personnel issues and developing the workforce. It was also very beneficial for me to listen to my shadow and get his opinion on the same topics.
“I’ve always been a huge proponent of shadow programs as it benefits both the senior leader and the employee, making us both better leaders and managers. Each time I engage an employee, I learn something new about the individual, their organization and myself,” Kless said.
The shadow programs and DB-X collaborative efforts that take place as the DLA leaders gather signify a dedication to learning, improving, and ultimately delivering better services to suppliers and customers alike. As Bunn said, “This is about making progress and keeping promises.”