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News | Aug. 26, 2015

Summit offers DLA, Army opportunity to enhance business process

By Michael Molinaro DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

After almost a year of implementing ways to improve the supply support given to the Army industrial base, key players of the Army Supply Plan (ASP) visited Columbus Aug. 11-13.

The ASP is a re-engineered business process to communicate future demands to DLA in support of Army repair lines. Land and Maritime hosted a summit with representatives from DLA Headquarters, DLA Aviation, Army Material Command (AMC), Life Cycle Management Commands, Depots, and Arsenals, enabling them to collectively roll up their sleeves and plan the way ahead.

“You’re in the right place at the right time to make a lasting effect on Army readiness,” Navy Rear Adm. John King, Land and Maritime commander, told the attendees. “At a working group level, this is where we need you to tell us what’s working, what’s not, and share everything to make sure we’re being effective.

“I want you to be vocal. I want you to share your thoughts in terms of how we get better. Don’t walk out of here with some type of concern or thought you had. Put it on the table.”

In the past, unreliable Army spare parts forecasts caused DLA to both buy too many parts and incur unnecessary inventory costs or to buy too few parts, negatively affecting depot operations and warfighter readiness. The ASP was the result of developing a plan of action with milestones to improve the accuracy of forecasts to the DLA.

ASP went live last October and, as is the case with any new process, has had its share of ups and downs. One topic planners addressed during the working group was metrics and being able to tell if the processes are functioning the way they need them to, Army Col. Sherrie Bosley said.

“Measuring things tells us whether we’re on track and it helps us identify the sources of when we’re not and what we need to do about it,” Bosley, Land Customer Operations director, said. “We’re here this week to figure everything out, and we’re going to come out of these three days better.”

Forecasts are means of calculating the likelihood of future events occurring, based on analyses of available data.  Since the start of the program, Bosley said more and more material is getting forecasted on time, and part of this business is that there’s always going to be surprises, things that aren’t forecasted. Several factors can impact the timing and extent of planned depot maintenance projects including higher priorities, shortage of parts, and associated work stoppages. Because of these factors, the depots may order a different amount of parts and may order them sooner or later than forecast.

By analyzing and developing process management solutions through collaboration between all of the organizations and activities that play a key role in ASP, DLA and the Army accomplish more and better serve Soldiers by working as a team. The early stages of ASP has seen more wins than losses and is on the verge of being something very special, according to David Frey, AMC G3/4.

“I’ve been doing this for a while and I can’t really claim very many victories where DLA and the Army have partnered to this level of success,” Frey said. “This effort has been hugely successful.”

In addition to metrics and system concerns, topics over the course of three days included roles and responsibilities, policy and procedures, and exceptions. Several breakout sessions will also be held between DLA and LCMC personnel to enable them to have frank and open discussions. Senior leadership at DLA and the Army plans to share the outcome of the working group session and set forth the future of ASP.