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News | Nov. 2, 2015

Supplier Industry Day focuses on improving processes

By Bonnie Koenig DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Aviation hosted a Supplier Industry Day event in the Frank B. Lotts Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, Oct. 27 and 28.

DLA Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Allan Day hosted the event and told senior leaders and industry supply partners that DLA Aviation has 17 strategic suppliers and 5,000 plus additional suppliers who collaborate supporting the warfighter. Day said the event offered an opportunity to talk about how to do business better with DLA Aviation, discuss and understand processes, give feedback and share ideas on how to improve on processes.

“We are here to support the warfighter. DLA doesn’t do anything without our suppliers, and these are our most important relationships,” said Day. “Continuing strong relationships will make us more effective, profitable, dependable, and make us successful as a team.”

Following Day’s introduction and welcome, DLA Aviation Customer Operations Directorate’s David Brown the DLA Aviation Deployment Support Team supervisor, gave a presentation on the “why we do what we do.”  Brown emphasized ways the DLA team supports combatant commands and the warfighters by going to the theater of operation and giving direct support in resolving issues and getting the parts to where they are needed.

DLA Aviation Supplier Operations Directorate’s Post Award Chief Rob Baker also gave an overview on contract modifications, delinquencies, deviations and Post Award Requests (PARS).  He introduced PARs which is a system used to allow suppliers to communicate their requests for post-award action or information directly to the administrator. PARs replaced formerly used methods such as phone calls, emails, letters, or faxes. Baker said PARs also provides tracking actions and status, and suppliers can also access PARs to request a price, quantity, or delivery change.

Baker told attendees that from a post-award stand-point, DLA Aviation is warfighter-focused and the warfighters are our priority.

Discussions continued on contractual elements, and suppliers discussed demand planning strategies, leveraging ways of building relationships, and identified areas that could be improved.

Included in the presentations was a segment on Better Buying Power presented by DLA Aviation Procurement Process Support Directorate’s Judy Beavers, a directorate procurement analyst. Beavers covered the Better Buying Power initiative which focuses on continued process improvements, controlling costs, and being good stewards of funds in support of the warfighter.

“Better Buying Power pertains to all of DLA,” said Beavers. “And part of that is to continue strengthening our culture of cost consciousness, professionalism and technical excellence.”

Beavers said as part of changing the culture, other areas we are focusing on are to improve workforce professionalism through the mentoring program, job shadowing to gain understanding of other processes, eliminating redundant processes, improving efficiency, and promoting competition through reverse auctions and engineering.

Other sessions during the event covered topics that affect everyone, with breakout sessions built into the end of each day as time for suppliers to attend four sessions of their choosing to gain information or have discussions.

The second day began with a briefing from Defense Contacting Management Agency representative Bart Stewart, an operations research analyst, who spoke on topics that included: improving communication, first article testing, realistic targets in meeting contracts, and technical data deficiencies.

There was an open question-and-answer session with a leadership panel, composed of DLA Aviation directors and deputy directors for attendees to ask questions and receive leader guidance.

At the end of the two-day event there was an opportunity for suppliers to meet face-to-face with post award administrators to discuss other issues and concerns.

The intended outcome for Supplier Industry Day is to create a venue for DLA Aviation leadership to pass on current information to the suppliers and gather their feedback and then begin resolving issues to build better business relationships and practices.

Any questions submitted from the suppliers that require additional research will be addressed and answers will be posted on the external web page for suppliers to access and review.