DLA director praises Troop Support performance during annual review

By Michael Tuttle DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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The Defense Logistics Agency director told DLA Troop Support leaders that each of their five supply chains have been “hugely transformational” over the last 20 years, improving support to the warfighter and other customers.

“You have been capable in driving significant change in your business practice,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch said Jan. 5 during a review of DLA Troop Support’s annual operating plan. “But the changes that are required of us going forward are equally as significant.”

Busch and other senior DLA leaders were in Philadelphia to discuss 2016 achievements and plans for 2017.

Busch praised DLA Troop Support leaders for the changes he’s seen in his 20 years associated with DLA. But based on military plans he saw while in Europe in December, more change is required to support the warfighter 10 to 15 years in the future.

One change being implemented is aligning DLA Troop Support’s regional commands with the agency’s regional commands. DLA Troop Support Europe and Africa now falls under DLA Europe and Africa. And DLA Troop Support Pacific falls under DLA Pacific.

Other DLA regional activities have also been realigned with the regional commands. The realignment is designed to give customers a single entry point to access the full range of DLA support.

“We’ll maintain strategic control of the supply chains,” Army Col. Eric Jackson, DLA Troop Support Customer Operations director. “And we’ll be in a supporting role to our regional commanders.”

Continuous process improvement is another source of change, and one that’s now ingrained in the Troop Support culture, Diana Stewart, acting director of the Command Support Office, said.

The CPI office works with teams in the supply chains and staff offices to improve efficiency and work quality while reducing costs.

“It’s not uncommon to hear, ‘have you CPI’d that?’” Stewart said. 

Two CSO employees, Jontell Platts and Raymond Finch, explained how they streamlined travel authorizations and improved Troop Support’s compliance rate in the Defense Travel System through their CPI project. The compliance rate increased from 78 percent to more than 90 percent.

“I appreciate the structure you’ve put into the CPI program,” Busch said. “The only way it can be sustained is if the workforce believes in it. The workforce has the opportunity (through CPI) to provide input into change.”

Troop Support provided $14.4 billion worth of materials to customers in fiscal 2016, its highest sales since 2012 and 43 percent of DLA sales. The increase is partially due to a growth in foreign military sales, especially in the Medical supply chain, said Army Brig. Gen. Charles Hamilton, DLA Troop Support commander.

Several support programs have also grown, including two in the Construction and Equipment supply chain: Maintenance, Repair and Operations, which provides construction and facilities maintenance equipment; and Special Operational Equipment, which provides tactical gear, personal protection equipment, search and rescue equipment and much more.

The Subsistence supply chain has also increased its support of schools with fresh fruit and vegetables through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Those sales led to Troop Support matching 2009 for the lowest cost recovery rate in its history. The rate is a surcharge customers pay DLA for materials. 

Supply chain leaders highlighted various efforts in support of DLA’s strategic goals. Hamilton said that the People and Culture goal area has been his priority since he took command in July 2015.

An example is the improved results in the DLA 2016 Culture Survey, largely due to 50 improvement initiatives that were driven by employee feedback in the 2014 survey, Stewart said.

The resiliency program at Troop Support also continues to grow, as a working group of volunteers host activities to promote resiliency for fellow employees.

The launch of a Troop Support leadership academy is another change being made based on employee feedback. Hamilton said that employees often don’t receive leadership training until after they’re in a supervisory position.

The first academy session is expected to begin by the end of January.