New medical supplies contract will save warfighter, taxpayer millions

By Shawn J. Jones DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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Stretching a dollar just got easier for U.S. military medical personnel across the globe.

Acquisition professionals at Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support are implementing a new medical and surgical prime vendor program, which is projected to save $168 million over 10 years.

A prime vendor is a single distributor that provides consolidated ordering and delivery of brand-specific medical supplies from multiple manufacturers at prices predetermined as fair and reasonable.

Maryann DiMeo manages the contracting team that helped ensure the medical and surgical prime vendor program remained a good deal for the warfighter and the taxpayer. She said the team performed an exhaustive evaluation of vendor pricing. And when needed, they negotiated with the vendors to achieve the best value.

“They really did a good job getting those prices down,” DiMeo said.

Contracting officer David Zarenkiewicz, a member of DiMeo’s team, said it took a lot of teamwork and collaboration to make the new program more efficient than its predecessor.

“So often in the media, you hear about government waste,” he said. “I’m glad we made the right decisions and fought the right fights, which are always necessary to avoid waste.”

Zarenkiewicz said developing the new prime vendor program, which has a maximum value of $13 billion, was a new experience.

“I’ve worked so many contracts, but nothing of this magnitude before,” he said.

One of the challenges inherent in such a large contract is justifying decisions to DLA’s internal review process. He said the internal review was work-intensive at times, but he knows why it’s in place.

“When you are planning to spend this much of our taxpayers’ money, there is a need to have a lot of oversight, and I completely understand that,” Zarenkiewicz said. “We saved the taxpayers so much money. It’s a great feeling.”

While the new prime vendor contracts were awarded Feb. 2, DiMeo said her team still has plenty to keep them busy before the new program officially begins in June.

“On our end, it’s all about what the duck is doing under the water,” DiMeo said. “There’s a lot going on behind the scenes.”

She said her team must visit customers to provide training, establish customer accounts in the new system and establish more than 1,000 administration contracts to support the electronic ordering system.

However, DiMeo said all the hard work has its rewards.

“It’s a fabulous feeling to know that you’re giving the warfighter what they need, and you’re also saving the taxpayer’s money.”