News | June 1, 2017

Aviation Supplier Industry Days bring government, businesses together

By Kimberly K. Fritz, DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Supplier Industry Days kicked off May 16 in the Frank B. Lotts Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, for a two-day conference bringing industry business leaders and owners to participate in discussions getting the professionals representing warfighter demand and suppliers together. 

DLA Aviation’s Supplier Operations Commodities Directorate hosted the event that brought more than 110 industry business owners and leaders to DSCR for talks about government processes including the post-award process, how the Defense Contract Management Agency works with DLA, the recent change from EMALL to FedMall and breakout sessions.

FedMall, a web-based ordering site, is a full e-Commerce site that provides the ability to find and acquire goods from commercial and government sources for federal, state and local governments, as well as other authorized buyers. FedMall is set to replace the Department of Defense EMALL in June. The system will improve navigation based on keyword searches, and provide vendor price and product comparisons to achieve the best value for the customer. It will provide access to more than 25 million products with market-driven competition with dynamic pricing and flexible contract arrangements while providing a safe shopping experience.

Floyd Moore, deputy director, Supplier Operations Commodities Directorate and one of the event’s organizers, said the purpose of the gathering is to provide a forum for suppliers to attend where they could network, have face-to-face meetings, discuss challenges, find problem resolutions and obtain training.

“We established Industry Days in 2014 to foster positive business relationships,” Moore said. Industry partners were offered in-depth looks into the casting and forging process, Wide Area Workflow, source approval request processes and an insight into DLA contracting for new suppliers.

After attending break-out sessions and receiving briefings participants were able to ask questions from a panel of DLA Aviation leaders including Moore, Lynn Donnelly, deputy director, Procurement Process Support Directorate; David Carns, director, Engineering Directorate; and Ronald Tatem, sourcing strategy specialist, Planning Process Directorate.

Providing an avenue for suppliers to present challenges, obtain information on the direction DLA is going and build positive, mutually beneficial relationships is one of the event’s goals.

Moore said based on the feedback he’s received the event is very beneficial.

“Suppliers get an opportunity to have specific problems addressed, have discussions with Aviation’s leadership and build relationships with the people they’ll be working closely with over the life of the contracts,” he said.

Rick Augustine, manager, Government Contract Business Development, 3M Government Markets, offered feedback to the event’s organizers.

“We at 3M had a great series of meetings during and after the supplier events this year,” he said. “Because of the number of contracts we have in place, we generally stay an extra day in order to meet with many of the folks we work with throughout the year. We really appreciate the additional access to your staff while we’re in town.”

He continued by sharing a process he has noticed as exceptional support by one team member.

“We’ve been working contracts for more years than I’d like to admit and I can honestly tell you that the post award support, follow-up, attention to detail, and professionalism that we receive from Bill Westerman is consistently phenomenal,” Augustine said.

Westerman is a contract administrator in the Contract Administration Division, Supplier Operations Commodities Directorate at DLA Aviation.

Moore offered closing remarks saying that the goal is to offer information to suppliers, get feedback and build better practices and relationships.

Attendee Sherman Maddux of NewTech, a facilities and operational management support provider based in Marietta, Georgia, said process improvement has worked at DLA Aviation.

“The DLA process is the way to go,” Maddux said. “You aren’t just taking the steps, you are working the steps.”