News | May 18, 2018

Defense Logistics Agency, Fleet Readiness Center Southeast team up to tackle logistics

By Clifford Davis Fleet Readiness Center Southeast

In a first of its kind, the Defense Logistics Agency and Fleet Readiness Center Southeast formed a Joint Logistics Team to win the fight against supply chain delays in 2013.

The team proved so successful in getting the needed parts to speed aircraft through the maintenance, repair and overhaul facility, that it earned second place in the NAVAIR Commander Award in increasing fleet readiness.

“The idea behind the Joint Logistics Team came when the lead for our F/A-18 production line found he was dealing with too many entities to get parts,” said FRCSE Logistics Management Specialist Supervisor Ilene Schiffer. “He wanted one button to push, so the Joint Logistics Team was formed for the F/A-18 line in 2013.”

However, the task of essentially merging elements of two separate government agencies was monumental.

“It’s hard to explain how much work this was for our folks to connect all these dots,” said team member Cmdr. Dan Bessman of DLA Aviation. “But we sat down and figured out what we all could bring to the table, put our pride and affiliations aside and got to work.”

At the F/A-18 line, where the fleet’s fighter planes are inspected and repaired, parts needed for maintenance work are charged to the plane’s account. The facility’s own manufacturing division can make the part, but it must be purchased - and only the amount that specific plane requires.

"That's what we were able to do," Bessman said. "We figured out how FRCSE could pay for short-term needs, and we could pay for long-term needs.

"So we had the initial parts ready quickly, and backups waiting on the shelf."

Other joint logistics teams soon followed at the facility’s manufacturing division, another for components and still another for the trainer aircraft line.

“Before the JLT, we had to reach out individually to DLA or contract logistics support or our production controllers,” said Rob Aceves, the former head of the trainer production line, now serving as the manufacturing lead. “The team gave us a single point of contact, one team, and they were all working together towards the goal of getting us the parts we needed.”

The team concept behind the group was crucial, according to Bessman.

“FRCSE really had an incredible year last year as far as aircraft and component production numbers,” said Cmdr. Dan Bessman of DLA Aviation. “We were successful because everyone was willing to put their badges to the side and get down to work as a team.”