DLA Aviation hosts agencywide Post Award Summit

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs


Defense Logistics Agency Aviation hosted more than 50 contract administrators from throughout the DLA enterprise and Defense Contract Management Agency for the 3rd Post Award Summit July 24-25.  The summit was held on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia.

DLA Aviation’s Acquisition Executive Cathy Contreras opened the summit stressing the important role contract administrators have in the procurement process.

“Thank you for all you do,” she said. “In post awards you are master problem solvers and have to understand a little about everything across the procurement process and enterprise.”

Robert Baker, chief, Contract Administration Division, Supplier Operations Commodities Directorate, DLA Aviation, helped organize the summit and agrees with Contreras.

“From my perspective being a contract administrator is one of the most challenging acquisition job roles in DLA,” he said. “We hold administrators to 8-10 metrics and at the same time expect them to resolve multiple issues daily to ensure materials gets delivered to the warfighter.”

Following Contreras, Baker introduced Charleen Trotter, an acquisition program specialist in Acquisition Programs Division, DLA Acquisition, DLA Headquarters, to attendees.  She played a vital role in organizing the summit.

Trotter shared with new attendees how the summits were formed back in 2016 by the On Time Delivery Continuous Process Improvement Initiative. 

“The summits, with sharing information across the major subordinate commands, are important to assist with improved OTD,” she said. “It is so important to share information for enterprise awareness of new initiatives, and creative thinking of how to improve or implement policies, processes and procedures.”

“You will learn about workload management, challenges, get first-hand explanations of the “whys” of why something is, for example, customer receipting and what is being done to improve this and assist with accurate OTD of supplier contracts,” she said. “Right now OTD is around 90 percent. We are looking to this summit to share ways you all can help the agency meet its goal of 93 percent.” 

Air Force Col. Abner Devallon, CPI portfolio manager, DLA Acquisitions, briefed the group on the joint DLA Acquisitions and DLA Logistics Operations CPI project on production lead time management that was the genesis of the post-award summits. PLT is the time between the placement of an order and delivery. The project lasted two years and was began to identify drivers impacting PLT.

Devallon said the research showed that PLT is primarily driven by contract modifications, inspections and acquisition processes.

Devallon shared several team recommendations to include focusing on behavior, determining how the agency’s Time-To-Award initiative influences buyer behavior; identifying conflicts in data integrity; and learning how to use artificial intelligence capabilities to improve forecasting.

OTD and ways to improve it was a central focus of the summit as well as ways to improve materiel availability while aligning and strengthening supplier relationship, and reforming business processes, said Baker.

Brendan Close, division chief, Industrial Hardware, DLA Troop Support, shared processes his division has put in place to improve warfighter support.

“We track OTD in addition to some locally developed metrics,” he said. “While OTD is an important measure, it is a snapshot in time based on a contract delivery date. It tells us little about the impact on readiness and does not distinguish a somewhat tardy delivery vs. an order that never comes in.”

Close said they determined that they needed to take more responsibility for DLA-caused delays.

“We are targeting our efforts not directly on the OTD goal but on improving materiel availability, creating stronger disincentives for poor performance, mass updating items to eliminate unnecessary inspection requirements, clearing aged delinquencies, increasing individual administrative productivity and reducing our post-award workload backlog,” he said.
“If we can achieve improvements in those areas, OTD improvements will follow.”

There were several shared challenges that DLA Headquarters personnel took as actions for future consideration such as multiple agency initiatives competing for constrained resources, conducting a study of work for post award resources to see if additional resources are needed at the MSCs.  They will also look at balancing work between available resources and knowledge capacity, identifying or bringing back available tools to manage workload, and managing large backlogs of post award requests. PARs provide a direct method by which the vendors are able to communicate issues and questions pertaining to an award to the award administrator.  They also serve as a record of what actions have be taken on the associated award.

The post award division chiefs at DLA’s major subordinate commands are also going to share standards and elements with each other and DLA Headquarters for post award administrator positions, and share how their individual organizations are set up.

Floyd A. Moore Jr. director, Supplier Operations Commodities, DLA Aviation, stressed some of the actions already being taken within the directorate to improve OTD.  

He said as always the importance of communicating cannot be stressed enough. 

“The activity continues to increase its engagements with DCMA, industry and targeted suppliers - those top 25 with 50 percent of the delinquencies,” he said.  “DLA Aviation is also increasing its collaborative forums with targeted industry, like the cables and bearings industry.”  He also said they’re looking inward to see how processes can be improved, for example, ensuring the activity has the right lead times on items and our material asset shipping receipt process is optimized.

Matthew Kirk, division chief, Supplier Support, Maritime Supplier Operations Directorate, DLA Land and Maritime, said that the summit was an excellent opportunity to network and collaborate with his peers and counterparts at the other DLA major subordinate commands. 

“It provided a great opportunity to share best practices and discuss ideas to improve post award processes to better support the warfighter,” he said.