News | Sept. 12, 2018

Distribution town hall focuses on getting “back to the basics”

By Emily Tsambiras DLA Distribution Public Affairs

True to his word, DLA Distribution commanding officer Navy Supply Corps Rear Adm. Kevin Jones held his second Distribution town hall in as many months on Aug. 30. The event focused on getting “back to the basics:” two-way communication, greater concentration on safety and security, planning and resourcing, building a learning culture of basic problem solving, managing, developing and mentoring people and managing performance.

“Based on what I’ve observed [in the first 60 days in command], I’ve issued my Commander’s Guidance memo to leadership emphasizing “back to basics” of leadership accountability, objectives and responsibilities,” said Jones. “We need to be all in, all the time. That’s the motto.”

The guidance, according to Jones, was formulated based off of his first few months in command, considering his time at the headquarters, travel to distribution centers and meetings with key customers. “Based on my recent experiences, we’re going to build upon [the guidance] and form a campaign plan and all of you play a critical piece in that. We have a lot of people doing a lot of good things, but we need to make sure we’re viable and relevant in the future.”

Jones then updated the workforce on the organization’s “big rocks,” or current and/or looming challenges facing Distribution: reform, audit sustainment, and suspended stock.

Currently, Distribution is supporting DLA headquarters and OSD on Defense Reform. According to Jones, Distribution’s modernization efforts are being linked to Defense Reform as a good news story. Specifically, the update of a new Commercial Off-the-Shelf Warehouse Management System at DLA Distribution Corpus Christi, Texas, and proposed warehouse automation at DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, are being touted as the impetus the organization needs to position itself for future relevancy.

By implementing these new technologies, said Jones, the organization stands to realize a significant increase in productivity as a result of simplified processes and enhanced communications.

“We are optimizing the Distribution network. No one should be nervous when we talk about reform,” said Jones.

With regard to Distribution’s current audit status, Jones called it “the new normal.” In the second year of its Full Financial Statement Audit, the organization remains focused on its goal of a 100 percent physical inventory count at all centers in fiscal year 2019, said Jones. “We must accomplish this goal for the agency.”

He also took a moment to address another Distribution challenge- suspended stock. Describing it as “material that the Inventory Control Points or Major Subordinate Commands order that has come to us under legal disposition or is mismarked, mislabeled or broken,” Jones said that it is critical that we resolve these problematic items to ensure they continue to flow through the supply chain. “We need to resolve all material availability in order to get those jets up, tanks moving and ships underway.”

Transitioning to safety, Jones informed the audience that September is Materiel Handling Equipment Safety Month, and, although the majority of the headquarters does not typically operate MHE, it is important to maintain situational awareness in all types of driving environments. “Distracted driving is very prevalent. We drive home and we’re thinking about our day at work or things we need to accomplish and not necessarily paying attention to the hazards around us. I need you guys to be more aware, to take care of yourselves. I need you to come back to work safe and sound.”

Another area that employees must be vigilant, said Jones, is Operations Security. He emphasized that employees need to avoid wearing their Common Access Cards in public and discussing work in non-secure environments, saying “There are a lot of bad actors out there. We live in an unclassified world but it’s the aggregation of data that can create classified information. Just be aware.”

Jones capped off the event with an announcement of a new communication tool for employees to reach out to leadership with comments or concern. “Ask Distribution Command” (AskDistCommand@dla.mil) is a channel to communicate with the DLA Distribution commander or deputy commander without retribution. Jones stressed that it is not the appropriate channel to use in conjunction within an active complaint or grievance, and that everyone remain respectful and cognizant of the use of Personally Identifiable Information.