Puget Sound focuses on reducing customer wait times, improves processes

By Tim Martin DLA Maritime Item Manager

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Customers have been the focus for the past three years at the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime’s Puget Sound detachment.

The DLA Maritime - Puget Shop Stores item managers have worked diligently to improve customer support by driving down the not-in-stock or empty bin rate, reducing the risk of costly work stoppages at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

10 associates gather for a photo in front of two flags
The DLA Maritime - Puget Shop Stores item managers pose for group photo to honor their hard work over the past three years. The team developed a three pronged approach that decreased customer wait times. Pictured l-r: Kristine Equillos, Christine Hines, Tracy Hudson, Jeremy Frame, Steve Jackson, Andra Bryant, Brian Parker, James Ramsey, Tim Martin and Amanda Kimbley.
10 associates gather for a photo in front of two flags
DLA Maritime Puget Sound Shop Store Item Managers
The DLA Maritime - Puget Shop Stores item managers pose for group photo to honor their hard work over the past three years. The team developed a three pronged approach that decreased customer wait times. Pictured l-r: Kristine Equillos, Christine Hines, Tracy Hudson, Jeremy Frame, Steve Jackson, Andra Bryant, Brian Parker, James Ramsey, Tim Martin and Amanda Kimbley.
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 190429-D-D0441-085
The team developed a three pronged approach, which focused on: nontraditional procurement methods, technical training, and custom-made reports.

At the end of Fiscal Year 2016, the MSM team comprised of five item managers, two equipment specialists, and one lead item manager. They initiated the use of Military Standard Requisitioning and Issue Procedures, more commonly known as MILSTRIP, payment methods to procure material on DOD Electronic Mall, allowing the item manager to make critical sourcing decisions for commercial off-the-shelf items.   

With the phase out of eMall and the implementation of FedMall, fewer vendors and products were available to support Puget’s 4,500 MSM line item inventory.  

To overcome this hurdle the team started using General Services Administration’s 4th Party Logistics and SupplyCore’s DLA Maintenance, Repair and Operations for items that were not readily available through either the stock system or FedMall.  

In FY18 the Puget MSM team sourced 6,878 requisitions valued at $36.3 million. 

Prior to using these MILSTRIP payment methods the percentage of items that were previously sourced to the government purchase card under the micro-purchase threshold accounted for 20 percent of total requisitions in FY16.

In FY18 that number decreased to 15 percent with FedMall, 4PL and SupplyCore accounting for 10 percent of total requisitions valued at $5.2 million.

The changes implemented by item managers resulted in decreased not-in-stock rates, reduction of lead times on Quality Assurance “inspect 4 items,” allowing DLA Maritime – Puget Sound to store smaller quantities, increased bandwidth for the procurement department and empowered item managers through knowledge.    

In response to customer expansion the team relied heavily on detailed reports and increased technical training. The use of tailored reports provided individual item managers with the capability to set specific parameters for their own particular MSM line items.

These included historical lead times, yearly usage, current demand and desired stock levels necessary to provide uninterrupted support.

Previously, only a few item managers used these types of reports and relied primarily on the static parameters set forth by the Material Access Technology system to initiate reorder points.

Through training, group discussions and a culture of team work, item managers grew their collective knowledge base and greatly improved support of assigned items for the customer.

Prior to the expansion of responsibilities item managers were detached from the material they managed, and had a shallow depth of understanding regarding their administration.

One of the added, unintended benefits of expanding their responsibilities resulted in a greater understanding and appreciation of procurement challenges, either industry or item specific. 

Since initiation the average stock turn rate has increased from 1.18 in FY16 to 1.51 in FY18.

During this same period the average total empty bin rate decreased from 2.2 percent to 1.8. 

FY19 statistics, show the team is on pace for an average stock turn rate of 1.47, with an average empty bin rate of 1.2 percent.

“Through expanding the scope of the item manager position, we were able to gain more control of our procurement methods, thus reducing customer wait times,” said Michael Bryant, item manager branch supervisor.