During a recent visit to Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Army Lt. Col. Sherdrick Rankin, DLA Troop Support Europe and Africa commander, recognized members of the Procurement Process Support team for their outstanding dedication and support to the Europe and Africa organization Sept. 5.
“This team does a great job every day, and I think it’s important to tell someone who is exceeding the requirement, ‘thank you,’” Rankin said. “They mean so much to us over at [DLA Troop Support] Europe and Africa, and it’s their hard work that helps us exceed in our mission.”
The DLA Troop Support Procurement Process Support office assists the acquisition workforce with training and guidance throughout the contracting process.
Rankin said the office was invaluable with their assistance on many of their important projects, including the Local Market Ready, and Maintenance, Repair and Operations programs, as well as training newly hired contracting specialist on the DLA system.
The LMR program allows Troop Support Europe and Africa to procure market item goods, such as eggs, bottled water, and fresh fruit and vegetables, close to the Warfighter’s location creating faster response times and saving money on transportation and storage.
“Things like the LMR program are huge. Especially in places like Africa where you don’t have as many service members as you would in the Middle East or Europe,” Rankin said. “So when Marines get sent to a country like Tunisia for an exercise, there’s a local vender there with bottled water we can tap into. So instead of long lead time and bringing water into a country where it can get delayed within the system, we can get it locally and the vender can just drive it up in his truck.”
Navy Capt. James Gayton, Procurement Process Support chief, said his team worked with Troop Support Europe and Africa to team up with LMR suppliers throughout the region. He said there are many benefits with partnering with local suppliers.
“One of the missions we support is being able to infuse capital into local economies where the warfighters is,” he said. “That way you build relationships and also eliminate a single point of failure scenario.”
From August 2018 to July 2019, total LMR sales reached over $17 million.
The group also worked on the MRO program, which provides tailored support for facilities maintenance, public works, civil engineering, family housing and base supply customers around the world.
“The Warfighter loves this program because they can talk directly to the vendor and explain the requirements of what they need,” Rankin said. “Sometimes that vendor may have some experience from a previous requirement and say, ‘Well, have you considered these things? Have you ever thought about doing it this way?’”
Gayton said the MRO program became so popular amongst the services, Troop Support Europe and Africa needed to issue another contract so customers could benefit from the program.
“It’s actually so popular it was almost a second-order issue,” Gayton said. “They had a four-year contract in place, but when the word got out about the program, it spread through the services and customers started using it significantly more. They had to get another contract in place quickly to continue benefitting the Warfighter.”
Due to hiring and manpower shortages, Troop Support Europe and Africa’s Supplier Operations Division has been short staffed. Recent hiring efforts have filled those positions and the Procurement Process Support team was asked to create a training program to introduce the new employees to the DLA contracting system.
“They have a lot of new people,” Gayton said. “They all are contracting professionals, but some of them come from places where they use different contracting vehicles. So we were asked to identify and utilize some training topics so they can get plugged in to support the mission as soon as possible.”
Rankin said the office’s assistance with these and other projects have been imperative to Troop Support Europe and Africa’s success, and his thanks goes beyond himself and his team.
“They may never get to see the Warfighter using the items or programs that they helped procure,” he said. “So the least I could do is come here and let them know how much they appreciate it.”