“It’s been a busy year”

By Tim Hoyle DLA Disposition Services

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Senior leaders from the director down to area managers gathered in Battle Creek, Michigan, Oct. 21-25 for the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services Senior Leader Summit.

DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon said it was “a busy year, but they are all busy years” as he kicked off the event started with a State of the Command address. His remarks outlined how well operations went for fiscal 2019 and the way ahead. Among the accomplishments for 2019 was the deployment of the Mobile Office systems that helps people receive property where it is and not be tied to a desk for the paperwork. Cannon stressed that sites that received the initial units need to use them so feedback can help assess how they are working.

“Maybe this is a tool that helps us better support the warfighter,” Cannon said. “It could really serve the disposal service representatives because it could mean one less trip to the field.”

The year saw the deployment to the Hazardous Material Management System-Hazardous Waste, which Cannon said would be a great tool for managing such material. He also praised the work done achieve 3 million receipts for excess property as well as the work done to account for materials received during September’s wall-to-wall inventory.

“You achieved a 98.2% accuracy rate,” Cannon said. “The DLA and industry standard is 98%, and you surpassed it. That’s incredible.”

From the property received, Cannon said 2.5 billion items went back out to the warfighters through reutilization, saving them dollars by not having to buy new ones. Public sales brought in $100 million that helped reduce the dollars requested from the services to support disposal operation.

Cannon said there is still a need to operate more effectively and efficiently, which is why Network Optimization will remain an ongoing effort to stay aligned with changes in the military services and their needs.

Likewise, he said the recent Battle Creek Alignment will be ongoing to ensure the changes made to better support field locations will keep pace with their needs. He stressed the need to identify where workers are needed and how they might be reallocated from other places.

Part of the command’s global posture is exercise support, and Cannon said Sabre Guardian ‘19 provided the first chance to provide support from one of the Expeditionary Site Sets outside of the United States. The modular sets can be quickly deployed nearly anywhere and give a property disposal team the ability to erect a full-service site and begin accepting and processing defunct and unwanted equipment within 100 hours of arrival.

“It worked so well that we have other combatant commands asking for them,” Cannon said.

Much was done to help the Navy Material Accounting Campaign, which Cannon said helped dispel some “urban legends” about what DLA Disposition Services can and cannot do. He said it was a great opportunity to share lessons learned from supporting Army divestiture efforts and have face-to-face communication with Navy leaders at several Navy audit roadshows.

“Helping them get rid of their excess means they do not have so much to count,” Cannon said.

Partnering with the General Services Administration is important because Cannon said DLA Disposition Services has no authority to redistribute or sell property on its own, just what GSA delegates to the command. He noted how that authority has helped the command be an excellent property support resource to those responding to storm and natural disasters.

“We even have people watching the news to be ready when there is a storm or something that may cause a need,” Cannon said.

People are important to the command and its culture, and Cannon said he would be working to prepare for the next Culture Climate Survey. He believes it’s a very accurate survey that provides useful feedback on what can be done to improve working conditions and advancement.

“We are providing mentor opportunities based on the survey comments, and I’d like to offer my thanks to those who volunteered to be a mentor,” Cannon said.

Another great culture and climate tool, according to Cannon, is having the supervisor get out among the workforce to see how things are going and listen to what folks are saying. He also noted the importance of the Department of Defense Performance Management and Appraisal Program and the progress reviews they provide to aid professional development.

“It allows employees to know what they need to do to get the highest rating possible,” Cannon said. “This is how we take care of our employees.”

Safety is another way Cannon stressed the need to care for people. Disposal operations require the use of forklifts and other material handling equipment that can be dangerous if not operated properly. Cannon said the week’s activities would include working with the trainers at the field sites to help ensure people are getting the right training to keep them safe.

For fiscal 2020, Cannon said his top priorities include staying focused on supporting the warfighter first, audit advancement and reform. He said a more detailed outline of end-to-end processes is needed to help auditors understand what they are reviewing. He also talked about the initiatives taken to help the Secretary of Defense’s efforts to reduce cost like the savings from Network Optimization.

“We’re managing our own destiny,” Cannon said.