DLA Director reviews DLA Distribution dynamic operating plan with eye on modernization efforts designed to drive the agency into the 21st century

By Dawn Bonsell, DLA Distribution Public Affairs

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Army Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams, Defense Logistics Agency director, spent the day at DLA Distribution in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, Nov. 20 with a key focus on reviewing the agency’s dynamic operating plan. 

Williams was joined by DLA J3 Director, Air Force Maj. Gen. Allan Day, DLA Senior Enlisted Leader Navy Command Master Chief Shaun Brahmsteadt and members of his staff via video teleconference. He initiated the visit by presenting “Ya’ Done Good” awards to high performing employees within the Distribution headquarters. He then presented a DLA coin of excellence to Scott Rosbaugh, DLA Distribution Future Plans director, in recognition of his 37-year tenure with the agency.

Williams said that visiting his major subordinate commands is one of the best things he does—at the strategic level, he needs to ensure a governance structure is in place and that DLA agencies are strategically aligned to support the warfighter. Williams went on to identify several areas of focus that will affect Distribution’s success: audit performance, defense wide review, implementation of the warehouse management system and people and culture. 

Williams also praised Distribution’s successes—flexibility during the past year, the Navy warehouse transfer at Crane, Indiana, the warehouse modernization efforts, DLA dashboard, the agency synchronization and operations center support and the impressive teams he’s met at the Distribution centers recently, including DLA Distribution Europe and DLA Distribution Djibouti. 

Navy Rear Adm. Kevin M. Jones, commanding officer, DLA Distribution and his leadership team then led the director through the 2030 campaign plan and the 2020-21 dynamic operating plan. Jones’ team explained that the key components of the fiscal year 2030 campaign plan are 12 initiatives central to Distribution that focus on reducing costs, transforming skill sets/training, modernization, transforming production, increasing productivity and focusing intensely on managing inventory accuracy. One new line of effort was added to the campaign plan this year—aimed at bringing Distribution into the 21st century and, in turn, reducing costs, simplifying processes, transforming production and increasing productivity in support of the warfighter.

Jones’ leadership team also explained the detailed governance process put in place by Perry Knight, DLA Distribution chief of staff, to manage the groups of programs and projects to support the business strategy. 

The seven lines of effort in Distribution’s fiscal year 2020-21 dynamic operating plan include: warfighter first, global posture, strong partnerships, whole of government, always accountable, people & culture and distribution 21 enablers. The plan review initiated with charts demonstrating how Distribution’s operating plan map is directly nested with the DLA fiscal year 2020 strategy map. Jones’ team also highlighted fiscal year 2019 accomplishments, including: F-35 warehousing and transportation, Trans Arabian transportation contract, modernization, first public private partnership agreement, as well as the warehouse management system and transportation management system pilots.

The team also discussed improved metrics with Williams, noting that both network stability and moving employees to the work have significantly decreased overtime and allows the agency to “do today’s work today.”

Another key topic of discussion was audit sustainment and how Distribution is revolutionizing productivity to improve quality. According to Jones, “We’re pushing toward improved engineered standards through modernization—voice pick and modernization of the EDC. We’ve demo’d the Qlik® software—we can see near real time productivity so we can see where the work needs to be done.”  

However, the modernization efforts come with an expense. Williams indicated that, while the modernization efforts are unfunded requirements, he is planning to initiate meetings with J8 to consider funding options. He concluded the brief by thanking the team for the presentation and congratulating them on their laser focus and a dynamic operating plan that is locked in with the DLA strategic plan. 

Following an external readiness review in the Distribution Logistics and Operations Center and the presentation of DLA coins of excellence to additional Distribution employees, Williams and his team concluded their day with a visit to the Eastern Distribution Center. Army Col. James M. Callis, commander, DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania and his team showed the director through the automated workload leveling system area and discussed the potential technological solutions related to Distribution’s work environment.