DLA Distribution San Joaquin participates in the Transportation Management System prototype

By Annete Silva DLA Distribution

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In direct alignment with the Defense Logistics Agency Strategic Plan, Strong Partnerships, Objective 3.2: Department of Defense and Interagency Partnerships; a dedicated team of subject matter experts from DLA Distribution San Joaquin, California’s Consolidation and Containerization Point and Systems Division participated in the U.S. Transportation Command Transportation Management System prototype over the past six months.

According to TRANSCOM, the DoD is conducting a 24-month assessment of a TMS to determine if it is suitable for use by the Joint Deployment and Distribution Enterprise. The capability is being introduced at a perfect time for DLA Distribution—considering that DoD assigned the F-35 Global Transportation and North American Regional Warehousing to DLA and TRANSCOM just last year. If successful, the partners will utilize the program for booking and shipping functions in support of all government-owned F-35 material to and from any global location as directed by the Joint Program Office.

Currently, the DoD uses a global network of nodes consisting of aerial ports, seaports, distribution hubs and staging bases, but sadly there is no platform linking these nodes. This is where TMS comes into play. The TMS prototype is looking to link the disparate nodes and ultimately provide the distribution network with end-to-end visibility.

The TMS prototype is an end-to-end business solution that is based on commercial-off-the-shelf transportation management software. When fully implemented, TMS will integrate the Defense Transportation System, allowing for audit compliant transportation planning, ordering, shipping, tracking, and billing for global movements.

Key members of the team had the opportunity to travel to TRANSCOM to participate in TMS User Verification Testing. Charrisse Johnson, a distribution process worker at San Joaquin’s Consolidation and Containerization Point, found this test invaluable.

“I had the opportunity to travel to TRANSCOM during September to engage with the TMS team,” said Johnson. “The team was willing to listen and share ideas with one another and listen to everyone’s opinions and thoughts of the TMS project.”

She added that she is happy with the outcome of the TMS prototype and enjoys being on the team.

Additionally, the team conducted a joint “go-live” testing event in October. San Joaquin’s team collaborated with the 60th Aerial Port Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, and together they shipped material by air to Hawaii. Upon conclusion of the testing, TMS proved to be a success.

A common consensus among the team is they all valued the-in transit visibility the system provides.

Robert Zepeda, lead transportation assistant, talks highly of the visibility the TMS prototype offers.

“In-transit visibility is a capability TMS can bring across organizations,” he commented. “Agencies have visibility of their materiel from start to finish.”

He added that TMS differs from his processes today when receiving notifications if something is wrong, where in TMS you can identify the problem immediately.

Along with any new program there will always be challenges. A couple of challenges the team conveyed were the conjunction between TMS and the Distribution Standard System that is currently used at DLA’s distribution centers. Another challenge will be getting all users trained in the new system. The team voiced the importance of getting all the users to understand the system and accepting change.

DLA Distribution San Joaquin’s Deputy Commander, Jodie Johnson-Micks, has been involved with the prototype since its inception and understands the benefits this system can bring.

“From a management and leadership perspective, it is key to have a system that allows us to see what is coming to the distribution center and to be able to forecast and staff accordingly. We don’t have that currently,” said Johnson-Micks. “At times we may have too many or too few resources on board to manage the daily workload; but if we knew what materiel was coming into our distribution center, we would be able to better plan, forecast and staff our work areas accordingly. The same mentality is true for the sights receiving our shipments. More importantly, TMS would allow warfighters across the globe to have end-to-end in-transit visibility of their material as it moves through the DoD’s logistics pipeline.”

Johnson-Micks ended with discussing the benefits of TMS in terms of audit readiness. She likes the capability that TMS brings with regards to documentation and billing, both which are key to evidential matter requirements and being able to withstand strict audit compliance standards.