News | Aug. 31, 2020

Selfless, mission-oriented characteristics lead to supervisory recognition

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

The Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Leadership Working Group recognized Sean Shockley this past April with the DLA Aviation Leadership Award. Shockley is the Demand Planning Branch chief for the Customer-Focused Intelligence Team within DLA Aviation’s Planning Process Directorate.

Ronald Tatem nominated Shockley for the award. Tatem is the Aggregated Planning and Collaboration Division chief that Shockley’s branch falls under.

“Sean is selfless and dedicated,” Tatem said. “He is mission-oriented, a team player, technically savoy, shares knowledge and is coaching/training driven.”

Shockley leads a team of 14 journeyman employees and seven DLA Pathways to Career Excellence Program interns. He has only been a supervisor at DLA for 1 ½ years; however, he was in the Air Force for 22 years, retiring in 2011 as a senior master sergeant with 24 years active duty service.

According to Shockley, his branch has been transforming for the last 18 months or so as DLA Aviation has been changing its approach to demand planning and forecasting.

Shockley said he supervises several employees new to the agency and others who are experienced demand planners.

“It has been a challenging time as we work through staffing, manpower and organizational structure issues, all while we continue to support our customers,” he said.

“Sean’s job requires him to be in the constant mode of coaching, mentoring, providing guidance and direction, and creating an environment for innovation with the right level of ownership via delegation,” Tatem said.

Joshua Davis, a strategic sourcing specialist on Shockley’s team, said Shockley’s mentoring has played a major role in his career development.

“Mr. Shockley takes time weekly to coach and mentor me on many projects which in turn has transformed how forecasting should be done and saved money for DLA,” Davis said, adding that projects are not the only focus, Shockley also helped him create new methods of ensuring customers are forecasting properly by using multiple analyzing tools.

Davis said he thinks is it extraordinary how Shockley makes time to train him on a weekly basis, as well as his other 20 employees ... on top of his daily duties of managing the branch.

Shockley said while he doesn’t love the supervisory paperwork that comes along with his employees, he loves being involved in their career development.

“I try to build a vision ...  in our branch, it’s how to drive dollars out of the supply chain with more accurate demand planning ... and then I try to get employees connected to and passionate about that vision,” he said adding that he has a participative leadership style that involves and encourages employees while helping them learn new techniques for success.

In the nomination, Tatem lauded Shockley’s demand planning abilities. “He is a subject matter expert ... He is frequently called upon to help resolve situations within the directorate, other Richmond organizations and DLA Aviation activities outside Richmond.”

Tatem explained forecasting uses customers’ historical demand patterns as inputs to DLA business models to make informed estimates on what the future forecast should be. An over forecast item drives too much inventory into systems where an under forecast item drives understated requirements and less inventory which could equate to lost sales.

“The key to successful demand planning is adding intelligence to the demand plans learning customer behaviors. Shockley’s CFIT has become very efficient at gaining intel for assigned items by working with internal and external touchpoints across the DLA enterprise and customer base to enrich our forecasts,” Tatem said.

General Cannon, IV, a demand planner on Shockley’s team, also worked with him when they were both in the Air Force. Cannon said Shockley has provided project management training opportunities within and outside of the Planning Directorate for him to learn all aspects of planning, procurement and quality assurance so our branch can better support the warfighter.

Cannon said not only did he learn, but customers did as well.

“Sean tasked us to work hand in hand with weapon system program managers, material planners, customer account specialists and customer support managers at all the uniformed services repair depots to learn their processes,” Cannon said. “We shared and enlighten all representatives on the importance of not to just depending on the statistical forecast and the assigned algorithm to support their items’ forecast, but also how important it is to concentrate more so on the requirements of their items affiliated with their particular project/program.”

Shockley encourages demand planners to evaluate and communicate with customers to determine the right forecasts, rather than let the model do the predicting.

Focused attention efforts have resulted in Shockley’s CFIT successfully reducing forecasting error by $220.2 million in the span of one year.

“As a mentor and leader, Sean’s commitment and diligence to our career field is highly noted,” Cannon said.

Shockley said he is very involved with his employees and likes to think his contributions help them succeed and reach the next step in their careers.

“I know without them and their efforts to connect with our goals, other aviation directorates and our customers to achieve those goals, our branch wouldn’t enjoy the success it has this past year,” he said.