The Defense Logistics Agency’s Clothing and Textiles supply chain kicked off the sixth annual Joint Advanced Planning Brief for Industry virtually with a series of webinars Nov. 4.
Webinars will continue throughout the month where C&T team members and military service partners will brief industry on future requirements and business opportunities for clothing and individual equipment.
C&T Director Air Force Col. Justin Swartzmiller emphasized the importance of having the annual event.
“We wanted to press forward in this challenging environment and have it virtually to exchange critical information,” Swartzmiller said.
So far, approximately 560 attendees participated the first day of sessions, 460 during day two and nearly 200 during the dress clothing breakout session Nov. 10.
“Each year it has gotten bigger, and it’s unanimously called the capstone event of the industry,” C&T Strategic Sourcing Chief Donna Pointkouski said. “Besides offering an incredible amount of information on the forecast and programs of DLA and the services, it is a tremendous networking opportunity.”
Pointkouski said hosting the event virtually removed some of the dynamic aspects of the event, like on-the-spot problem solving and networking between vendors and government representatives. However, her and her team were able to present critical information to the attendees.
Presenters included C&T senior leaders, team leaders and representatives from the Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier, Navy Exchange Service Command, Marine Corps Systems Command and Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.
Many of the presenters thanked industry for their continued support throughout the pandemic.
“We appreciate all of your efforts working with us, especially amidst the trying times with COVID-19, teleworking and impacts to industrial lines and transitions to providing masks and items supporting the medical community,” said John Knapp, Marine Corps System Infantry Combat Equipment program manager.
Some of the challenges facilitating the virtual event included finding a web-conferencing platform to host the large JAPBI audience that worked with government computer systems, Pointkouski said.
“The biggest challenge is the lack of control,” Pointkouski said. “If the power or internet suddenly goes out on my end, the webinar ends and hundreds of people are left wondering what happened. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened, and the event has gone very smoothly so far.”
One industry partner, David Costello, executive director of the Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition, said virtual participation has been seamless for his organization’s member companies.
“Considering the challenges of the current situation, I applaud the Defense Logistics Agency for carrying on with the JAPBI and adapting on the fly to the enduring need to clearly communicate the evolving clothing and equipment needs of the armed services to industry,” Costello said. “By ensuring the continuity of JAPBI, the DLA has shown the ability to lead during this unusual crisis, a most welcome development.”
To register for upcoming webinars and view event presentation slides, visit the 2020 JAPBI website.