News | July 19, 2021

OMB: DLA Medical Surgical Prime Vendor program – ‘Best in Class’

By John Dwyer III DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

“Best in Class,” a designation by the Office of Management and Budget, represents a preferred government-wide solution and provides a unique opportunity to leverage the government's buying power. And the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support’s Medical team just earned it, again.

The Medical Surgical Prime Vendor program was notified this week that it was selected as a BIC program based a number of rigorous qualifying factors including its capacity to serve “every federal department and agency that provides levels of medical treatment to federal beneficiaries,” according to OMB. The designation allows acquisition experts to leverage the pre-vetted, government-wide, proven contract solution’s flexibility and administrative control of more than $580 million in annual sales, with a growth potential of $5 billion for the whole of Federal Government, to include Medicare and Medicaid.

“DLA Troop Support strives to deliver readiness and provide the best value in logistics solutions to the warfighters of the Department of Defense and our federal partners,” DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Eric Shirley said. “The addition of MSPV to our already ‘Best in Class’ Electronic Catalog, High Tech Medical Equipment, and Joint National Contract for Generic Pharma programs is a confirmation of that commitment.”

The MSPV program, now in it’s fifth “generation,” touts $17.4 million in cost avoidance to customers thanks to leveraging the capabilities of two of the nation’s largest distributors. These Prime Vendors deliver, normally next day,  over 350,000 end items of which more than 98 percent are either domestically sourced or purchased from Trade Agreement Act compliant sources that meet all federal requirements according to OMB’s designation.

“The behind-the-scenes collaboration and efforts of the many DLA professionals, the Defense Health Agency (DHA), and the Services that have contributed to the success of MSPV are the reason that the DLA MSPV Program has become a mainstay of the Medical Logistics System, said Medical Director of Supplier Operations Daniel Keefe. 

“The MSPV Program continues to provide a steady, reliable stream of life-saving medical supplies, at fair and reasonable prices, to over 7,000 DLA customers worldwide, and to an increasing number of non-DoD customers,” Keefe said. “This designation is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the folks involved on a daily basis, and an honor.”

The program was developed in the mid-1990s to emulate and take advantage of the commercial supply chain, MSPV Division Chief Steve Bollendorf said.

“Pre-MSPV, medical supplies were purchased in bulk using military specifications, centrally managed and stored and often led to shelf-life expirations and obsolete products … so putting it in the hands of efficient commercial distributors and the commercial supply chain was a smart move, but totally new to the government at the time,” Bollendorf said.

By following the commercial model and making minor tweaks to customers’ processes, Medical not only grew the program, but also drove the cost of distribution down from around 10% of the product cost to about 1.2% [on average].

The goal was to ensure customer’s needs were met quickly, but never straying far from the commercial model, because it would decrease efficiency and increase costs, Bollendorf said.

“Every time we developed a new generation, we took the time to note and capitalize on what was working well.  We met with our customers and vendors to understand s what we were doing correctly and where the program needed improvement, and incorporated the improvements tempered with standard commercial industry practices,” he said.

 

The BIC designation was also based on the program’s capability to “rapidly respond to and enforce the Biden Administration’s existing and emerging medical acquisition policies and priorities,” by providing access to medical materiel carried by two of the largest Medical/Surgical distributors in the commercial sector, according to OMB.

“We were already supporting other government agencies such as the National Institute for Health, State Department and the U.S. Coast Guard to some degree,” Bollendorf said. “Since this [BIC designation] came out, I’ve received calls from other federal agencies asking about it. I think there are going to be other agencies that have either bought their own medical supplies or partnered with other buyers who will consider [DLA] for their medical supplies.”

Currently, MSPV is available to DoD customers through: the Defense Medical Logistics Standard Support system, or DMLSS; Theater Enterprise-Wide Logistics System, or TEWLS; and to non-DoD customers through Medical’s Electronic Catalog Prime Vendor Web Ordering process. This process uses DLA’s ECAT platform – another BIC program - allowing registered non-DoD customers to access MSPV items.