News | Sept. 13, 2021

DLA Aviation and Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex deserve ‘Props’ for improved C-130 supportability

By Natalie Skelton, DLA Aviation Public Affairs

At Defense Logistics Agency Aviation at Warner Robins, Georgia, parts supportability is the highest priority. The teams there are responsible for making sure warfighter needs at the Air Force’s Air Logistic Complex on Robins Air Force Base are met with high quality materials and maintenance to keep critical aircraft like the Air Force C-130 transport plane in the air.

More than four years ago, the complex took on the task of developing a single, streamlined overhaul process for blades supporting C-130 engine propellers. 

The overhaul process requirement was driven by both the Air Force and Navy Engineering Support Activities’ determination to standardize propeller overhauls to improve safe operations. As a safety precaution, Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex paused all C-130 blade overhauls in September 2017 and worked intensively over the next three years to change and standardize overhaul processes.
 
This pause was significant because the C-130 propeller workload has long been a significant DLA demand driver, but the downturn in workload requirements allowed DLA to accomplish several tasks crucial to the new process: increasing supportability reviews, monitoring supply levels, and increasing supply chain/supplier engagement.

DLA Aviation at Warner Robins’ Planning and Support Division team members also reviewed and adjusted material protection levels to ensure local stock was maintained. Stock transfer orders were initiated to move hundreds of parts from other distribution depots within the local network to Warner Robins. 

In February 2020, a team representing the 409th Supply Chain Management Squadron, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Engineering, 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group, and DLA Aviation at Warner Robins conducted a deep dive supportability assessment of propeller component requirements.

While the long-term target is 36 props per month, constraints on some critical Air Force-managed components of the propeller have not allowed for the achievement of that goal.  At this time, the focus remains on the achievement of the DLA enterprise approved target of 20 props per month.

Keeping in line with DLA’s Strategic Plan by tailoring solutions to drive readiness, the resulting changes in demand patterns of propeller workload prompted a transition for material support from a virtual prime vendor concept to a supplier-initiated order (SIO) concept. 

Under the SIO, suppliers push inventory to DLA under established timelines and business rules, with the goal of reducing inventory while maintaining superior supply support. This transition shifted 800 national stock numbers from customer-direct/DLA-direct orders to SIO.

Even in the midst of these changes, DLA has successfully continued to manage more than 1,400 orders for the prop shop and maintained communication with suppliers on contract deliveries and the relocation of critical parts to support the readiness of the C-130 propeller workload. 

In fiscal year 2021, the DLA Aviation commodities planning team at Warner Robins has maintained an average order response time performance of 98.7%, which assisted in the sale of 197 propellers valued at over $56.3 million.

End-of-year sale projections for fiscal year 2021 are $68.3 million.