Richmond, Va –
For the last year, the Defense Logistics Agency has been preparing to phase out one of its nine supply chains, the industrial hardware supply chain. Dissolving the supply chain aligns those items more closely with the appropriate supporting activities while driving efficiency and cutting costs.
The roughly 900,000 items previously referred to as industrial hardware have been divided between two of DLA’s major subordinate commands – DLA Land and Maritime and DLA Aviation, with DLA Aviation receiving roughly half a million items.
The transfer that began in 2020 involved multiple transfers of items during the last year, with several DLA Aviation directorates having a part of the process. Items transferred included seven federal supply classes under Federal Stock Group 53: Hardware and Abrasives. This category contains screws, bolts, studs, nuts, washers; nails, machine keys, pins, rivets and fastening devices.
Will Cary, chief of DLA Aviation’s Engineering Directorate’s Engineering and Technology Division, said his division was able to absorb the additional workload with current employees, internal management reassignments and new hires.
“We absorbed a 10% increase in should cost requests from aviation buyers and a 25% increase in price challenge requests from customers and customer facing representatives,” Cary said. “We perform a should cost analysis to provide contracting officers with sufficient price data to assess the reasonableness of any vendor offers and review price challenges to substantiate or challenge customer inquiries.”
Cary said he saw the biggest workload increase in new Standardization Programs, including standardization and specifications documentation required for the items and the Qualified Supplier List program
Cary has moved one engineer to assist with the specifications and standards workload, but he also is hiring three new engineers to manage the QSL and to help with the required documentation..
“There are 1,744 specs and standards with active maintenance on a 5-year review cycle and 296 QSL vendors,” he said. “Each vendor requires renewal applications and surveillance audits every three years. New applicants also require Defense Contract Management Agency site visits prior to being added to the list.”
The QSL is part of a larger DLA quality management system that includes qualified product lists and is the agency’s response to implementing provisions of the 1990 Fastener Quality Act that requires inspection, testing and certification of fasteners in accordance with standardized methods.
Cary went on to say that DLA Aviation will assume responsibility of executing the QSL program from DLA Troop Support in January 2022 and, through an internal support agreement, DLA Troop Support will provide training for ongoing live work until April of next year.
Randy Dortch, deputy director for DLA Aviation’s Strategic Acquisition Programs, said his team transitioned the Army and Navy integrated prime vendors contracts from DLA Troop Support to DLA Aviation last October to support three Navy fleet readiness centers and Corpus Christi Army Depot. The original plan was to transition them over 12 months, but in July the transition accelerated to 60 days.
“The successful transition was a testament to the countless efforts of a supremely dedicated team consisting of employees from both DLA Troop Support and DLA Aviation,” said Jason Elliott, chief of the Navy/Corpus Christie Army Depot Industrial Product Support Vendor/Pratt & Whitney Division within the Strategic Acquisition and Programs Directorate. “DLA Troop Support did an incredible job training our DLA Aviation employees on the intricacies of the IPV programs and our DLA Aviation team adjusted to a steep learning curve quickly and professionally. Since the IPV programs transition, our Navy and Army customers have both declared their appreciation of how smooth and seamless the transition was executed.”
Maintaining the ability to test and ensure parts met required specifications was critical during the transfer. DLA Aviation’s Strategic Acquisition Programs Directorate recently awarded BOAs, known as basic ordering agreements, allowing for a quick transfer of some of the item testing capability necessary for these supply classes.
“BOAs were developed with existing Troop Support vendors to ensure product verification, product lot and first article testing continued without interruption when customers submitted a purchase request;” said Leno Smith, a program manager in the Strategic Acquisition and Programs Directorate.
"Such a large transfer was successful because of our dedicated team members who meet the mission, no matter the ask," said Daniele Kurze, DLA Aviation Supplier Operations Commodities director.
Kurze said her directorate absorbed the additional workload in multiple functional areas with a significant increase in purchase requests, technical and testing reviews, quality notifications, post award responses and long-term contracts. The workload was absorbed with current employees, internal management reassignments and new hires.
She said experience from each transfer showed it took about six months after transfers were complete to bring the daily transactional workload into a steady state of alignment with existing performance.