BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
Each year the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon selects a “word of the year” to inspire the workforce for the year ahead of them. The 2021 “word of the year” was resiliency and as the year comes to an end, DLA Disposition Services Business Support Directorate has adapted to the pandemic-restricted environment and ended the year with grounding breaking achievements for DLA Disposition Services.
DLA Disposition Services has field sites located all over the globe to include Europe, Africa and the Pacific. Historically, various documents like standard operating procedures, policies, instructions and manuals, were translated into Japanese and Korean languages on-site for the local national employees. This year, DLA headquarters established a contract with National Language Service Corps to translate documents to better support field site locations.
“After DLA got the contract awarded, I reached out to all of the DSDs and asked if anyone wanted documents translated and Pacific accepted the offer,” said Don Helle, a process engineer for DLA Disposition Services Business Support Improvements Office. “They had a laundry list of 29 different documents that they wanted translated.”
DLA Disposition Services sites located outside the continental United States have successfully and proficiently operated for years without professionally translated documents, having the option available to overseas locations sets a higher precedent from an auditable perspective.
“SOPs are the cornerstone of what we do, as far as RTD [reutilization, transfer and donation], receiving and sales, we want to make sure everybody is doing things the exact same way and translating the documents takes the translation out of it and benefits all parties,” Helle added.
Offering professional translation services also serves as a step forward culturally for the hundreds of local national employees that work for DLA Disposition Services.
“By and large, everyone is appreciative that their voices were heard, that we’ve taken the time to recognize the cultural language difference and we can hold everyone to the same standard now - we are all lockstep in the same book,” he said. “I’m happy to help our family grow stronger through translations.”
This initiative will be an ongoing partnership with NLSC as documents will need to be continually updated as newer versions of guides are released.
Adjusting to the pandemic environment has been both a challenge and opportunity for DLA Disposition Services. The Business Support compliance team overcame adversities and conducted six On-site Effectiveness Reviews virtually throughout the Europe and Africa region.
Reviews consisted of 32 protocols that did not require physical presence and encompassed the operational and environmental protocols, daily briefings with local staff and final finding briefings for area leadership.
DLA Disposition Services Compliance Branch Chief Jim Wezell was very happy with the resiliency and proficiency that came from his team.
“Because of some of the travel restrictions, we had to execute virtual reviews in Europe,” he said. “We were able to confirm that they were following processes and were able to get the ‘meat’ of it - all in all, the virtual OER was a success.”
In addition to virtual OERs, the compliance team was able to travel to 14 DLA Disposition Services field sites for in-person OERs.
DLA began replacing its current warehouse management system, swapping out older technology to match current industry standards.
DLA Disposition Services Business Support WMS Project Management Office hosted several conferences at the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, as they began their transition to the new system. Meetings included other DLA components outside of DLA Disposition Services as they are a crucial piece to the planning process.
“We identified and worked through many challenges regarding this project that included establishing our exit and entry criteria for the Training and Operations Simulation Center, located on the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, go-live and San Antonio WMS deployments,” said Gerry Charlton,
Additional meetings with key stakeholders are planned for the new year as the team progresses into the design review stage.
“As 2021 comes to a close, we’ve survived another year of the pandemic, telework and little to no face-to-face meetings,” said Mark Aicher, director of DLA Disposition Services Business Support Directorate. “The Business Support Directorate rose to the occasion and accomplished quite a bit. Our WMS team has been aggressive ensuring DLA Disposition Services requirements are identified and implemented into the new Warehouse Management System.”