News | May 6, 2022

DLA Aviation CPI project improves organic manufacturing process

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs

A Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Continuous Process Improvement project has improved the emergency organic manufacturing procurement process by reducing total administrative lead time to award these types of requirements from roughly 75.3 days at the beginning of the project to 54.9 days so far in May.

Last December, DLA Aviation’s CPI Office completed the project that shortened procurement processing time for organically manufactured parts at DLA Aviation’s industrial support activities and the Air Force’s Oklahoma Air Logistics Complex on Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma by reducing total administrative lead time to award these types of requirements by 21%.

Anthony Alonzo, an inventory management specialist with DLA Aviation at Oklahoma and a certified Lean Six Sigma master black belt, worked with the DLA Aviation’s Priority Buy Cell at Oklahoma, Air Force counterparts at the Air Force’s Oklahoma ALC and other DLA Aviation organizations to compare the existing Air Force and DLA process maps.

“Having Air Force engineers participate in the project made it easy to implement some changes right away, like adding an Air Force cage code for organic manufacturing to the right systems so DLA was aware of the Airforce being an approved vendor for OM,” said Alonzo. “Through our combined efforts, team members were able to make significant improvements.”

Anthony Alonzo poses at his desk.  He led a continuous process improvement project last year in Oklahoma .
Anthony Alonzo led a continuous process improvement project last year in Oklahoma that reduced total administrative lead time to award emergency procurements for organic manufacturing from 75 to 55 days so far in May 2022. Alonzo is an inventory management specialist with Defense Logistics Agency Aviation at Oklahoma and a certified Lean Six Sigma master black belt. (Courtesy Photo May 4, 2022)
Anthony Alonzo poses at his desk.  He led a continuous process improvement project last year in Oklahoma .
DLA Aviation CPI project improves organic manufacturing process
Anthony Alonzo led a continuous process improvement project last year in Oklahoma that reduced total administrative lead time to award emergency procurements for organic manufacturing from 75 to 55 days so far in May 2022. Alonzo is an inventory management specialist with Defense Logistics Agency Aviation at Oklahoma and a certified Lean Six Sigma master black belt. (Courtesy Photo May 4, 2022)
Photo By: Courtesy Photo
VIRIN: 220504-D-D0441-1003

DLA Aviation priority cell specialists receive organically manufactured parts requests from customer support specialists when they are unable to make a purchase, find an item or expedite a contract in the required timeframe. The priority cell specialists build a package and help push the local emergency procurement item through the process gates [checkpoints] for local emergency buys to support ALC requirements.

While the old process had multiple gates to track progress, the process wasn’t capturing all the steps or errors, like incorrect part numbers, missing information in technical packages or even having updated communication lists to know which Air Force counterparts to reach out to with questions,” said Alonzo. “Sometimes the Air Force, DLA or vendors were concurrently working the same item which then because of the length of time needed to process an item would later become available or be expedited. This caused reworks, modifications or cancellations of contracts which averaged 180 days due to rework.”

The project resulted 8 just do its, 20 action items, and 5 parking lot items with the possibility of sharing an access database with other DLA Aviation industrial support activities to track and share the new OM gated process. Just do its and parking lot items are CPI terms meaning small simple improvements that do not require root cause analysis and out-of-scope items for follow-on or future projects, respectively.

Scott Wilkerson at his desk using the Local Retail Buy Request and Tracking System database.
Scott Wilkerson uses the Local Retail Buy Request and Tracking System database to view the status for emergency procurements May 4, 2022. Wilkerson is an lead inventory management specialist for the Priority Cell Unit within the Material Support Branch at Defense Logistics Agency Aviation at Oklahoma. (Courtesy Photo)
Scott Wilkerson at his desk using the Local Retail Buy Request and Tracking System database.
DLA Aviation CPI project improves organic manufacturing process
Scott Wilkerson uses the Local Retail Buy Request and Tracking System database to view the status for emergency procurements May 4, 2022. Wilkerson is an lead inventory management specialist for the Priority Cell Unit within the Material Support Branch at Defense Logistics Agency Aviation at Oklahoma. (Courtesy Photo)
Photo By: Courtesy Photo
VIRIN: 220504-D-D0441-1001
The Local Retail Buy Request and Tracking System database created in 2017 and refined through the years serves as a single point of information and tracking tool for emergency procurements.  Its review was critical in mapping the current processes during the CPI project.

Customer support specialists working from the floor can submit buys to the database without needing email interactions. The Priority Cell CSS’s can be assigned work, track all their work (currently open and historical) and have a single point to check for new work. It also has functions for floor CSS’s to check status of buys they submitted without the need for email traffic. Command has their own workflow to check to sign off on buys without the need of excess emails.

The database also serves as a a single point of metric compilation.

“Long-term, we want to hold follow-on projects to leverage the OM process to the wholesale side of DLA and streamline the first article testing process for organic manufacturing,” said Alonzo.

(Editor’s note: Six Sigma is a method that provides organizations tools to improve the capability of their business processes. Blackbelt certification is the highest level of certification available and ensures individuals have an understanding of all aspects of Six Sigma principles and models while preparing them to lead CPI projects.)