News | Feb. 23, 2016

DLA Energy leverages commercial best practices

By Elizabeth Stoeckmann DLA Energy Public Affairs

It’s been three years since Business Executives for National Security found Defense Logistics Agency Energy ahead on efficiency operations, a study that continues to leverage commercial best business practice solutions.

Continuing the momentum, senior executives from both organizations gathered to collaborate and determine near-term deliverables in a roundtable meeting at the BENS office in Washington, D.C., Feb. 9.

“The goal of the meeting was to consider what commercial infrastructure and products we can leverage to increase our resiliency and decrease our costs,” said DLA Energy Strategic Programs and Initiatives Director Army Col. Doug Henry.

“It’s always good to look at how someone else is doing things, gain a different perspective and take advantage of best practices,” he said.

The executive session included equal representation from DLA Energy senior leaders and business unit directors and BENS members.

To kick off the meeting, DLA Energy leaders provided an overview of worldwide challenges and the current status of the fuel supply chain. BENS leaders provided a view of a supply chain risk identification tool that leverages information systems to support future efforts to reduce operating stocks.

“Today’s global supply chains are complex and rapidly changing,” said BENS executive J.R. Helmig.

BENS helped DLA Energy to visualize a complex corporate structure as an example of how to identify risks such as insolvency due to falling oil prices, or possible foreign influence as a result of mergers and acquisitions, he said.

“This can enable the government to better screen vendors and provide contractual protections for long-term procurements,” Helmig added.

Henry said the capability allows customers greater visibility of the petroleum enterprise, providing confidence about product availability and distribution versus negating the tendency to want larger amounts of stock on hand.

In more simplistic terms, Henry said the supply tool is complementary to the Amazon model.

“As a customer of consumable products, I used to buy and store large quantities of an item so I wouldn’t run out,” Henry said. “But with Amazon Prime, I can order that same product and consistently receive it within two days … therefore my reorder point is lower and my storage space requirements less because I have faith in the velocity of the supply chain.”

Now and into the future, DLA Energy wants to leverage the commercial sector through innovation and technology with BENS experts on its side to build resiliency and efficiency so the current model of fixed infrastructure is not a weakness, Henry said.

“It’s a relationship we want to foster,” he said. “Corporate entities provide successful platforms to collaborate, benchmark and find solutions to the most challenging problems.”

The day’s agenda wrapped up with a briefing to DLA Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark McLeod and BENS President and CEO retired Air Force Gen. Norton Schwartz on best commercial practices, lessons learned and the future of the study.
“BENS has partnered with DLA [Energy] regularly over the last several years,” said BENS Energy Council Executive Director Ryan Rogers. “This project is simply our latest effort together. DLA [Energy] is diligent and steadfast in their mission and we look forward to working with them again."

Future ongoing collaboration is a win-win for DLA Energy and BENS as partners contributing to our national defense, both sharing best practices for a mutual benefit to the warfighter, Henry said.

BENS is a nonprofit organization of senior executives who volunteer their time, expertise and resources to assist defense leaders on a variety of national security challenges.