Defense Logistics Agency Aviation’s Supplier Industry Day kicked off April 19 in the Lotts Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia. According to DLA Aviation Director of Supplier Operations Navy CAPT Robert Keating, who provided the opening remarks, it was the largest Supplier Industry Day to date, with more than 100 vendors attending.
The two-day event gave suppliers a chance to ask questions and address any concerns they have and for DLA Aviation to put out any new information to these vendors that will, in Keating’s words, “help us, help you in supporting the warfighter.”
“Supporting the warfighter is the number one goal in DLA,” said Keating.
He said he’s been in the Navy for 31 years and in his current billet at DLA Aviation for a little under a year. “I really didn’t know what supporting the warfighter actually meant until I got to DLA Aviation, I knew it was happening; but, the actions that occur behind the scenes are tremendous” he said.
After Keating’s introductory remarks and a few other presentations, Phillip Deboe, DLA Information Operations program manager for Department of Defense EMALL\FedMall spoke about the changes coming down the pipe for the two programs.
He stated DOD EMALL is a full-service, web-based online ordering site with the ability to find and acquire goods from commercial and government sources for federal, state, and local governments as well as other authorized buyers. It provides large and small businesses the opportunity to supply their products 24/7 to multiple agencies across the globe.
FedMall is scheduled to replace DOD EMALL in June of this year.
“The goal is to streamline the current processes to make sure the vendors are able to do business with the government a lot easier than they were before,” said Deboe.
He said FedMall is an easier-to-navigate platform with the look and feel of a commercial website, allowing users to find products quickly and easily and has increased functionality for the vendor portal. It also has a place for suppliers to register, upload, and manage catalogs.
Deboe says the benefits of transitioning to FedMall are:
- access to over 25 million products
- market-driven competition with dynamic pricing;
- safe shopping experience for pre-qualified suppliers; and
- streamlined business processes to include automated approval, data verification and supplier dependent shipping options selected by the buyer.
“We want to make sure we are leveraging all of our vendors, our customers are getting better prices, and all of our vendors are getting a fair shot at selling their goods,” said Deboe.
Later that afternoon, attendees broke into sessions focused on topics of interest to them such as engineering changes, large purchases, source approvals, protests and disputes, reverse auctions and DLA’s Wide Area Workflow and DLA Bid Board Systems.
Day One ended with one-on-one time for suppliers and contract administrators. "The face-to-face break out session provided the administrators and my leadership team a unique opportunity to spend time learning about our suppliers organizations and processes , which ultimately leads to building better working relationships," said Rob Baker, chief, Contract Administration Division, Supplier Operations.
Day Two of the event started early with briefings from Defense Contract Management Agency and Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
Mark Miller and Elizabeth Gibbs, from DCMA, spoke with attendees via an audio conference call on Mechanization of Contract Administration Services (MOCAS).
Tracey Anderson, a supervisory post-award contract specialist in Supplier Operations, said the MOCAS briefing was well-received.
“We asked [Defense Finance and Accounting Service] to provide the briefing to assist vendors with issues they were having in posting electronic invoices and receiving payments in the Wide Area Workflow system,” said Anderson.
Following DFAS’s briefing, attendees received updates on military standards replaced by International Standards Organization (ISO) 9001 and DLA’s contractor evaluation system, Past Performance Information Retrieval (PPIRS).
The conference ended with a participatory leadership forum where attendees asked questions of DLA Aviation senior leaders in planning, procurement process, supplier operations and engineering.
In closing, Baker thanked attendees for coming and for their efforts. “I want to thank you for what you have done to date, DLA Aviation contract delinquencies are down eight percent already for 2016,” he said.
In emails to Baker following the conference Mark McInturff, senior sales manager for Military Sales at Rotek Incorporated and Terry Hubbs, senior director of Supplier Management with Triman Industries Inc., both expressed their appreciation for DLA Aviation hosting the conference.
“We really appreciated the time that everyone was willing to spend to discuss issues,” said McInturff. “I thought that as a whole, the team put forward a very informative presentation.”
Hubbs found the conference interesting and enlightening. “I believe our goals are parallel in getting our warfighters the means they need to complete their missions, within acceptable means to both parties,” she said. “I thank you for your time on this and again, Kudos to your entire team in Richmond for a great Supplier Industry Day!”