June 3, 2013 marked the implementation of Inventory Management Stock Positioning (IMSP) at Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRC SW).
IMSP provides Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) employees direct access to retail customer support by incorporating Enterprise Business Systems and Distribution Standard Systems on the shop floor.
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(left to right) Capt. Tim Jett, Capt. Mark Harris, Capt. Paul Amodio, and Charlie Lilli, Deputy Commander, DLA Aviation, address the audience at an IMSP pre go-live event.
Defense-Wide Working Capital Funds replaced Navy Working Capital Funds for depot consumable material support. IMSP functionality will increase visibility of enterprise inventory, providing the capability to improve support to FRC customers and to provide a holistic inventory management approach that leverages DLA’s wholesale supply chain management and consumable items in a retail environment. After nine months of preparation by Navy and DLA personnel, including training, meetings, job changes, etc., this huge transition rolled into place, and they were live.
“The implementation at FRC Southwest was considered successful,” explained Capt. Mark Harris, site commander, DLA Aviation San Diego. “All of the preparation, by all, over the past nine months was rewarded with a smooth transition.”
The overarching strategy of the Supply and Storage 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decisions was to pursue logistics economies and efficiencies that enhance the effectiveness of logistics support to operational, joint and expeditionary forces. This is transformational for both the Department of Defense (DoD) and DLA. Merging and integrating operations has made it imperative that a two-way exchange of business practices occur. Cultural adjustments between the existing DLA organization and people with the new organizations who joined DLA because of BRAC are also a necessary and critical factor in transforming DLA. The BRAC Supply and Storage decision has further expanded DLA’s role across DoD’s logistics supply chain as an end-to-end supply chain provider, beyond the agency’s traditional wholesale boundaries.
What makes an undertaking like this one successful?
Effective communication and cooperation between the Navy and DLA teams that was nothing short of exceptional. The teams worked seamlessly to prepare and deliver every aspect of the change from training, testing to ensure the systems worked, to making sure that the job touch point changes from FRC to DLA employees were effectively completed. The combined working knowledge of the joint Navy DLA team was imperative to the success of this effort.
One example of great collaboration for the implementation is the story of the IMSP Informer. About six months prior to the targeted implementation for FRC SW in San Diego, a group of folks began talking about the need for a tool to communicate the details of the implementation to the end users. As a result, the IMSP Informer team came together to publish a single-page, electronic newsletter every few weeks to share the information that the folks at the FRC (both Navy and DLA) needed to know about implementation. Weekly meetings served to plan and hone the newsletter, Navy and DLA personnel discussed what the end user needed to know at that point in the implementation to facilitate the process appropriately.
The true success of the IMSP Informer lies with the joint team, comprised of members from various areas of the Navy, DLA and even some contractors, who worked together to ensure that the necessary message was provided and understandable regardless of the color of the suit they wore. The IMSP Informer will continue through future implementations for FRC SE (Jacksonville) and FRC E (Cherry Point) as a tool to impart information about the implementations.
The deployment team held three sessions of the IMSP “Pre Go-Live” event at San Diego right before the transition weekend to reinforce the reasons behind the implementation and make sure they were aware of the various support teams in place. The go-live events, like the preparations held during the previous nine months, were attended by both DLA and Navy employees to make sure that everyone was tracking. Employees from DLA Aviation, DLA Distribution and FRC SW attended, showing their support for the effort and assisting however they could.
“So far, IMSP is working as designed,” Capt. Harris emphasized. “Representatives from DLA Aviation, DLA Distribution and DLA Training are on-site and still supporting transition efforts across all spectrums, DLA’s Enterprise Business System, DLA Distribution's Distribution Standard System or DSS, and NAVAIR Depot Maintenance System applications.”
“Excellent communication is occurring across all teams and material requirements are being delivered,” he added. “We’ve noted no negative impacts to the production lines and have kept the FRC SW commanding officer apprised of our progress.”
Although the transition has gone well and comments have been positive regarding system user interface and manageability, we know that the joint DLA and Navy team have more work ahead. Customer service specialists, customer service technicians, and equipment specialists are still learning the ins and outs of the transition from Navy systems to DLA systems, and the joint team is spending time reviewing lessons learned, reinforcing procedures, and tying up some lose ends.
We are not done yet!
DLA Aviation at Jacksonville, Fla., is next to go on line with Cherry Point, N.C., to follow. When San Diego went live, there were a number of folks there from Richmond, Va., Jacksonville, Fla., Cherry Point and Patuxent River, Md., benefiting from what the Joint DLA-Navy team brought to the table for that implementation. We hope to continue the successful collaboration between the Navy and DLA for those implementations.
The journey through any transitional change is not without its continuing challenges as employees work new processes in a new IT solution. The communication and cooperation between the Navy and DLA teams in San Diego was nothing short of exceptional and critical to the successful implementation of IMSP at FRC SW. The continued open dialogue will continue to be the lynch pin moving forward as FRC South East and FRC East rise to the challenge met by FRC South West.
By Capt. Paul Amodio, SC, USN; Navy Customer Facing Division Chief, DLA Aviation