By increasing productivity and putting an emphasis on automation, the Defense Logistics Agency’s Time to Award initiative is one of the primary focuses of DLA Land and Maritime’s workforce.
Matched with the Department of Defense’s acquisition efficiency initiative Better Buying Power 3.0, Time to Award strengthens the organization’s ability to realize savings, avoid costs and improve warfighter support.
“Enterprisewide aggressive goals were established when Time to Award was introduced, but the associates at DLA Land and Maritime have stepped up to the plate in a big way and delivered,” said DLA Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. John King. “We foster an environment that unlocks the full potential of our workforce, enabling them to achieve peak performance and meet efficiency challenges such as Time to Award. It’s important that this organization continues to make good, smart decisions while keeping our customer and readiness focus.”
Time to Award began in 2013 to improve agency contract award procedures and better support warfighters. The agency took a look at the average time it took to award contracts from October 2011 through March 2013, established a baseline and set new goals to anticipate the changing needs of customers while aligning its goals, processes and performance with those needs.
Standardized processes were developed to streamline the acquisition process agencywide in order to reduce the amount of time spent on awarding a contact. At DLA Land and Maritime, a Time to Award working group was responsible for “game changing, strategic process changes,” according to Mindy Tisone, procurement analyst. Some of these changes included modifications to associate performance plans, reductions in automated solicitation periods and purchase request regeneration.
Land and Maritime has reduced automated lead times by 39 percent, or seven days, from the baseline of 18 days to 11 days as of April 2015, Tisone said. Getting vital spare parts, such as pipes, tubing, microcircuits and fuses to ships, tanks and wheeled vehicles, sustains warfighters in an era of complex, competing and often urgent needs.
“Automation is a huge part of Land and Maritime’s ability to procure items in an efficient and timely fashion,” Tisone said. “Ninety-nine percent of Land and Maritime’s procurements are below the simplified acquisition threshold of $150,000. Of that population, 90 percent are solicited through our automated system. This process allows us to maintain a lean, effective workforce and deliver quality material in a timely manner to our warfighter.”
Equally important is the awarding of long-term contracts. LTCs are for high-frequency, high-demand items, Tisone said. Land and Maritime is using continuous process improvement metrics as it increases its focus and resources on LTCs. Since the inception of the Time to Award initiative, LTCs under $10 million have decreased by 53 percent. A baseline of 494 days was established and, in April, that average was reduced to 233 days to the award.
Looking ahead, Land and Maritime leaders will engage the workforce, requesting feedback on the program to keep processes and techniques fresh and effective. From simplification of rules to increasing automation output, associates look forward to eliminating unproductive processes as Land and Maritime pursues the goals of Better Buying Power.