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Defense Logistics Agency essay

From the interview with Lt. Gen. Robert Dail, he appeared to be very familiar with the process inside the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) when he took over as director. He was able to assess the effects of the new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system implemented in the agency when he came in which was targeted to improve supply management.

The “secret sauce” being proposed by Dail to deliver supplies to the military troops on time, and to monitor and supplement supply shortages at the shortest time possible was the use of Information Technology (IT) within the agency’s operations. Instead of centralizing the supplies in a number of warehouse points, DLA will operate where the military troops are situated so the supply will be given directly to the customer at no cost for transport or warehouse storage. Supply demands can just be inputted online so they can be processed ahead of time and military officials can track the progress online as well.

Dail mentioned that with these changes, some of his constituents may not be doing their usual jobs anymore in one location. They may have to move around to be able to better provide support to military troops on the field. As

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some processes may be automated through IT, some of them may be delegated with different tasks. Additional divisions or departments may be created like a separate IT department. The department will be composed of experts in maintaining the performance of the ERP software. They will be assigned to make sure that the system is functioning well to meet the efficiency requirements.

Measuring from the performance metrics described by Tim Allen on his article from Strategic Finance, the DLA supply chain should be able to excel in the customer-facing metrics. With Dail’s strategies, supply needs on field would be resolved in no time. The agency, however, has to prepare contingency plans if because of circumstances due to battle, deliveries will be hindered. On-site suppliers may be pre-determined to support at these cases.

Through the ERP software and the standardized forms available online for customers to fill out, DLA can readily respond to supply demands at all times with a short waiting time for the customers. The software would also enable faster monitoring of the demand levels against the supply levels. When necessary, a supply order can be posted immediately for the suppliers and have the provisions processed immediately.

For the Internal Performance Metrics, DLA will benefit very much with reduced costs and increased efficiency. Since the agency will be situated where the customers are, there will be lesser or even no costs at all for the shipping or warehouse storage of supplies. With the ERP software customized to make complex processes simple, transactions, inventories and accounting can be accomplished immediately. Or, since the agency is already saving so much from reduced costs, the process can be outsourced or delegated to a separate group of specialists.

As one of the best practices to be able to serve customers better and to meet the goals of timeliness and efficiency, DLA should also consider implementing the demand chain methodology as used in the kitchen equipment repair business. As mentioned earlier, circumstances could become unpredictable when military action is underway. Once the supply order form had been filled out, DLA should be able to determine immediately where the request came from and what the situation is from that location. From this information, they can gauge the time needed to have the supply order processed and delivered to the customer. Alternative methods may also be formulated in case normal procedures would not be applicable.

References:

Holmes, A. (2007). Supplies In Demand: As the US marks the start of its fifth year in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Robert Dail, director of the Defense Logistics Agency, is placing IT at the core of his strategy to end the snafus and make the military supply organization more responsive to the troops. CIO. 20(11), page 1.

Allen, T. (2008). The “Secret Sauce” that Maximizes ROI for ERP. Strategic Finance. 33-37.

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