DLA Vice Director Urges Employees to Escalate Contracting Issues
(Targeted News Service Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 -- The U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Logistics Agency issued the following news:
The wheel kept spinning. But this time, the Defense Logistics Agency vice director saw it for himself.
Ted Case stood next to a DLA Troop Support contracting officer as she changed a purchase order in EProcurement. Then they watched a small, blue circle spin on her computer screen waiting for the contract-writing software to update.
Case and members of DLA's Time to Award Team visited 10 DLA Troop Support workstations Jan. 16 to talk to employees about the problems they encounter during the contracting process.
One of the common issues was waiting for EProcurement to update after data was input. Jillian Randazzo, a DLA Troop Support Clothing and Textiles contracting officer, told Case that it can take hours to makes changes in EProcurement, as opposed to minutes in previous systems. Case left Randazzo's desk before the circle on her screen stopped spinning.
The workstation visits followed a Time to Award briefing to DLA Troop Support supervisors in December, in which Case said he wanted to see some of the system problems for himself and help fix them.
The Time to Award project is an enterprisewide initiative to make the contracting process faster.
EProcurement, which was introduced at DLA Troop Support in November 2012, will standardize and automate contract writing throughout DLA. It's been deployed in phases and will be used by all of DLA Troop Support by Jan. 27, said Chris Cosfol, Procurement Process Support deputy director.
The Time to Award team visiting DLA Troop Support included Yvette Burke, who's leading the project, and leaders from information technology and continuing process improvement. They had candid discussions with employees about their various issues and took notes to work from later.
"They said that they see the problem and they're going to look into fixing it," Randazzo said. "It was great that he sat with us while we worked and saw the issues up front."
During a visit to a DLA Troop Support Construction and Equipment employee's workstation, Ralph Lund, the supply chain's director of supplier operations, told Burke that system issues are being better addressed.
"Management is making sure that employees know we're behind them on this," Lund said. "They're elevating issues, and resolutions are coming faster."
In between employee visits, Case and the team addressed the DLA Troop Support workforce on Time to Award. They reiterated that employees should ask for help when they need it.
"If someone is sitting at their desk with a problem, they need to be able to escalate it immediately," he said.
"The best thing about being in my position is that I can draw a line through things," Case said, referring to his ability to impact rules and regulations. "You've got to tell us and help us understand."
Army Brig. Gen. Steven Shapiro, DLA Troop Support commander, told the workforce that when it comes to Time to Award, "we're working for you."
"We're putting pressure on you to do things better and faster," Shapiro said. "You need to ... use your chain of command with problems."
Everyone has to be willing to talk honestly about the contracting process, why it's taking too long and how the entire workforce can work to improve it, he said.
Case eventually visited workstations in each of DLA Troop Support's five supply chains, including two in Industrial Hardware near Fred Miller, a supervisory contract specialist.
Miller said that the Time to Award project has potential to greatly impact service to warfighters and that Case's workstation visits will help.
"It's essential. You have to talk to the end users," Miller said. "And they're going to be more comfortable talking to leadership on their own turf and showing him first-hand the challenges they are facing."
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