U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Aviation is expanding its use of a streamlined order processing methodology meant to ease the backlog of parts on order and get materials into the hands of customers more efficiently.
Known as Discipline Production Control (DPC), the management technique already has been successful in improving the procurement of parts at the wholesale level. Now DLA Aviation has extended its use to depot-level-repairable procurements, which is a class of larger, more complex systems.
So far the expanded use of DPC has been showing positive results, according to Greg Smith, discipline production control team lead at DLA Aviation spokesman.
DLA Aviation typically has about 40,000 purchase requests in the pipeline. That’s a significant improvement over the peak of around 55,000 open orders prior to the 2009 implementation of DPC.
Since 2009 lateness of awards has dropped 58 percent, timely processing of awards is up 62 percent and turnaround time is down from 8.9 months to 5.1 months.
The difference between the present methodology versus previous approaches can best be viewed as a push/pull scenario. Prior to DPC, orders came into the system and were automatically pushed out to order processors without regard to existing workloads. As a result, work piled up and was distributed unevenly, leaving some acquisition specialists sorely overburdened.
“It is like turning on the water faucet in your home and just letting the water keep running,” Smith said. “Eventually the water is going to breach the sink’s capacity to hold it and begin to overflow and cause a big mess.”
Under DPC, a production controller “pulls” in requests and then processes those with the help of software designed to prioritize assignments based on the volume of work in progress and orders already in the queue. This helps balance the workload and ensure no one element of the pipeline ends up overloaded.
In recent months the system has been extended beyond the existing wholesale purchasing of smaller parts to embrace the acquisition of larger systems at DLA Aviation’s depot level repairable sites in Oklahoma City and Philadelphia.
The change means DPC now can process not just requests for smaller component parts, but also for the full components themselves, the spokesman said. While the methodology remains the same, use at the larger-scale depot level represents a novel implementation of the concept.
Overall, DPC has generated positive outcomes both externally and internally. For customers, the effort has led to more timely order processing, while alleviating a backlog of requests on hand, the spokesman said. As an added benefit, stress levels are significantly down among those charged with getting those orders fulfilled.