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NEWS | Jan. 22, 2021

Longstanding partnership reduces part wait time, cost

By Kerensa Crum

A U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command partnership with an arm of the Defense Logistics Agency will significantly reduce delivery time on necessary parts while simultaneously saving millions of dollars.

DLA Aviation – Huntsville and AMCOM Logistics Center have worked in unison for several years at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. A nine-year contract vehicle intended to streamline sole-source spare parts was finalized in late 2020.

“On the local level, we are talking about the partnership between AMCOM ALC and our depot-level repair contracting office here on Redstone,” said George Scheers, DLA Aviation – Huntsville director of procurement operations. DLA Aviation – Huntsville supports aviation and missile platforms and procures approximately $1.2 billion per year of new spare parts on behalf of ALC.

“We have collectively established enduring long-term contracts with major suppliers that streamlined procurement of 664 depot-level reparable parts over the last four years” Scheers added.

DLA Aviation is the aviation demand and supply manager for Defense Logistics Agency. The mission of the Huntsville office is to procure depot-level repairable parts for AMCOM-managed weapon systems.

“Before this partnership, both DLA and ALC worked on short-term, tactical acquisitions that were sometimes proactive, but mainly reactive to what was needed,” said Mallory Medley, DLA Aviation – Huntsville Missile Division chief.

The team decided to take a different approach: instead of focusing on the coming two to four years, ALC and DLA Aviation – Huntsville did a deep dive to forecast need for the next eight to 10 years.

“Additionally, we said, ‘Let’s look at an entire program, weapon system, and/or group of parts that can be covered under one contract vehicle’ – and that’s exactly what we did.

“This is the first instance where we are using a single contract vehicle to procure new spare parts as well as provide commercial repair to existing depot-level repairable parts,” said Scheers. “The contract is unique in that it allows the government to pre-purchase long-lead material and economic order quantities of common materials that will reduce cost and production/repair lead times in the future.”

“Long-lead” refers to the amount of time it can take to put a contract in place, order and receive an item – sometimes as much as two years or more.

This $950 million contract will cover ALC logistics requirements and has the ability to provide for aviation and missile needs. Further, it supports acquisition of sole-source parts in support of U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command and U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command.

“We are appreciative of the partnership with DLA and their efforts in establishing this nine-year contract, said Brian Wood, ALC executive director. “This contract provides our item managers with another tool in their toolbox to improve responsiveness to the needs of the warfighter.”

“This long-term contract affords AMCOM the ability to support large-scale combat operations by ensuring readiness and supply availability rates remains above [Department of the Army] requirements,” said Tara Bell, ALC missile director and Program Executive Office Missiles and Space assistant program executive officer for logistics.

Scheer said there is also the added advantage of saving costs.
Before this contract vehicle was emplaced, the government would incur higher unit costs driven by minimum order quantities of subcomponents within a repair or new build bill of materials.

“Under the new construct, we are procuring long-lead and minimum-order-quantity materials outside of the end item unit price,” Scheers explained. “The result is realized in both long-term cost and lead-time savings.”

“Our taking title to the materials having minimum order quantities for use as government-furnished material in future requirements in lieu of buying the MOQs each year resulted in a saving of over $14 million on the initial delivery order,” said Kenneth Winslette, former DLA Aviation – Huntsville director of strategic projects, who retired in December.

“Strategic contracts, in the long run, save both time and money,” Medley said. “Time is key when it comes to getting the warfighters the parts they need in the field. Instead of having to plan for acquisition time and part-production time, once a strategic contract is in place, it’s the production time that counts, as the acquisition process is complete.”

DLA's stated mission is to sustain warfighter readiness and lethality by delivering proactive global logistics in peace and war.

“In the big picture, DLA centrally manages consumable parts and provides those directly to the Army from the unit level up to supplying the depot with items needed for repair programs,” Scheers explained.

“All stakeholders worked tirelessly to accomplish this contract award, which will benefit the Soldier for years to come,” Bell said.

“The single biggest benefit of this partnership is the impact to the warfighter,” Medley said. “With today’s ever-changing environment, it is imperative that the warfighter is as prepared as possible for whatever may come. DLA and ALC working together – communicating and coordinating on these long-term acquisitions – is positively affecting the warfighters’ preparedness by having the contract coverage to support their program, weapon system, and/or aircraft.”