Edition 46
Supply Chain Predictability - Turning the Vision Into Reality
by Jo Adail Stephenson, Public Affairs POC, Defense Contract Management Agency

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Supply chain predictability means understanding what risks exist in the supply chain and delivering that information to the agency’s customers at the right time so they can make informed decisions. The Defense Contract Management Agency is globally positioned to gather insight to provide predictive information to its customers and leverage this opportunity to benefit the acquisition enterprise.

“The agency’s vision statement specifically states we will strive to be the Department of Defense’s leading expert in supply chain predictability. We need to take the vision and turn it into reality,” DCMA Director Charlie E. Williams, Jr. said in a recent webcast.

To address the agency’s vision of supply chain predictability, Williams kicked off an enterprise-wide Lean Six Sigma project in May 2012. He commissioned a team of cross-functional and Lean Six Sigma experts from across the agency and named Karron Small, DCMA Engineering and Analysis executive director, the project champion.

“One of the best things about ‘Lean’ is it can lead you to find answers to your questions and solutions to your problems,” Small said. “Lean Six Sigma’s disciplined and structured approach provides a standardized, consistent roadmap with checkpoints and tollgates throughout the process. The process creates accountability and furnishes clear direction and guidance. ”The team, launched in June 2012, is using a modified Lean Six Sigma process called DMEDI – define, measure, explore, develop and implement. This approach is used when a current process is not well understood or documented. It helps in identifying and focusing an organization to meet the project’s objectives, according to Chris Knaggs, DCMA Continuous Process Improvement director. 

The team has completed the first three phases – define, measure and explore. “This effort will provide a consistent way to execute responsibilities at all levels and allow integration of data into actionable information,” Small said. The goal is to provide insight to the agency’s customers at a point in time which allows them to make smart decisions to improve their program outcomes, Williams said. “Our customers want us to be more proactive in identifying risks that can cause supply chain disruptions,” Williams said. “They want us to focus on proactive communications, take preemptive action on those high-risk suppliers and mitigate future disruptions.” Williams added the agency needs to collectively capture and make visible supply chain intelligence throughout the enterprise in order for DCMA to meet this objective. “At the end of the day, our job is not merely to react faster to interruptions in the supply chain but to use credible measures to help us predict interruptions before these happen,” Williams said.
Jo Adail Stephenson works in the public affairs sector for the Defense Contract Management Agency.

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