Defense Logistics Agency's small-business pros crush goal
FORT BELVOIR, Va., Oct. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Defense Logistics Agency has exceeded the small-business goal set by the Office of the Secretary of Defense by over 3 percent for fiscal 2013. The agency awarded more than $7.1 billion to small businesses in the last fiscal year, the director of DLA's Office of Small Business Programs said.
"Our OSD assigned goal for fiscal 2013 was to have 32 percent of all eligible dollars, everything except dollars spent for performance overseas, Foreign Military Sales, and on AbilityOne services, awarded to small businesses," Amy Sajda said. "We far exceeded that, and we ended up with over 35 percent. A lot of what we buy is conducive to small businesses, so our goal is typically higher than what the military services have assigned."
To help meet their goal, DLA's Office of Small Business Programs formed a partnership plan with DLA Acquisition, helping to focus efforts between acquisition and our small business offices, Sajda said.
"In fiscal 2013, we established our first improvement and marketing plan for small business jointly with our DLA Acquisition partners," she said. "Between the two of us, we came up with six different areas that we wanted to focus on to help improve our small-business performance. That worked out so well, we're finishing up our plan for fiscal 2014."
For one of their six initiatives, to identify challenges and break down barriers, Sajda and the small business offices held conversations with vendors, hoping to identify problem areas.
"Vendors don't offer for a variety of reasons. They either don't recognize the solicitation of what we're looking for, or a lot of times, they price themselves out of competition," she said. "So we identified 1.5 million items that we want to award to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. We put that list on our small business website to let the vendors know that's what we're looking for sources for," said Sajda.
"Vendors have also told us that sometimes we don't leave solicitations open long enough for them to decide whether or not it's something that they can actually offer on. So we're working with DLA Acquisition to see what we can do about expanding the solicitation time. That project is still ongoing, so we're working through it," she added.
A beefed up external website, aimed at helping vendors find information easier, accompanied the internal changes the agency made.
"We're doing a lot of different things that are geared toward helping vendors figure out quickly who they need to talk to for what particular issue," she said. "That included revamping our entire small business webpage. It was bare bones before, so we added a lot more content to make it more helpful to both the DLA workforce and the vendor community. We included links to all of our supply chain small business webpages, and we added content regarding each of the small business programs that vendors can use."
Increased outreach efforts, another initiative, have improved the vendor community's understanding of DLA, its mission and what it buys, Sajda said.
"With two out of three businesses in the U.S. being a small business, we need to cultivate as many small businesses in as many commodities as we can to ensure we continue to provide the quality products that the military needs to do their jobs. That is why outreach is critical to all DLA small-business offices," she said.
As a Department of Defense combat support agency, DLA provides the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, other federal agencies, and joint and allied forces with a variety of logistics, acquisition and technical services. The agency sources and provides nearly 100 percent of the consumable items America's military forces need to operate, from food, fuel and energy, to uniforms, medical supplies, and construction and barrier equipment. DLA also supplies more than 85 percent of the military's spare parts.
Headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., DLA has about 25,000 employees worldwide and supports nearly 2,300 weapon systems. For more information about DLA, go to www.dla.mil, www.facebook.com/dla.mil or http://twitter.com/dlamil.
SOURCE Defense Logistics Agency