DLA Conference Reaches Out to Small Businesses

Oct 22, 2010, 09:56 ET from Defense Logistics Agency

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "We need all the suppliers we can get — we're only as good as our suppliers," said Milton Lewis, executive director of Contracting and Acquisition Management at Defense Logistics Agency's Land and Maritime supply chain.

Lewis addressed a crowd of about 150 vendors invited to DLA Land and Maritime, in Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 19-20 for a small business Training-Knowledge-Opportunities Seminar focused on service-disabled veteran-owned small business suppliers. To receive designation as a SDVOSB, a company must be a domestic small business at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans.

The TKO session is part of DLA's continued efforts to reach out to small-business owners to help them earn a fair share of government contracting opportunities.

Lewis told the group that DLA Land and Maritime manages more than 2 million items of DLA's 5 million items and that "any day we can get a request for any one of those parts."

"What we need is an agile supply chain. You should come in this business with your eyes open — it's different," Lewis told the vendors, who were briefed on a variety of topics chosen to help them through the acquisition process.

Subject matter experts on the DLA Internet Bid Board System, Collaboration Folders, and radio frequency identification devices, as well as a number of other topics, presented information to the government contractor audience. The DLA Internet Bid Board System is a web-based application that lets vendors search, view and submit secure quotes on Requests For Quotations for DLA items of supply. DIBBS also allows vendors to search and view Request For Proposals, Invitations For Bid, awards and other procurement information related to DLA. The site is available at www.dibbs.bsm.dla.mil.

In planning the conference, the Land and Maritime Small Business Office staff reached out to SDVOSBs who were new or had done limited business with DLA.

One attendee remarked that he found it informative to come to such conferences and talk with other suppliers.

Another, Jim Dyle of Coordinated Defense Supply Systems Inc., said he thought the conference was the best he's ever attended.

"Nobody knows how everything works," Dyle said. "It wasn't like some of these 'rah-rah' sessions where you don't really get enough information."

On the second day of the conference, Scott Denniston, a SDVOSB advocate and executive director of the National Veterans Small Business Coalition, presented information on vendors doing their part for SDVOSBs.

"DLA has an obligation to support veteran small businesses because [the Department of Defense] makes veterans," said the former director of small business with the Department of Veteran Affairs small business. "Because of their education, teamwork and perseverance, veterans make great business partners. Persevere and don't quit. The federal market is hard to break into, but you can be successful.

"And always think from the buyers' perspective — it's about supporting the warfighter," said Denniston.

Future Training-Knowledge-Opportunities seminars are scheduled for March 8-9, May 17-18, July 12-13 and Oct. 18-19, 2011. Additional information and online registration are at http://www.dscc.dla.mil/News/events/tko/ .

As the Department of Defense's combat logistics 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 80 percent of the military's spare parts.

Headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., DLA has about 27,000 employees worldwide and supports about 1,700 weapon systems. DLA's business revenues were nearly $41 billion in Fiscal Year 2010. For more information about DLA, go to http://www.dla.mil/  or www.facebook.com/dla.mil.

SOURCE Defense Logistics Agency