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VIDEO: U.S. Military Purchasers to Survey Suppliers

FORT BELVOIR, VA – On November 12, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the purchasing arm of the Defense Department, said it began surveying military suppliers – including fastener firms – looking for supplier feedback to make it a better customer. DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic said supplier feedback will help the agency refine processes, improve responsiveness

Military fastener purchases are sizeable, and fall under a number of programs, including the Industrial Hardware supply chain, which manages more than 900,000 items, such as: screws, nuts, bolts, studs, washers, nails, pins, o-rings, clamps and other items typically referred to as "bench stock" or repair parts.

“It's important for us to understand our areas of strengths and potential weaknesses, and how our supplier base views us as a partner,” said Defense Logistics Agency Ombudsman Tim Stark, citing areas such as “whether we communicate in a timely fashion, if we are effective throughout the acquisition process and if we demonstrate sufficient knowledge of their company and industry.”

Stark said the agency uses the data to address areas of concern identified by suppliers, who will have until late January 2021 to complete the survey.

“We target suppliers who have done $50,000 or more in business with Defense Logistics Agency over the previous two years,” Stark said. “Within the survey is demographic information about the companies: whether they’re small or large, manufacturers or distributors, and what particular supply chain within DLA they do business with.”

The survey is part of the agency’s industry engagement effort outlined in the 2018 DLA Industry Engagement Plan including establishing programs to reduce supply chain risks, such as combating counterfeit products, planning for diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages, and promoting competition to encourage a robust supplier base.

“These risks are continuously and dynamically affecting DLA’s ability to support the warfighter and require nimble and dedicated efforts that address these vulnerabilities,” according to the plan. “Our industry partners must play an active role in helping DoD guard against these threats and where necessary, DLA will work with industry to develop the protocols and processes that ensure we address the steady stream of risks inherent in today’s global supply chains.”

Stark said the 2018 survey, sent to 7,000 firms, resulted in over 3,000 responses and Defense Logistics Agency Acquisition leaders say they are hoping for a greater response this year.

“We’re highly encouraging all who receive a survey to respond and let us know how we’re doing,” Stark said. Industry representatives can get more information about the survey by contacting the DLA Industry Engagement Office at [email protected].