Feeding a Global Enterprise 24/7: The DLA Subsistence Digital Transformation Business Case

With origins to World War II, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is a global enterprise providing more than $42 billion in goods and services annually. Managed by the DLA, the $3B Subsistence (Class I) supply chain provides food support for all six branches of the Armed Forces, federal agencies including FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and allied nations. Wherever the United States has a military presence – the DLA is there to feed and support those who serve. 

Directed by the Department of Defense (DoD) to plan, develop, fund, implement and maintain a Joint Food Management System (JFMS), the DLA required a better understanding of current internal solutions and opportunities to more effectively use data, analytics, and leverage emerging technologies. Vibronyx was tasked by DLA Research and Development with developing a strategic plan to guide the digital transformation of the supply chain, providing a future state vision and roadmap to support a modernized and data-driven food management system.

The Challenge

To understand existing pain points, challenges and opportunities for modernization, we conducted a holistic current state people, process and technology assessment. Our assessment found these key challenges:

  • Siloed information: Data in disparate systems inhibits analytics and the ability to derive the actionable insights needed to support supply chain performance and drive customer satisfaction.
  • Limited visibility: Without communication or integration between systems, leadership lacks end-to-end asset visibility between customer orders, supplier deliveries and key stakeholders.
  • Manual processes: Lack of integration between DLA and military service systems requires numerous manual processes prone to error, resulting in significant workforce time commitments to investigate and fix issues.

Our Solution

An actionable plan for a supply chain as large and complex as the DLA Subsistence (it’s one of nine DoD supply chains managing 5 million items) to put in place a technology system, as well as a set of processes, to proactively and predictively manage supplies. Our deliverables included: 

  • Future State Vision: A vision and the accompanying requirements necessary to modernize, through system integration and analytics, end-to-end Supply Chain Management.
  • Transformation Roadmap: A strategic plan to inform funding, development, implementation, and maintenance of the proposed solution.

Knowing how important people, processes and technology are to transformation, we also facilitated sessions with leadership and key stakeholders along the way to drive, not only the creation of the DLA Subsistence vision, but the buy-in needed to adopt it and move it forward.

The Results

The multi-year transformation roadmap includes strategic guidance to develop, implement and maintain a modernized JFMS while also considering the process and organizational changes needed to drive operational excellence. After aligning the strategy, analytics use cases and solution requirements across DLA, military services and other key stakeholders, our deliverables included: 

  • Mockup interactive analytics dashboards with agreed-upon metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to facilitate future-state visioning and solution design.
  • A cloud-based AWS GovCloud analytics warehouse with applied machine learning to demonstrate predictive analytics feasibility (e.g. Predictive Pricing volatility). 
  • A modern and analytics-driven Solution Reference Architecture that can be used to integrate data from eight silo internal and external systems, built upon the Vibronyx Cadence Artificial Intelligence (AI) Supply Chain Control Tower Platform. 

These results summarize the beginning of our work with the DLA as a prime contractor for their $3 billion Subsistence supply chain. Our coming pilot solution to modernize the JFMS will sustain new levels of speed, agility, efficiency and precision for a future-ready supply chain that best serves those who serve. 

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