Washington, D.C.- On Tuesday April 27, the American Logistics Association (ALA) and its newly formed Food Service Council met to go over challenges and ideas affiliated to the foodservice operations.The new council’s mission and vision are to improve food service operations supporting industry and the military.Members of the council are working on areas associated with improving process and policy to provide efficiencies in operations at the same time provide healthy, nutritious and wholesome food choices in supporting the Services food programs.
The new council is composed of six industry professionals with deep experience and a desire to foster collaboration with all industry suppliers, purveyors, distributors and Government. The key characteristic was to be able to lay down their respective “swords” and harmonize efforts for the betterment of the Services, DLA, and Industry.
The Foodservice Council agreed to address several issues this year. Those issues are common to all of industry, the Services and DLA. The issues chosen to address are as follows:
- Fair and Reasonable (F&R). What metrics and indices are utilized to evaluate a product’s economic value and, concurrently, how does the potential supplier have an opportunity to address the evaluation in the interest of transparency and accuracy.
- Why does it take so long for a product to be catalogued (or denied)? Additionally, there is little linkage once the product is in stock and when the product is integrated into the menu and utilized. This impacts the Prime Vendor (distributor), the Services desiring the product but unaware it is in inventory, because the product, if not utilized, will most likely, require a shelf-life extension all due to unawareness by the entire “chain”.
- 2020 was a difficult year. Between the Covid pandemic and subjective measures imposed, business practices and interface with the Services have been suspended. It’s time to place 2020 behind. What does the path to resuming business presentations and conversations look like? We can’t stay in our respective dungeons. Business goes on and service personnel continue to be deployed/trained and must be fed.
The Joint Services Policy Board, was held on 20 April and they discussed and reviewed support as it relates to the Services food service mission. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), is the Executive Agent for Food Service and provides Subsistence Prime Vendor and Local Market Ready contracted food service support for delivery and distribution.
There are a few areas, as a result of this council, we were able to discuss and potentially work to possibly improve operational support in process and policy.
The Joint Services Policy Board (JSPB) was established as the DODI and DODM 1338-10 which gives the Services the guidelines for all foodservice operations, whether it’s for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, or the US Coast Guard (USCG), even though USCG falls under The Department of Homeland Security.
All the Services Headquarters came together, with DLA and DLA-TS and discussed areas supporting their operations across a broad array of operational initiatives. The JSPB discussed many areas in which some of the discussion was related to Cataloging, Menus and Recipes, Fair and Reasonable, and Covid19 environment affecting operations.
All conversations and actions taken were to improve how they operate and how they interject with the customers and vendors supporting foodservice feeding operations whether CONUS or OCONUS and how DLA supports them in their structure and mission objective(s).
Communication back to the vendors on ‘Fair and Reasonable’ process is being worked and how the supplier is contacted when their product is approved or disapproved in the system.
There is no direct ‘Fair and Reasonable” Office set up per se, what they did was designate certain people within these different contract areas to work ‘Fair and Reasonable’ for the products that are being introduced into their area, whether it is a prime vendor contract or local market ready products are in that zone.
We need to ensure that if an ALA member states they are encountering “headwinds”, the member understands the machinations of the procedures/processes.
It is incumbent upon industry to stay in contact with their customers, whether they are the distributor, front line, prime vendor, etc…
One of the areas discussed with DLA-TS was going back as part of the JSPB, to hold both an Industry and Government Day. Where all of the customers would come together and discuss areas that affected them across the board, and then there would be a Government Day only where they discussed areas on the government side of the house.
Both the Services and DLA-TS were positive towards this initiative of a joint Industry-Government Day.
The ALA Foodservice Council is a deep group, and it is important that we all have an independent voice in discussing how we are doing, because no one person understands all the processes and policy of doing business with the government
Mr. Rossetti echoed that sentiment “We are moving in a really good direction. The board brings a lot of value-added to the ALA, and more importantly, to the members, both current members and future members who need this support.”