DLA Subsistence project helps customers, improves internal processes

Photo By Alexandria Brimage-Gray | DLA Troop Support Subsistence Food Safety Office Chief Army Lt. Col. Erin Haverly, left, Subsistence Commodity Support Liaison Evan Newpher-Lockard, second to left, Troop Support Supervisory Accountant Sharrie Wilson, right, and Continuous Process Improvement Management and Program Analyst Kevin Gleaton, second to right, pose for a photo in Philadelphia, Sept. 11, 2019. The team worked collectedly to establish a standardized process to credit customer accounts for recalled items more timely and efficiently. (Photo by Alexandria Brimage-Gray)



Story by Alexandria Brimage-Gray 

Defense Logistics Agency   

The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Subsistence supply chain’s recall notifications under the All Food and Drug Act are critical to ensuring the warfighter and their family members do not buy or consume recalled subsistence products in any government owned facility. But what about the customers that need to be credited for products that were recalled?

DLA Troop Support Continuous Process Improvement management and program analyst Kevin Gleaton was tasked to ensure the crediting process was more efficient. Gleaton developed a standardized process to improve and verify Subsistence customer account crediting after food recalls were issued, getting credits for recalled items back to the customer more timely and efficiently.

Army Lt. Col. Erin Haverly, food safety office chief at the DLA Troop Support Subsistence supply chain, is responsible for disseminating the recall information to military installations around the world.

“If a recall affects part of the Department of Defense supply chain, a global message is sent to the appropriate agencies and services, alerting them to the threat and explaining how to mitigate it,” Haverly said.

Over the past several months, Gleaton worked with Subsistence, its customers and members of the agency’s finance team to establish a map to outline the recall process and identify the cause of the problem.

“We found out that the customer was not only responsible for ordering the food, but for cancelling the order once the ALFOODACT [recall] was issued,” Gleaton said. “That significant but small, critical step was not happening for the military customers.”

To correct the problem in the future, Gleaton submitted a change request to the DLA information operations team to grant permissions to the Subsistence team to add a banner notification on a recalled item within the ordering system and create a customer verification document.

When a customer orders a recalled item or an item is recalled after an order has been placed, Gleaton said, a banner pops up with recall information from the vendor.

“We now have response forms for the vendor to fill out for the recalled items,” he said. “If a customer paid for it, we can now take the response form to the [Troop Support] finance office to verify that the item has been credited to the customer.”

The improved process demonstrates DLA Troop Support’s commitment to DLA’s Line of Effort, Always Accountable.

“The establishment of the recall refund process for Subsistence will be instrumental in ensuring customers are reimbursed funding for defective material purchased from vendors within the current fiscal year,” Sharrie Wilson, a Troop Support supervisory accountant said. “The [crediting process] will enable customers to reutilize the same funds for sustainable material and hold vendors accountable for material discrepancies within the current recall fiscal year.”

Wilson says that prior to this project, the capability to refund the customer did not exist.

“My role on the project was to create, develop and implement a viable cash management method which enabled vendors to refund DLA Troop Support Subsistence customers for recalled products purchased,” Wilson said.

Not only does the project benefit the military customers financially, the Subsistence team officially standardized the credit process in July to improve customer service around the world.

“The CPI project consolidated all of the steps in the process to create a standard operating procedure to provide the needed synergy and clarity in terms of communication as well as a clear process across the organization to ensure that everyone is following the same protocol,” Gleaton said.

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