3 Things I’ve Learned Since Joining the Private Sector

Many of my friends and colleagues are still “on the inside,” as in working for the Federal Government as civilian employees. I took the plunge 18 months ago; I retired and went to work in the private sector. This blog post is for my friends and colleagues who may be thinking about doing the same thing. I’ve got some points I’d like for you to consider that reach beyond the obvious.

1. You must stay informed. When working for the Federal Government, as long as you know the chain of command in your organization, the goals and objectives set by the organization, and the informal power structure therein, you really don’t have to pay too much attention to the larger world. If policies change the policy people will tell you – and even they have to be in touch with only their assigned area of responsibility. Sure, you are more effective if you continually survey the entire landscape, but you don’t necessarily have to do this.

In the private sector nobody tells you when to pay attention. Reading news articles, participating in LinkedIn discussion groups, monitoring trade journals is something you have to do now as part of your daily work habits. Suddenly it’s all about what you know that’s new in addition to who or what you know.

2. The bottom line is real and you must contribute. As a civil servant I worked hard to stay within budget for my projects. But truth be told, when unforeseen issues or needs arose, there was always money somewhere to bridge the gap. You do need skills such as anticipation, persuasiveness, and passion to get the available money before somebody else does, but somehow there’s always a way […]

Customers Voice High Praise for DOD EMALL

The DOD EMALL Program Office at the Defense Logistics Agency Headquarters recently sent a survey to customers asking the impact to their mission if DOD EMALL were no longer available. The application received high praise from the users. Here are just a few of their responses.

DLA Land and Maritime

“If we were to lose access to DOD EMALL Tire corridor, it would have a significant negative effect. Currently we use the website to validate NSN’s sources of supply for all DOD buyers and we provide our customers with validated spec sheets that they can use to verify the accuracy of the product they have received. There is no other database that will give me this ability. I am in that database every day reviewing, updating or retrieving data for a customer or a buyer. This section of the DOD EMALL has allowed other organization (TARDEC/TACOM) to easily assist with research and identify inconstancies with the data so that I can properly maintain the NSN’s through the cataloging actions. This is the best way for all organizations to see the same information on one system.”

DLA HQ

“It would make a big impact, I support 26 offices, so it would slow down our supply for the DLA offices I support.”

Magellan Aerospace

“As a broad stroke perspective from Procurement, lead time would be the greatest impact to our delivery schedule. The material purchased through DOD EMALL is not readily available on the open market or the OEM in most instances. GEAE is our main repair line, lead times ranging up to 725 days.”

USAF AFMC – Robins Air Force Base

“EMALL is very important to us at the F-15 SPO. We have a contract with Korean Air Lines (KAL) to complete the Programmed Depot Maintenance (PDM) on the USAF F-15s stationed at Kadena AS, Okinawa, […]

Purchasing GFM and CFM from DLA Stock using DOD EMALL

In my last post, I discussed how DOD EMALL is being used by Performance Based Logistics (PBL) and Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) contractors as a price research tool for Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) inventory. Today we are going to discuss how DOD EMALL is being used to purchase that DLA inventory.

DOD EMALL as a Price Analysis and DLA Inventory Level Research Tool

DOD EMALL is a valuable tool used by prime contractors and responsible Government officials to perform market research, price analyses and researching inventory levels of these repair parts within DLA. Of the 1,600 parts on the follow-on contract which had sufficient DLA inventory to cover the annual requirement, over 50% of the DLA prices were lower for a potential savings to the government of $8M.

Simplified Acquisition and the DOD EMALL

With over a thousand vendors and 30+M items, the DOD EMALL provides ample competition and meets each of the FAR simplified acquisition stated goals.

Government and Industry Work Together to Support Data Standardization

In 1999, the Electronic Commerce Code Management Association (ECCMA) was founded as an international not for profit membership association with a mission to research, develop and promote better quality data for use in electronic commerce.

Soon after formation, ECCMA director Peter Benson discovered that the Department of Defense had been doing data standardization work to support military acquisition since the early 1960s. The government system, called the Federal Cataloging System (FCS), described items purchased by the federal government using Federal Identification Information Guides (FIIGs). These guides classified and described over 17 million items used by the US, NATO, and a series of friendly foreign governments. The Defense Logistics Agency Logistics Information Service in Battle Creek, MI manages the database and cataloging process. Benson convinced the government to collaborate with private industry to develop an international standard based on the work already started by the federal government.

ECCMA went on to develop the ECCMA Open Technical Dictionary (eOTD) to allow the creation and exchange of unambiguous, language independent master data. Data that identifies and describes individuals, organizations, locations, goods, services, processes, rules and regulations. The eOTD is based on the Federal Cataloging System and the NATO Codification System, the systems used to manage the world’s largest shared inventory developed by the Department of Defense and members of NATO and used today in over 50 countries.

Today ECCMA is the project leader for ISO 22745 (Open technical dictionaries and their application to master data) and ISO 8000 (Data quality). ECCMA is also the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited administrator of the US technical advisory group, the committee responsible for the development and maintenance of international standards for industrial data.

This decade old partnership proves that government and industry can […]

DOD Getting the Message on Reverse Auctions

As with all of government, the Department of Defense is facing slimmer budgets and looking at ways to save money. Basically as Ashton Carter, Deputy Secretary, Department of Defense, put it: “To do more, without more.”

In December 2010, John Young, a senior fellow at Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and a former U.S. undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics wrote an article for Defense News encouraging the Department of Defense to use reverse auctions to save money. Young stated in his article,”There is constant debate about acquisition practices, with simple and obvious steps frequently overlooked. Reverse auctioning can save money, increase competition, cut contract officer workload, reduce procurement complexity, provide transparency, and help prevent fraud and graft. Reverse auction tools should be added to the DoD and defense industry acquisition tool kit and used whenever possible to get maximum value for each taxpayer dollar.”

In October 2011, David C. Wyld, Professor of Management at Southeastern Louisiana, published a report for the IBM Center for the Business of Government titled “Reverse Auctioning: Saving Money and Increasing Transparency.” In this report, Dr. Wyld recommends that the government  adopt an auction first policy. Wyld estimates that the federal government could save  $8.9 billion by increasing use of reverse auctions. He estimates that the Department of defense alone could save over $6 billion. In addition to increased savings, his report indicates that there is increased transparency of the acquisition transactions. A case study of the Department of State found that increased use of reverse auctions also increased the competition among suppliers, and dramatically reduced the acquisition contract time for department staff.

Over the last decade the DOD has made a few attempts at using reverse auctioning, but has […]

Keeping Credit Card Data Safe

Having your credit card stolen is a major concern for any cardholder. Combine that with the responsibility of buying supplies for the government and it is enough to lose sleep over.  Attacks on payment card processing systems are on the rise. Organized internet thieves target all sizes of on-line merchants. According to a study by the University of Michigan, 76 per cent of websites from 214 US financial institutions suffer from at least one security design flaw that prevents secure usage (you can find the full report at http://cups.cs.cmu.edu/soups/2008/proceedings/p117Falk.pdf).

No one is completely safe.

Fortunately, there’s a clear path of action for merchants that can help prevent compromise of payment card data. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is the authorized program of goals and associated security controls and processes that keep payment card data safe from exploitation. The standard is often called by its acronym PCI DSS or PCI.

This standard was created to help payment card industry organizations that process card payments prevent credit card fraud through increased controls around data and its exposure to compromise. The standard applies to all organizations that hold, process, or exchange cardholder information from any card branded with the logo of one of the card brands. This includes deploying multiple firewalls within the  ecommerce  system and separating the credit card database from other system processes.

As principle developer of the DOD EMALL eCommerce site, Partnet recognized the vulnerabilities of the system. In 2008, when the Defense Logistics Agency mandated that DOD EMALL be moved into a DISA enterprise data center, Partnet recommended that the ecommerce system network be redesigned to move toward PCI compliance. This was the first time the Department of Defense dealt with this commercial standard. Partnet […]

DLA Team Investigates Security Measures

Agencies across the Federal Government are increasing efforts to identify and fix security flaws. These programs are probing both IT Security and Physical security in an attempt to measure the effectiveness of current security measures.

One of the agencies testing the effectiveness of current security measures is the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). A recent article published by the DLA News Center, titled Investigative team uncovers security flaws, details the work performed by members of the DLA Accountability Office. The team scrutinized screening and property pick-up procedures at several DLA Disposition Services facilities. Because the investigation included members of law enforcement, many details of the operation have not been released. However, it was reported that the team was able to identify weaknesses and take corrective actions.

Proactive efforts like this are a good way to ensure the effectiveness of current security measures–and with the success of the investigation–it is likely that similar investigations will be conducted in the coming months.

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