Aviation Supply Personnel Merger Seeks Efficiencies
By Debra R. Bingham
Defense Supply Center Richmond
RICHMOND, Va., Mar. 23, 2010 The overall success of a business initiative starts with the human factor, especially when it means change for employees.
Air Force Col. Vic Wager, aviation customer operations director at the Defense Supply Center Richmond, Richmond, Va., talks to Defense Logistics Agency employees based at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Fla., about their upcoming merger into his directorate during a town hall meeting held March 8, 2010. Photo by Debra R. Bingham
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Air Force Col. Vic Wager, the director of aviation customer operations at the Defense Supply Center Richmond here, understands the importance of communicating change and engaging stakeholders in the process.
The Richmond center is a component of the Defense Logistics Agency that’s based at Fort Belvoir, Va. Wager is meeting with local union leaders and agency employees across the nation this month to discuss a phased realignment plan that will merge DLA aviation personnel at Navy, Air Force and Army industrial sites into his directorate.
Change is a sensitive issue for many of the employees who transferred to DLA within the past two years as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure law, which directed consolidation of service-run supply, storage and distribution operations and depot-level reparable procurement management functions under DLA. As a result, more than 1,500 employees at three Navy readiness centers and three Air Force logistics centers became part of the DLA team.
Along with Wager, the visitation team includes Gus Liggon, deputy director of customer operations; Brenda Matthews, a DLA labor relations specialist; and other staff. They met with employees and representatives from the American Federation of Government Employees at DLA Jacksonville, Fla., March 8; DLA Warner Robins, Ga., March 10; and DLA Cherry Point, N.C., March 16. They held similar meetings March 22 at DLA North Island, Calif. Other meetings are to be held at DLA Ogden, Utah, and at DLA Oklahoma City, Okla.
"The purpose of this merger is to achieve efficiencies and meld retail and wholesale operations within a standard organizational construct,” Wager said. “It makes sense to consolidate aviation demand and supply chain employees who face our customers.”
DLA and its field activities have been on a transformational journey during the past few years. Though BRAC 2005 was a catalyst for some changes, the agency also modernized its business and information technology processes. Work force development and training are part of the transformation process.
At a town hall meeting attended by more than 100 Defense Logistics Agency employees held at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Fla., Wager said new job roles would be developed to match the agency’s new tool sets and processes, moving employees from Navy position descriptions to DLA position descriptions. Employees asked questions about job classification, seniority, work environment and technology enhancements, promotional opportunities within DLA, training, and job security.
Wager provided an overview of the current and future organizational structure. The mission, he said, wouldn't be impacted by the merger, noting care was being taken to consider the impact on individuals affected by the change.
“We owe you information as the steps to reorganize take shape and we'll work to keep your commanders and supervisors informed so they can share that information with you," Wager said.
Defense Supply Center Richmond is the Defense Logistics Agency's aviation demand and supply chain manager, employing nearly 3,000 people in the Richmond area. It serves within the Department of Defense as the primary source for more than 1.3 million aviation repair parts and operating supply items, supporting more than 1,300 major weapons systems.