News   Defense News

New Application Helps DLA Track COVID-19 Test Kits for White House

March 11, 2022 | BY Dawn Bonsell , Defense Logistics Agency

The Defense Logistics Agency developed a new dashboard application that provides real-time metrics as it packs and distributes millions of free, at-home COVID-19 tests to American households as part of the White House test kit mission.  

A graphic illustration explaining the test kit mission.
App Explainer
Defense Logistics Agency Distribution developed a mobile phone application for the White House test kit mission to distribute millions of free, at-home COVID-19 tests to the American public. The app, which launched Feb. 8, 2022, allows users access to real-time test kit mission data anywhere.
Photo By: Paul Crank, DLA Public Affairs
VIRIN: 220222-D-YE683-002

DLA Distribution created the application with key performance indicators to monitor milestones and progress with the test kit mission for the teams at DLA Distribution San Joaquin, California, and a DLA Distribution-contracted warehouse in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. 

"With a velocity-focused mission, we had to develop a solution that could move just as quickly," said Steven Forster, a supply management specialist for DLA Distribution who created the application. "Now, everyone can see the same data simultaneously, regardless of whether they're accessing the application on a computer or mobile device." 

Launched Feb. 8, the application receives data from the U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Health and Human Services' Coordination Operation and Response Element, DLA's federal partners in the test kit mission. From that data, the application's geo-mapping capability provides real-time information about inbound and outbound test kit shipments across the nation, including progress toward the total test kit goal, test kit volume received and shipped, truck volume and most importantly, the number of American households receiving test kits. The app displays the data visually which provides a snapshot of current performance metrics and enables data-driven decisions without arduous spreadsheet analysis and number crunching. 

Five people hold a meeting near pallets of COVID-19 test kits.
App Talk
Steven Forster, far right, a supply management specialist for Defense Logistics Agency Distribution, demonstrates the new mobile dashboard application to Brent Ingraham, far left, executive director of the Defense Department’s Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell, and Perry L. Knight, center, deputy commander of DLA Distribution, during a visit in Chambersburg, Pa., Feb. 8, 2022. The app provides real-time metrics for the mission to distribute millions of free, at-home COVID-19 tests to American households.
Photo By: Diana Dawa
VIRIN: 220208-D-VQ057-9883

The application also contains a detailed weather map using National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration web integration and hurricane tracking along with dynamic links to weather in Chambersburg and Tracy, California, plus a live Pennsylvania snowplow tracker, national weather listing and flight tracker. 

The app also includes a chart showing U.S. Postal Service hub deliveries and drive times to those locations. DLA Distribution supervisors use these tools to ensure clear transportation routes for both test kits and warehouse workers. A key component in the app is a clickable button to directly email DLA Distribution's Joint Operations Center, the agency's test kit mission hub, with any immediate concerns or pressing issues.  

A man drives a forklift carrying COVID-19 test kits.
Unloading Ops
Mike Knapp unloads a pallet of COVID-19 tests at Defense Logistics Agency Distribution San Joaquin, Calif., Feb. 14, 2022, where DLA is shipping tests to a U.S. Postal Service hub in Long Beach, Calif., in support of the White House mission to distribute millions of free, at-home COVID-19 tests to American households. DLA Distribution created a mobile application to monitor the test kit mission’s progress towards milestones.
Photo By: Courtesy Photo
VIRIN: 220214-D-D0441-0002

Upon completing the computer app, Forster developed a mobile phone interface allowing users to access real-time data anywhere. All users have the same information, whether accessing it from their phone, tablet or computer.  

The new test kit app is one of many DLA Distribution resources developed to support the agency's goal to modernize its acquisition and supply chain management processes through use of big data and business intelligence tools, while maintaining audit sustainment.