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DSCM Teams are following the AFSC Way

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Air logistics complex depot operations are as complex as they've ever been.

To help deal with this complexity and achieve cost-effective readiness, the Air Force Sustainment Center commander and staff have developed the AFSC Way. The Depot Supply Chain Management Teams serving at each depot location are following the AFSC Way daily as they work to improve parts availability for the mechanics on the shop floor.
DSCM Teams are cross-functional groups composed of members from Air Force Supply Chain Management, Defense Logistics Agency Aviation and ALC Planners. The intent is to bring together a nucleus of critical subject matter experts with reach-back capability to other areas of functional expertise.

This group is tasked to help solve parts supportability problems adversely affecting depot production. Each month, these experts review the status of parts required for shop floor production over operational and strategic time-frames, up to two years in the future. Where they find non-supportable parts (future constraints), they engage the appropriate agencies, processes, and production machines to help generate solutions or mitigation plans. By identifying the constraints as early as possible, they maximize the chance to remove the constraint before it pulls production operations off the critical path.

The first DSCM Teams were established in 2009, so the function is still relatively new. Despite that, the teams have moved quickly to develop processes and products to properly support their stakeholders. While they have achieved significant progress in a few years, there is still much to be done.

Though most of their critical processes are developed and well understood, their tools are less mature. The DSCM Analysis Tool is a key information system that gathers input from several legacy data systems to provide parts supportability assessments at both the end-item and piece-part level. This tool has been, and remains, under development. It provides very basic functionality today, but promises much greater potential in the near future.

Pat Doumit, deputy director of the 748th Supply Chain Management Group and DSCM Champion for the 448th Supply Chain Management Wing, predicts a bright future for DSCM operations.

"The DSCM Teams at each ALC have become an essential element in our depot supportability efforts. We've got the right people working on the right problems and we're beginning to see positive results," he said. "These teams create significant value for their customers and stakeholders, and I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of their impact to our depot production, both for aircraft and commodity lines. Over the next few years as our information tools and new initiatives mature, I expect to see a quantum leap forward in their contributions to depot operations."

One of the key stakeholders of the DSCM Teams is 552nd Commodities Maintenance Squadron Director Jason Reed, who shares Mr. Doumit's view of the importance of the DSCM effort.

"The enterprise integration of all partners is the most critical piece to achieve the "art of the possible," Mr. Reed said. "In order for the depot operation to achieve the maximum effectiveness, the enterprise must focus on...eliminating interruptions in the flow of the machine that will significantly reduce flow days, increase inventory turns, and ultimately result in savings."

Eliminating those interruptions is the primary focus of the DSCM effort.

DSCM Teams are a critical part of the depot support effort. By looking far into the future to spot critical parts constraints, they move supportability efforts from a "fire-fighting" mode to "fire prevention" -- which is a more cost-effective way to operate. If they find problems, they take action where possible to help remove the constraint. Where direct action is not within their purview, they coordinate, collaborate, and communicate with those who can take action to leverage all available depot resources in order to ensure our production efforts stay on the critical path. This approach is at the heart of the AFSC Way.