The U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the world's largest distribution operation, is creating agile, portable distribution centers that will support military operations in remote locations.
In a speech at the NA 2010 Supply Chain Summit program, Brig. Gen. Peter Tallieri, Commander of the Defense Distribution Center, described these defense distribution expediting depots as modularized, deployable distribution capability that will support rapid military response worldwide. The first will be established in Afghanistan soon, he said. A team of supply chain analysts will deploy with the depot; their job will be to provide a fresh view of the local situation and help adapt distribution to rapidly changing conditions.
This kind of flexibility and rapid deployment is critical for providing supplies to warfighters in unpredictable environments, Tallieri said. It's a challenge for DLA to be agile, in part because of its size. In an average year, it commands $97.5 billion in inventory, handles 3.25 million line items, manages 52 million square feet of covered storage, and tackles 22.6 million shipment receipts around the world. Despite its complexity, military logistics and distribution is more efficient and cost-effective than ever before, he said. Compared to the 1990s, we're doing it better today with a lot fewer people in a lot less space, Tallieri said.