In an earnest drive to enhance material supportability on the shop floors across the Air Force Sustainment Center, Defense Logistics Agency Aviation and DLA Troop Support are teaming with AFSC to improve already successful bench stock management.
As part of a move to streamline bench stock items, increase accountability and ensure sustainability, the three air logistics complexes have set forth new criteria to be implemented in a Generation III Industrial Product-Support Vendor contract. The move will also replace current open bins with automated vending machines called AutoCribs, to help control material issuance, accountability and enhanced demand planning.
Due to the new AFSC Bench Stock Criteria, there will be a reduction of materials, or national stock numbers, on the contract, resulting in the downsizing of 80,000 NSNs to 45,000 NSNs — a nearly 40 percent reduction.
These reductions support AFSC’s plan to return to the true definition of bench stock and ensure financial stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Currently, there are 860 bench stock locations in 121 buildings throughout the ALCs, for a total of 211,000 bins.
While there are reductions of items on the Generation III contract, there will not be any loss of supportability for the maintainers that need the material to make airpower.
“DLA is committed to ensuring support of all NSNs, regardless of the means by which they are sourced,” said Col. Rod Bloker, DLA Aviation at Warner Robins commander.
In addition to the new contract, AFSC is also taking advantage of technology by rolling out new AutoCrib machines. Two of these machines are currently in use here, in the C-130 Ramp Shop and C-5 Ramp Shop.
The next location slated for several AutoCribs will be the building where F-15 programmed depot maintenance occurs. The number of AutoCrib machines in use will increase over the five-year base period of the contract.
To use the new Common Access Card-enabled automated machines — which contain nuts, bolts, rivets and washers — you can easily search for material based on item information and a photo is shown on a computer screen. Once a part is selected, within seconds the machine automatically moves the item needed into position and a small door slides open, corresponding to that part number, and a bin is removed.
Each machine can hold 500, 1,000 or 2,000 items depending on the AutoCrib model.
An added benefit is the use of a scale which can weigh the amount of material left over, showing on screen the number of items that were removed.
“This system will give better control and accountability of what we have and what we’re using,” said Chris Arnold, Warner Robins ALC Business Office maintenance analyst. “It will also drive demand data whereas before we really didn’t have that. It will secure material so we have better control of how items are checked out, and at the end of the day will also help drive quality.”
AutoCrib software keeps track of inventory and a history of what users have checked out, and as it nears empty, it will give notice to the contractor that a particular item needs to be refilled.
The new way of doing things will affect how mechanics check out parts, indicating a shift in culture.
Currently, the open bin system allows you to open a tip-out bin, grab what you need, then put back what isn’t used. With the new machines, there’s also potential for the creation of direct line accounting, a level of fidelity never before seen when it comes to bench stock.
The Generation III contract is a 10-year Performance-Based Logistics contract with incentives and disincentives, in order to better conserve taxpayer money, enhance maintenance support and increase contract accountability.
“DLA will award a contract that ensures all Air Force requirements are met,” said Joseph Jinks, DLA Aviation at Warner Robins IPV & Priority Cell Branch chief.
Ultimately, the Generation III contract will better support production by grading the contractor on a 99.5 percent first pass acceptance rate for maintenance professionals on the floor. That means when a part is needed, 99.5 percent of the time it will be available for use. When it’s not, a financial penalty will be levied to the contract provider.
The former Generation II contract was originally awarded in 2006. As transition to the new contract occurs over the next year.