Contracting Excellence via Continuous Process Improvement
Defense Logistics Agency Fort Belvoir United States
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Process improvements to streamline contracting processes are often not undertaken because of the misconception that federal and agency-specific acquisition regulations are impediments. That misconception results from a desire to maintain acquisition integrity through the application of sometimes stringent standards and detailed processes, even when regulations and directives provide guidance to foster process flexibility. In contrast to the intent of regulatory flexibility, acquisition specialists and agencies often take extensive steps to ensure they are in compliance with regulations by developing elaborate processes, which often lead to long lead times in awarding contracts and diminished customer support. A primary complaint of customers who rely on contracting activities for support when materiel is not readily available is that logistics response times are too long as a result of lengthy contracting lead times. Contracting processes can be streamlined and made more efficient through the application of continuous process improvement CPI techniques. Those techniques can not only improve customer support through reduced lead-times but also assist in improving regulatory compliance by focusing on critical contracting processes. Althoughcontracting processes may vary by the dollar value of acquisitions and the types of requirements being supported, CPI offers a strategy for applying improvements across the full spectrum of contracting.