GAO recommends DLA sharpen customer service

To better address shortcomings in its mission of delivering supplies, the Defense Logistics Agency should strengthen avenues of customer feedback, according to a General Accounting Office Report released Sept. 9.

The report noted several failings in the DLA's delivery of parts to military units, and it recommended ways to minimize these shortcomings through a more comprehensive plan of customer service. The report is titled, "Defense Logistics: Improving Customer Feedback Could Enhance DLA's Delivery of Services Accountability Integrity Reliability."

In particular, the report noted that DLA lacked an integrated method of obtaining feedback on customer satisfaction and fails to provide its users with a single point of contact.

The study had found that while customers felt the DLA does an adequate job delivering routine items, the agency also failed to provide timely status on mission-critical replacement parts, often causing equipment to be offline for unnecessarily long periods of time.

Although the agency is beginning an initiative to improve customer support, it still can adopt best practices from the corporate sector, the report said. Such practices include a centralized method of gathering complaint data and performing benchmark surveys to gather perceptions of performance.

The study was prepared for the Senate Committee on Armed Services and the House Committee on Armed Services under the mandate of the Floyd D. Spence Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001. It looked at eight military service customer locations in the United States. The study examined how the military branches perceived the quality of service they receive from DLA and how the DLA collected customer feedback.

DLA acts as a supplier of almost all consumable items to America's military forces. It oversees approximately 4 million supply items and processes more than 23 million requisitions annually.

The report may be accessed online:

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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