Logistics depend on partnership

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The federal government has been a trendsetter in many aspects of electronic

procurement, but the public sector must team with industry to create more

efficient logistics systems, experts said this week at the 21st Century

Commerce International Expo 2000.

"In a nutshell, government and large industry used to grow our own tools,

but the software community has really stepped up to make off-the-shelf solutions

inexpensive," said James Crawford, program manger of federal systems at

Lockheed Martin Corp. and chairman of Expo 2000, held in Albuquerque. "Now,

it's not grow your own.... Government is looking to the commercial workforce

to solve problems."

Steve Kelman, Weatherhead professor of public management at Harvard

University, said that the federal government, especially the Defense Department,

is well ahead of many Fortune 500 companies in e-procurement, but it is

far behind in the area of logistics management.

"There has been some progress within DOD, but it has been excruciatingly

slow, and there's still a long way to go," Kelman said. "There's an enormous

waste of money in excess inventory because the logistics systems are so

inefficient."

Kelman also noted the Army could save $4 billion over 10 years in with

a better system to buy spare parts. But he said progress is being made,

pointing out that business modernization contracts recently awarded by the

Army and the Defense Logistics Agency are designed to create more efficient

inventory systems.

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