Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Prime Vendor Program
DAU GLOSSARY DEFINITION
The DLA uses the prime vendor model uses commercial practices for material distribution. The prime vendor process starts with a contractual agreement between the government and a commercial vendor. The single vendor (the prime vendor) buys inventory from a variety of suppliers and the inventory is stored in commercial warehouses. The customer orders supplies from the prime vendor, largely through electronic ordering systems. The supplier then ships directly to the customer, as needed, within a specific geographic area. This process reduces delivery time to the customer and, by using the private sector's storage and distribution system, reduces DoD’s inventories and associated warehousing and redistribution costs. This, in turn, reduces the costs borne by the US taxpayer.
The DLA prime vendor model is designed to:
- Use “just-in-time" business practices that shift responsibilities for storing and managing inventory to commercial suppliers
- Shift responsibility for managing items to suppliers through the use of long-term agreements with only a few key suppliers
- Use direct delivery practices that bypass the need for intermediate handling and storage
- Eliminate paperwork and speed-up ordering by using electronic ordering systems and barcoding
DLA Troop Support in Philadelphia, a DLA field activity, is the lead center for managing prime vendor contracts for three major supply chains: subsistence, medical, and construction and equipment. Their website offers in-depth information regarding their efforts on each of these supply chains. In addition, links to DLA customer guides are provided in the "Other Resources" section below.