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The Defense Personnel Support Center provides food, medical supplies, and clothing to the U.S. military. In this program you will see how DPSC has transformed an obsolete procurement and storage system into a business operation that would be the envy of many modern organizations.

You'll learn how the center's employees led the revolution to modernize its antiquated procurement practices by imitating, and, then in some cases, surpassing, the standards of customer service and just-in-time inventory management developed by the private sector. Another innovation for DPSC was to alter its view of its internal customers.  Prior to the changes, the word "customer" was never used and the level of service reflected this attitude.   After the changes, DPSC not only began to call supply officers customers, but the agency actually began to treat them like customers.

DPSC created teams to develop and implement innovations.  These teams benchmarked from existing systems and processes in the public and private sector to create their innovations.   Each new idea was tested in a small area.  The successful ideas were implemented system-wide.


"I don't think that you start off, wake up one Monday morning and say, I'm going to reengineer this entire business practice - I don't think that's how it happens.  I know that didn't happen in my case.  We started off with more realistic pieces of it.

First of all, in our case, you have to deal with the business practices themselves: how are we actually doing our business here and can we do it better? And for us, that meant moving from buying things one at a time to getting into corporate contracts and long-term arrangements and using best value factors which we had never done before.

The second piece has to do with changing relationships - starting with your customers, to bring them in and understand what they need better than we did before.

The third level has to do with jobs and organizations.  When you change how you're doing business and you change how you're relating to your partners, your jobs change.  And the organization has to change to do that.

And lastly, you move to the level of reengineering the culture of the organization.  I think people who haven't been here, say for the the last five, six, or seven years or are coming through the first time, walk around and talk to the people here and feel a sense of excitement and a sense of pride in what they're doing.  I think you'll see what I'm calling entrepreneurs at work.  And I think that 's a radically different environment from the one that I came into, where we had government servants doing their government jobs, in a very kind of... government way."


  • Change is inevitable, important and beneficial.
  • Change needs to be approached as an evolution that is gradual and constant, not as a revolution.
  • Change doesn't happen without support from the top and without a willingness to take risks.
  • Sometimes you have to throw away old assumptions and ways of doing things in order to genuinely improve processes.
  • You have to support people in the process of taking risks.
  • Benchmarking other successful approaches can be helpful in deciding how to change.

This program is part of the award-winning program, "The Excellence Files."

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