Defense Media Network

U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) Business Development Plan

From the development of an initial business strategy to creation of its first full-up business development plan describing the roles and conduct of government business developers, the U.S. Army Materiel Command has set the stage to standardize the process of business development throughout the materiel enterprise.

AMC Ombudsman Jesse Barber, the command’s liaison with industry, has spent the past three years working on this effort, which was in the final stages of the approval process as of March 2015.

“In 2014, we started to see a significant downturn in the revenue being generated by the organic base – our depots and ammo plants – as the war effort was powering down. That created growing concern and the leadership asked for an overall policy because the workforce was still in place and Congress wanted to keep those people employed,” he said. “Civilian businesses lay off employees when they don’t have work, but government prefers to find alternative ways to keep those workers employed so they have the ability to quickly surge should we become engaged in a conflict.”

The biggest benefit is a reduction of risk for industry.

Barber explained that the new plan puts everyone on the same playing field. “AMC will have the depots, arsenals, and ammo plants all doing business development the same way.”

For industry, that means if a company wants to do business with a specific facility, there is only one process to worry about rather than different processes for different facilities with which it may become involved.

The biggest benefit is a reduction of risk for industry.

“The higher the risk, the higher the cost, so if you can reduce that risk, the government can get a greater return on investment for every dollar spent so this is a win-win for everyone. AMC gets a maximum return on invested dollars and contractors don’t have to assume high risk for things that are not well defined because, when everyone is using the same standard, you aren’t faced with a nebulous or fuzzy process,” said Barber.

The impact of the new plan on subcontractors will be largely determined by the unique policies and procedures of the individual primes, but it will provide them with a way to better define what they want their subcontractors to do, he added. It also offers flexibility to commanders, so those at small facilities who cannot afford to staff a full-time business development office can use existing employees in that role on a part-time basis.

Army Materiel Command Ombudsman Jesse Barber. AMC photo

Army Materiel Command Ombudsman Jesse Barber. AMC photo

Another part of the plan calls for creation of a business development “cell” at AMC Headquarters, focused on assisting all command business developers find new or better ways to engage with industry. By adding this cell in the headquarters, the ratio of contacts-to-contracts will be improved.

“We’ve implemented the metrics in our review and just applying those to an existing process gives the chair of a meeting a common view of the organization to determine if some part of it is healthy or in trouble,” Barber said. “For example, in standard business development, you look at the number of leads and wins you have with respect to the number of contacts you’ve made and can come up with a crude metric looking at how many leads came from x-number of contacts and how many of those became opportunities. That can tell the leadership that more contacts need to be made.”

Barber expects the long-term effect to allow better forecasting and projecting of business within the materiel enterprise.

“In the past, it was almost like throwing darts at a dartboard, not knowing where it would hit. With a set of measurable metrics, you can focus resources on where there is a break and fix it. In the past, a savvy commander could hide the fact he had no new work in his pipeline; under this, that pipeline is totally visible to the AMC leadership,” said Barber.

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J.R. Wilson has been a full-time freelance writer, focusing primarily on aerospace, defense and high...