Beyond Goals, Winter 2009
U.S. Air Force Small Business
Combat readiness is essential to a Warfighter’s success. That readiness can take several forms, whether it’s maintaining missile materiel control at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., ensuring the shelves are stocked at the base supply shop at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., or providing ground fuel to units that support the launch and return of the space shuttle at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
For the Warfighters of Air Force Space Command (AFSPC), the answer to maintaining combat readiness comes in the form of a Multi Wing Logistics Support Contract (MWLSC). It’s a tall order to cover nine AFSPC bases with 28 geographical locations, but a Woman- and Minority-Owned Small Business has answered the call.
Headquartered in Ventura, Calif., the mission for Santa Barbara Applied Research, Inc. (SBAR) is to provide worldwide logistics support to the Warfighter, ensuring that resources are available for total combat readiness.
There are a number of advantages to working with small businesses, particularly on a contract with this magnitude, said Addie Alexander, the Procuring Contracting Officer overseeing the contract.
“Awarding to a small business allows for a higher degree of community involvement,” she said. “The company employs individuals from local economies and those employees in turn have an interest in the success of their local communities.”
Ms. Alexander is the focal point for all the administrative contracting officers at the AFSPC wings supported on the contract, the program management office and the contractor. She said management of the contract was more accessible with a small company.
“Small businesses such as SBAR provide the Air Force with innovative approaches. When a contractor implements a new, faster, better or cheaper way to complete a process or function, then that practice can be realized at all the other wings supported by the contractor,” Ms. Alexander said.
James “Robbie” Robinson, the MWLSC Manager for SBAR, agreed, adding that the company’s challenges are usually associated with policy and procedure changes.
“When new policies are being implemented, new processes emerge which require updated procedures and personnel training to adapt to the change. At the same time, we continue to provide a high level of uninterrupted support to the customer and respond to the challenges in a cost-effective manner,” Mr. Robinson said.
SBAR’s solutions are the result of increased productivity and constant training and idea-sharing with all of their company’s site managers and employees. The agility to be able to do this is one of the many benefits of contracting a small business.
“Small business contractors do not have the many levels of management found in large companies,” Mr. Robinson said. “A small business can usually cut through the red tape and make a decision or implement new processes in less time than a large business. In a small business, the owners are more involved in the day-to-day decisions that impact the quality of service delivered to the customer.
“When a change needs to be made, it’s usually based on firsthand knowledge,” he said.
The services that SBAR provides includes, but is not limited to:
- Logistics Support Center operation
- Base supply and Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) services
- Vehicle maintenance and operations
- Cargo movement and screening
- Fuels management
- Refueler vehicle maintenance
- Missile maintenance materiel control
- Support of deployments, exercises and disaster preparedness
- Implementation of a quality control program
SBAR’s performance has been recognized on several occasions, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Small Business Subcontractor of the Year and Prestigious NASA Agency Small Business Subcontractor of the Year for 2008. In 2009, they were awarded the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year Award for AFSPC.
“The 21st Space Wing’s partnership with SBAR helps us to professionally operate our installations,” Ms. Alexander said. “Small businesses are not only vital for the Air Force mission, they strengthen the overall economy of our nation.”