Notes from the Road (We’re Back, Baby!)

Notes from the Road (We’re Back, Baby!)

Like most people, I haven’t been traveling much since early 2020, but over these past couple of years of pandemic-imposed video calls, I’ve become amazed at how quickly and naturally we’ve formed trusting relationships with people we’ve never met in real life (IRL).

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video call must be worth a thousand phone calls. It’s so easy to set up virtual face-to-face discussions, and I’ve found that relationships develop much faster now than they did previously in a world of airport layovers and phone calls. And work moves faster, too.

This was my mindset when I boarded a plane to attend this year’s Parts and Material Management Conference PMMC, yet I still found myself growing excited at the prospect of reconnecting IRL with DMSMS community friends and colleagues—ones I met both before and after the lockdown. The conference did not disappoint!

Apart from the great content shared by scores of passionate individuals, it’s the impromptu interactions that stand out most in my memory. Beginning with the first evening, when the exhibit hall opened and beverages started flowing, I really enjoyed catching up with people IRL and hearing about developments in their personal and professional lives.

Of course, discussions often focused on challenges of obsolescence, and I was especially inspired by people’s persistency and successes in the face of a global pandemic.

From publishing the DoDI 4245.15, which laid out clear directions for programs to set up a sustainment capability, to providing supplemental improvements to the existing SD-22 guide for program managers, I’m amazed at how the DoD DMSMS community has relentlessly pushed forward by adopting proactive DMSMS best practices.

The conference ended on a high note at the town hall meeting, where the conference leaders hosted an informal and energetic discussion about direction for the coming year. It’s hard to imagine replicating such a quality collaboration among so many people on a video call.

Although online collaboration tools have assumed their rightful place in helping people work efficiently together, I’m looking forward to more opportunities involving the X factor that makes face-to-face meetings so special.

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