The United States Department of Defense has established a Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) with a Marketing Business Unit (MBU) located in Ft. Lee, VA to mange all military commissary stores throughout the world. The MBU operates similarly to all major food store chains with sales over five billion dollars annually. Since the DeCA commissary system is supported by congressional appropriations, U.S. government regulations are applicable.
It is recognized that many manufacturers experience difficulties in doing business with the U.S. Department of Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA). There are unique complexities in dealing with nine military distributors who provide daily delivery services. A great deal of time and effort is spent on unauthorized deductions and resolving payment disputes. A supplier must also keep a personal credit card number on file with DeCA.
The supervision required for this specialized military market, which normally amounts to less than 3% of a manufacturers civilian sales, requires a long term investment and attentiveness to details to all phases of DeCA’s system. However, a manufacturer should seek the military commissary business for its own benefit. The turnover of military personnel and families eventually cycles them into the civilian market with their commissary shopping habits. Therefore, becoming involved with DeCA now will provide for continual future profits.
Commissaries are an integral part of the military’s pay and compensation package. Because of the lower military pay, the commissaries are considered to be very important to maintaining the quality of life and they are consistently surveyed as the number one military benefit.
The American Logistics Association (ALA) helps promote, protect, and enhance these on-pay compensation benefits for the military patron and their families. The ALA is a voluntary trade association of manufacturers, their representatives, brokers, distributors, publishers, and others who sell or provide products and services to military resale and MWR activities. Bisek & Company has been a long time member of the ALA.