DOD takes steps toward paperless procurement

DOD takes steps toward paperless procurement


Special to GCN

OCT. 25'The Defense Department is moving toward 'end-to-end paperless procurement' with the establishment of both an executive steering group and an integrated process team to oversee the change.

Officials revealed the plans at the Association for Enterprise Integration's 21st Century Commerce International Expo 2000 in Albuquerque, N.M., this week. The groups will help pilot the 'To-Be End-to-End Procurement Process Model,' due in place by 2004. The system will provide paperless procurement throughout DOD, said Lt. Col. Paul E. Yandik, director of paperless contracting for the Defense Contract Management Agency.

The moves spring from DOD Reform Initiative Directive No. 47 and have the backing of Defense Secretary William Cohen.

'We're changing the way in which we do business,' Cohen said recently. 'We now are acquiring things electronically. We're moving towards paperless systems.'

The groups will be co-chaired by staffers from DCMA and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Yandik said. The functional areas of the groups will include contracting, program management, payment, financial management, accounting and logistics. The goal 'is to ensure complete community management,' he said.

While the process model, implementation plan and system maps have been completed, and the leadership teams established, Yandik said three things remain to be done:

 Specifying the details of the implementation plan

 Testing the electronic interfaces developed in the model

 Implementing the interfaces throughout the service agencies.

'We've done the easy part. Now comes the hard part of drilling down into the details,' Yandik said.

The new systems would take advantage of everything from the Web to file transfers, electronic data interchange and even e-mail, Yandik said. One challenge is to meld paperless procurement into the standard system that is being created at DOD to replace older contracting systems.

Internet-based transactions could work 'when I have a procurement with multiple people in multiple locations, where I've got a wide-area workflow,' he said.

Transactions could 'be centered at a Web site where the people come and do what they need,' he said.

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