DOD inches toward paperless procurement

DOD inches toward paperless procurement

DOD's changing its business practices, Secretary William Cohen says.

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.'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 last month at the Association for Enterprise Integration's 21st Century Commerce International Expo 2000. The groups will help pilot the To-Be End-to-End Procurement Process Model. DOD wants to have the model in use by 2004.

The goal is paperless procurement throughout the department, said Lt. Col. Paul E. Yandik, director of paperless contracting for the Defense Contract Management Agency.

The plan, which springs from DOD Reform Initiative Directive No. 47, has 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 toward paperless systems.'

The groups will be co-chaired by representatives 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 model must 'ensure complete community management,' Yandik said.

Although the process model, implementation plan and system maps are done and the leadership teams established, Yandik said three things remain unfinished:

•'Specifying the details of the implementation plan

•'Testing the electronic interfaces developed for the model

•'Implementing the interfaces throughout the services and DOD agencies.

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

The new approach will 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 standardized systems that are being deployed throughout DOD to replace older contracting systems.

The focus is on IP technology, Yandik said. Internet transactions would 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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