DLA goes live with supply chain system

"This is a pretty significant event," DLA's David Falvey says.

Henrik G. DeGyor

Three Defense Logistics Agency locations are using the first release of the agency's $500 million Business Systems Modernization program to manage 170,000 items for customers.

DLA late last month received the green light from the Office of the Secretary of Defense to proceed with Release 1 of BSM.

On July 31, the agency began using commercial software to manage specific sets of logistics services at DLA facilities in Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia; and Richmond, Va.

The system is expected to cut costs, eliminate mistakes and reduce the time it takes to fill orders.

"This is a pretty significant event for DLA," said David Falvey, program executive officer at the agency. "BSM is more than an IT project; it's really about transferring our business processes the commercial way. It's really key to our transformation to make us as agile as possible in supporting our customers."

Falvey said nearly 500 employees are using the system for a wide range of product lines that DLA manages. In Columbus, the system is handling equipment for military land vehicles such as Humvees. In Philadelphia, users are managing clothing, textile, food and medical items. And in Richmond, BSM is now in use for aviation spare parts.

From the time an order is received and processed to procurement and financial management, BSM is designed to reduce the turnaround and cut IT costs, Falvey said.

In August 2000, DLA awarded the five-year systems integration contract for the BSM project to Accenture LLP of Chicago. DLA is using enterprise resource planning software from SAP America Inc. of Newtown Square, Pa., advanced planning and scheduling software from Manugistics Group Inc. of Rockville, Md., and Procurement Desktop Defense applications from American Management Systems Inc. of Fairfax, Va.

Cobol is out
Through the modernization, DLA is replacing two-1960s era Cobol mainframe systems that blocked compliance with Joint Vision 2020, a Defense Department plan that requires it to use the Web to handle transactions. Falvey said the old systems would be incrementally phased out, with the shutdown slated for 2005.

DLA wanted a system that would let clerks throughout the department make supply queries online, place orders, improve delivery time and give commanders immediate access to stock information.

Late next year, DLA plans its next big incremental rollout of BSM. It will add 1,000 users and 1 million items.

With the first release of BSM, DLA overcomes a major hurdle. The General Accounting Office last year criticized the agency for failing to first create an enterprise architecture, violating Defense policy.

Falvey said DLA addressed the concerns brought up in the GAO report.

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