Army LOGMOD begins testing

'We're giving them a good view of the inventory from a global perspective,' said Larry Asch of the LOGMOD office. 'It's really going to make some significant improvements to the way we do business.'

ERP system to give logistics and acquisition workers real-time tracking of orders, assets

Next month, 50 Army logistics managers will test the Wholesale Logistics Modernization Program, an enterprise resource planning system that culls data from two 30-year-old legacy mainframes.

Officials hope the operational test, at the Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania, will iron out last-minute glitches.

The test will be a major step in the transition from two Army legacy programs, the Commodity Command Standard System and the Standard Depot System, which are coded in Cobol and use batch processing and flat data files.

LOGMOD will shorten the logistics cycle from ordering to delivery by letting workers track orders and assets around the world in real time, Army officials said.

Item managers rely mainly on their own intuition when a request pops up on the screen, said Larry Asch, chief of operations and business for the Army LOGMOD Program Office at Fort Monmouth, N.J.

For instance, if a radio comes back from the field and is not working, an item manager has to determine whether it needs to be repaired or replaced. LOGMOD will put the best information to make that decision at the item manager's fingertips, Asch said, including budget information, a view of the weapons system inventory and logistical data.

'We're giving them a good view of the inventory from a global perspective,' Asch said. 'It's really going to make some significant improvements to the way we do business.'

The first full deployment of LOGMOD will be in February 2003 at the Communications'Electronics Command at Fort Monmouth, N.J. Four other commands within the Army Materiel Command'the Tank Automotive and Armaments, Aviation and Missile, Soldier Biological and Chemical, and Operations Support commands'will deploy the system later next year, Asch said.

Tracking inventories

The Materiel Command is responsible for providing technology, logistics services and acquisition support to armed forces. It relies heavily on information systems to keep track of parts in inventories.

With LOGMOD, the Army hopes to employ the best practices that successful businesses have used in improving their efficiency with enterprise resource planning systems.

Computer Sciences Corp. is currently conducting systems integration as part of its 10-year contract for LOGMOD. The new system will run R3 and MySAP software from SAP America Inc. of Newtown Square, Pa., said Chris Colen, program manager and a vice president at CSC.

The new system will have a Web interface to access 22 SAP modules, officials said. The conversion will give the Army a single source of logistics data across the Materiel Command.
The two legacy systems will be phased out by December 2003 as LOGMOD comes online. The LOGMOD contract will run out in 2009, and the Army will have the option to extend it.

CSC has taken over software support operations at the Industrial Logistics Systems Center in Chambersburg, Pa., and the Logistics Systems Support Center in St. Louis.

The company has retained 95 percent of the software employees who managed the 22 million lines of code used by the old systems. Colen said user satisfaction has increased since CSC took over the centers.

'The transition has gone very well,' he said. 'Our metrics show that their performance is improving. User satisfaction, for example, is up as the transitioned employees apply CSC methodologies to maintain the legacy systems.'

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