Navy FMS eBusiness.
The Naval Inventory Control Point, Philadelphia, International Programs Department entered the electronic commerce age with the unveiling of its eBusiness Suite of applications. These applications are intended to allow the foreign customer direct access to various FMS related databases as well as electronic submission of business requests. Included in the eBusiness Suite are on-line requisitioning, supply discrepancy reports (SDRs), quality deficiency reports (QDRs), FMS Initial Support Tracking (FIST), SDR Status Center, as well as access to excess defense articles, and the Management Information System for International Logistics (MISIL) Information Warehouse. The eBusiness Suite was designed for ease of use by the FMS customer, and includes security features that ensure country access is restricted by user ID and password to authorized users. The suite of applications include submission forms, status centers, and powerful databases with full ad hoc query capabilities that are described below.
An on-line requisition system (Figure 1) was developed to allow the FMS customer to enter requests for all types of requisitions: stock numbered, part numbered, and publications. Only authorized customers, with valid user IDs and passwords, are allowed access and the system will only allow submission for the authorized country. The system defaults fields such as fund code and signal code to reduce the amount of data entry required by the customer. Drop down boxes are provided for unit of issue, document identifier, demand code, and priority to ensure correct data. To ensure that correct and necessary data is entered, validation of fields was added. Should the customer enter a document identifier of A0l, the form will not accept remarks data and an error message will be displayed. Upon submission, an e-mail is sent to the user to confirm receipt. An on-line help page was incorporated listing each field, its use, and proper entries. A batch upload feature will be added as a future enhancement.
Supply Discrepancy Reports
This was the first eBusiness application developed for the web. This form (Figure 2) allows electronic submission of SDRs to a central Oracle database. This submission database works in conjunction with the SDR database to reduce manual entry of data and ensure validation of entries. The system reduces keystrokes and errors on the part of SDR personnel and significantly speeds entry into the system. The form has drop down boxes for most common entries such as discrepancy codes, and action codes, as well as validation rules to ensure mandatory fields are entered. When the next button is chosen, the data is displayed as it will be submitted. The FMS customer then has the option to submit, edit, or cancel. Should the customer find an error, she/he can choose edit and the original form will be displayed for correction. Once submitted, an e-mail will be sent to the customer confirming receipt. A help page is available to guide the customer through each field.
SDR Status Center
The most recent application (as of this writing) to become part of the eBusiness Suite is the SDR Status Center (Figure 3). This application allows the FMS customer to view the status of individual SDRs as well as the action command. The customer enters the SDR number to retrieve the current status of the SDR with all pertinent information. Future enhancements to this system are anticipated to include complete SDR histories (by progression code and date) and on-line SDR reports.
Quality Deficiency Reports
At the direction of the NAVAIR/NAVSUP International Logistics Enterprise Team (ILET), a QDR form, see Figures 4 and 5, was developed to improve and supplement the SDR process. Numerous FMS customers requested that QDRs be incorporated into the SDR system to ensure that all necessary information was available to make an appropriate decision. The QDR form was developed by combining the SDR (SF 364) and QDR (SF 368) forms into one form. This has the benefit of the EMS customer submitting one form, while the system prints two forms, thus reducing data entry. Only fields from the QDR form that are applicable to the FMS customer were selected for display on the form to avoid confusion and reduce mistakes. The QDR was also redesigned into logical sections so that all related information was grouped together. Mandatory fields are identified with an arrow and repetitive information (name, address) is defaulted into the form. A help screen was incorporated to guide the user through the fields. Once the QDR is completed , the information is written to the SDR Oracle database and processed into MISIL. The printed QDR serves as an attachment to the SDR. These are then submitted to NAVICP Mechanicsburg for entry into the domestic QDR system. This ensures that the FMS SDR/QDR is not treated as a one-time problem but rather, as a potential system problem. This processing ensures that potential systemic problems are identified and appropriate action taken, both for the FMS customer, and in the U.S. system. An adjunct system to ensure full visibility for the FMS customer of discrepant items was developed and displays discrepant material summaries by month.
FMS Initial Support Tracker (FIST)
The NAVAIR/NAVSUP International Logistics Enterprise Team developed the FIST tracking system to track spares, publications, and support equipment from identification to initial operating capability (IOC). This application is in two parts. The main application is included in the Information Warehouse suite of applications, while the add and update system is contained in the eBusiness Suite. Queries, presentation of data, and reports are available in the Information Warehouse application, segregated by country and case. This allows FMS customers, program managers (PMs), and assistant program managers for logistics (APMLs) full visibility of their programs and status. The eBusiness Suite application (Figures 6 and 7) allows logistics element managers and APMLs to update existing data and enter new items to the system.
Excess Defense Articles
This database allows the FMS customer to browse through items excess to Inventory Control Point system stocks that are being made available to the FMS customer. The customer can browse by surface or aircraft systems and can narrow searches by Navy material congizance symbol, allowance part list (APL), aircraft type, and other categories. The system includes the normal stock number, quantities available, original and reduced prices, units of issue, and nomenclature.
The MISIL Information Warehouse is a powerful internet database application that allows the FMS customer full access to requisition and financial information. The user can define ad hoc queries to return a broad range of data, or selected specific data. Predefined or custom reports are available as well as a download capability that allows the user the ability to import data to other applications. Information available includes requisition, financial, case, SDRs, and FIST.
The NAVICP eBusiness Suite is accessed through the Naval Inventory Control Point web site (Figure 8) at http://www.navicp.navy.mil, selecting International, and then the International Programs eBusiness Suite icon. Requests for access may be made by filling out the online request form at the bottom of the opening page frame.
eBusiness development is a new and exciting field providing the FMS customer unprecedented visibility and access to their programs. The Department of Defense Chief Information Officer has stated that all programs, from inception to completion, will be electronic within ten years. EMS eBusiness is expected to expand in the years ahead to comply with a true paperless environment while providing improved customer service and viability of the FMS system. The future of eBusiness will be in business to business (B2B) applications to streamline processes and reduce costs for the U.S. system and for the FMS customer. FMS customers will need to ensure a technological capability that allows them to take full advantage of these processes.
About the Author
Ken Kittredge has extensive FMS experience in both the Army and Navy and retired from the Navy in 1996. He currently works for the Information Network Systems supporting U.S. Navy FMS Logistics requirements. He graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University in 1976.