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DFAS Service Day.

Over 400 people attended DFAS Service Day at the American Society of Military Comptrollers' Professional Development Institute (PDI) on May29 in Denver, Colorado. Attendees learned about the state of DFAS and where the agency is headed, listened to a panel consisting of the business line and corporate elements directors, and heard examples of customer success stories.

Keynote speaker and DFAS Director Thomas R. Bloom kicked off the morning session by recalling that this was his fourth PDI and proudly spoke about how far the agency has come. He highlighted many of the agency accomplishments and focused on reduced costs to customers. He pointed out that costs billed to customers in fiscal year (FY) 2002 would be reduced by $143 million from those of FY 2001--a significant amount for our customers.

Discussing the agency's strategy, Mr. Bloom stressed that a strategic plan must be a living document, and its implementation is a continual process that is everybody's job. That means the strategy must be translated to understandable, organizational terms.

Where DFAS people fit and what tactical measures the organization must take to achieve its strategy will be measured by the DFAS Balanced Scorecard (BSC). The BSC methodology, developed by leading industry experts, aligns the agency vision with the goals in the BSC and provides a vehicle to measure progress toward achieving those goals. Mr. Bloom noted that the BSC cascades from top corporate goals down through business lines to product line sites so that all personnel know their roles and how they fit in within the organization.

Mr. Bloom talked about the agency's strategic direction. He emphatically stated that DFAS customers require the best service at the best value. To do this, DFAS needs to reengineer processes and deploy modern systems. He stated that the agency must right-size overhead and infrastructure, bringing overhead down from the current level of 16 percent to the private-sector standard of 10 to 12 percent. "We must recruit and retain a highly motivated workforce; optimize the mix of military, civilians, and contractors; and embrace continuous learning," Bloom explained. He also stated that DFAS "must be metrics-driven, benchmarking our operations and competing functions."

In looking at the DFAS BSC objectives, Mr. Bloom cited some facts. "We've had 1,326 client executive contacts with customers and, as a result, tailored business solutions to meet customer needs. In finance, the agency is on target for the 2002 cost execution goal," he said.

Also, he saw the second unqualified opinion from the DFAS audit and a steady improvement of Organizational Assessment Survey results as indicators that the agency is on target to meet the BSC objectives for this year.

Another accomplishment this year that Mr. Bloom cited was the creation of the Board of Advisors. The board comprises senior-level Department of Defense (DoD) members and private-industry executives. Dr. Dov Zakheim, the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), presides over the board. Mr. Bloom said DFAS benefits from this forum in two ways: Its customers have the opportunity to share their concerns and offer observations to improve DFAS efficiency and value to them, and DFAS can learn from private-sector executives. Mr. Bloom reported that the board endorsed the DFAS plan to look at its business and product lines in segments to explore changes that would achieve the greatest value for the Department.

During the afternoon session, DFAS Deputy Director Rear Admiral Mark A. Young led a panel discussion by business-line executives and other agency leaders. He also spoke about the great progress DFAS has achieved over the past year in promoting customer partnerships and improving customer service.

He recounted several examples. In the Accounting Services business line, the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Financial Information System provides SOCOM leadership with a complete financial picture in 2 days and has had a positive impact during the war on terrorism. For Army leadership, a Digital Dashboard was developed that displays important financial information at a glance.

The Accounting business line has also begun placing mission support accountants with major Air Force commands to increase the level of customer support that DFAS provides to the warfighters. And RADM Young cited the Navy Facilities Command STARS conversion as an example of how DFAS must partner with its customers to ensure success.

In the Military and Civilian Pay Services business line, RADM Young spoke about the continued enhancements being made to the Employee/Member Self Service (E/MSS) program. He stated that further cost savings could be achieved if all military and DoD civilians would turn off their paper Leave and Earnings Statements and receive them electronically via E/MSS. Improvements to travel pay services include advice of payment notification, travel settlement tracking via E/MSS, and increased customer satisfaction.

The Defense Military Pay Office (DMO) software suite allows Army and some Navy finance offices to access vital payroll data without using cumbersome and dated Disk Operating System (DOS) computer language. RADM Young went on to speak about the Retired and Annuitant Pay conversion to a contractor, stating that it was a "big success" for our customers and employees. The checks have continued to keep rolling, and DFAS was able to provide a soft landing for nearly all of the affected employees.

RADM Young also noted successes from the Commercial Pay Services business line, including the significant reduction in "over-aged" invoices. He spoke about the advantages of the Web Invoicing System, which allows small businesses to participate in electronic commerce without having to make disproportionate capital investments. Initiatives such as FAXBACK and Electronic Document Management bring DFAS closer to achieving the agency's electronic commerce goals. He also applauded the Columbus Customer Service Office for providing a one-stop location for customers' questions.

RADM Young highlighted several projects that will roll our in the near future. He has great expectations for the success of the DFAS Enterprise Portal, e-Biz, and the Deployable Disbursing System. Civilian Pay is currently aligning the Services' civilian pay with a specific DFAS location, making it easier for customers to locate their pay site.

He concluded by emphasizing our need to "obsess on customer service. Find out what customers need and what to do to improve our services." This way, we will reinforce our commitment to being "Your Financial Partner @ Work."

DFAS Service Day gave both customers and personnel of the agency an opportunity to look back at the accomplishments of the past year and to look ahead to more customer service achievements in the future.
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Title Annotation:Defense Financing and Accounting Service agency
Publication:Armed Forces Comptroller
Geographic Code:1U8CO
Date:Jun 22, 2002
Previous Article:Coast Guard Service Day.
Next Article:John R. Quetsch memorial lecture. (Workshop Report).

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