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Military


 DOT&E

Director, Operational Test & Evaluation
  
FY97 Annual Report

FY97 Annual Report

DISTRIBUTION STANDARD SYSTEM (DSS)

DLA ACAT IAM Program
21 systems
Total program cost (TY$) $309M
Average unit cost (TY$) $15M
Life cycle cost (TY$) $1,374M
Full-rate production (IOC) 1QFY95

Prime Contractor
Unisys, Lockheed-Martin, and CSC
Software developed by DoD Central
Design Activities (CDAs)

SYSTEM DESCRIPTION & CONTRIBUTION TO JOINT VISION 2010

DSS is an automated information system that manages all functional business processes of DoD's warehouse operations. These processes include receiving, storage, consolidation, packing, shipping, inventory, inspection, and workload management. The system includes both commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software packages and developed application software. The DSS configuration comprises two major elements, referred to as the upper and lower tiers.

The DSS upper tier operates in an IBM mainframe compatible environment and supports inventory management and workload control functions. It manages the performance of the mainline distribution functions: receipt, stow, pick, pack, and ship. A relational database is maintained to track the quantity and location of depot stock items. Communication is gained through a combination of interfaces, specified transactions, and file transfers.

The DSS lower tier supports an equipment control interface that handles all aspects of material movement through the depot as it is transported by Material Handling Equipment (MHE) systems, and relays movement information back to the upper tier. Many depots do not have automated MHE systems, and thus do not have a lower tier. DSS supports the JV2010 concept of focused logistics by bringing all of the DoD distribution depots under the same joint, automated process, taking advantage of advanced business practices, systems integration, and global networks. By increasing the efficiency of materiel distribution to the fighting forces, it increases responsiveness to contingencies, with less "startup" time between deployment and employment.


BACKGROUND INFORMATION

In 1990, recognizing the inefficiency of maintaining multiple systems to support the material distribution function, DoD directed the selection of a single standard distribution system that would replace seven distribution systems then being used by DLA and the Services. A comprehensive evaluation of the existing DoD systems was undertaken, and an enhanced version of the Army's Area Oriented Depot Modernization (AOD/MOD) system was chosen as the migration system and renamed the DSS.

The DSS acquisition strategy comprises a series of seven enhancements (called "increments") to support several diverse mission and operational environments. The first four increments of DSS were implemented at one operational facility (New Cumberland, PA), where IOT&E was conducted in September 1994 by the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC). The IOT&E did not reveal any major faults.

During 1994 and 1995, DLA deployed the Increment 4 baseline system to six DLA legacy facilities. This was to be followed by deployment to Army legacy facilities, and subsequently to legacy facilities formerly operated by the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. In the meantime, one major issue-training-remained to be evaluated. JITC completed the Training IOT&E in October 1995. The results indicated that the original plan to train a group of users was not going to be successfully implemented. However, DLA changed the plan and conducted intensive training prior to cutover that was adequate to enable depot personnel to operate the new system.

During the training IOT&E, it was learned that the introduction of DSS to the DLA legacy depots was accompanied by a degradation in performance-at least initially. The average number of days required to process requisitions had increased significantly following DSS cutover at some depots. Although the processing times generally returned to previous levels after a few months, the matter was still a concern. FOT&E was planned to ensure that DSS was operationally effective and suitable as soon as possible after cutover. In October 1995, a Milestone III decision granted conditional approval of DSS deployments to the remaining depots. One of the conditions was the completion of a successful operational test at the first Army legacy facility.

In October 1996, DLA began deploying a combination of DSS Increments 5.2 and 7.1 to the Army legacy facilities, beginning with the Defense Distribution Depot, Red River, Texas (DDRT). In September 1996, JITC had prepared a risk assessment to determine the appropriate level of FOT&E for DSS. JITC determined, and DOT&E concurred, that a modified OA (slightly less formal than a full OT&E) conducted at DDRT would be appropriate.


TEST & EVALUATION ACTIVITY

JITC conducted the OA during a two-week period in February and March 1997, in compliance with the DOT&E approved TEMP. The OA focused on DSS training and implementation procedures, and achievement of DLA production thresholds. Prior to the OA, at the request of DOT&E, DLA conducted an analysis to determine whether DSS fully satisfied security requirements. DLA's analysis concluded that there were no security requirements that were not satisfied by the implementation of DSS.

JITC completed its operational evaluation of DSS Increment 5.2/7.1 in April 1977, concluding that the release is operationally effective and suitable. DSS effectively performs the distribution mission, meeting or exceeding its operational performance thresholds. A concerted training effort had been made, and DDRT was able to accomplish its mission with the new system as a result, even though the training did not achieve the high standard (95 percent effectiveness) that had been set. JITC concluded, and DOT&E concurred, that DSS training had been adequate.


TEST & EVALUATION ASSESSMENT

DSS has now been deployed to more than half of the 21 distribution depots for which it is planned, and is performing over 60 percent of the DoD distribution system workload. At least one depot has been setting new production records with DSS. Deployment is proceeding to the Air Force and Navy legacy facilities. These former Service depots must change their business process to adopt DSS. Due to DOT&E concern of deploying DSS into these depots, DSS will remain under the oversight of the Major Automated Information Systems Review Council (MAISRC) for the immediate future. DOT&E will continue to monitor DSS deployment by assessing production data and conducting abbreviated OAs at the legacy facilities until convinced that DSS will be operationally effective and suitable at all locations.


LESSONS LEARNED

Special attention must be given to training when a major new information system is implemented that not only replaces older systems, but also introduces new business processes. The implementation of DSS was also affected by many other factors, such as base closings and reductions in force. Some employees who had never before used a computer were suddenly assigned to new jobs where they were required to use DSS. In forming the training teams, the selection of personnel who fully understood the new system proved to be far more important than the use of "professional trainers." A concerted effort is required that combines such methods as formal classroom instruction, informal assistance, on-the-job training, special site visits, and full user documentation.

Special attention must be given to training when a major new information system is implemented that not only replaces older systems, but also introduces new business processes. The implementation of DSS was also affected by many other factors, such as base closings and reductions in force. Some employees who had never before used a computer were suddenly assigned to new jobs where they were required to use DSS. In forming the training teams, the selection of personnel who fully understood the new system proved to be far more important than the use of "professional trainers." A concerted effort is required that combines such methods as formal classroom instruction, informal assistance, on-the-job training, special site visits, and full user documentation.



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