In Defense of e-Logistics

Indus solution to track British defense assets

WOKING, England  BUSINESS WIRE  February 6, 2001  Perhaps nowhere is visibility into one's assets more mission-critical than in the military, where lives, battlefield outcomes and the fate of nations depend on getting the right spare parts to the right location at the right time. This is all the more true in the Digital Age, when power rests in one's ability to manage information.

Looking to supercharge its logistics operations with a dose of e-business adrenalin, the British Ministry of Defense (MoD) has turned to an enterprise asset management (EAM) solution as part of a major initiative to consolidate and rationalize spare-parts inventory across all three of the services under its command.

The ministry will implement the EAM software, Indus International's PassPort application, within the Defense Logistics Organization, which the MoD established in 1999 to develop a unified logistics organization to support the British defense community.

"The DLO's goal is to control and manage a single defense inventory for all armed forces, reducing costs, and improving the quality of the services we provide to the frontline," said General Sir Sam Cowan, chief of defense logistics. "This will only be achieved by establishing effective partnerships with industry that allow us to harness the power of IT [information technology] and the potential of e-business."

San Francisco, Calif.-based Indus' PassPort application will become the central software platform for the Defense Stores Management Solution (DSMS) and Delivering the Requirement for Unit Materiel Management (DRUMM) projects. Implementation of PassPort will help the MoD reduce both the volume and value of its stock holdings. The establishment of a single defense inventory, coupled with on-line information sharing with suppliers, is expected to result in a substantial reduction in inventory carrying costs.

DSMS is DLO's new approach to logistics management. It will provide a single, common-inventory business solution for all three services (Army, Navy and Air Force). DLO expects that the enhanced visibility of stock across the defense environment will strengthen the MoD's ability to forecast and to make "repair or purchase" decisions. DSMS will provide vital support to the DLO's plan to integrate process and capacity across the armed services in order to remove overlap and duplication.

The DRUMM project will develop functionality that will deliver a unit-level materiel-management capability for the army, providing visibility to the chain of command and DLO. DRUMM will provide critical online logistical support in battlefield conditions for the first time, increasing military capability in peace and war.

The two defense projects will be implemented in stages, and initial approved development work by Indus up to October 2001 is expected to cost approximately 20 million pounds (about $29 million). The PassPort solution will be implemented in stages over a five-year period at 58 locations across the globe. When fully operational, it is anticipated that there will be more than 30,000 active users, making this the largest installation of its kind in Europe. As part of the implementation, PassPort will be integrated with the DLO's existing financial and operational software to provide a dynamic IS infrastructure.

The selection of Indus by the DLO is the culmination of an exhaustive evaluation by the DLO of the PassPort application over successive stages, beginning in April 2000. The evaluation included running model-offices at Boscombe Down and Blandford to test PassPort's fitness for the DLO's purpose and to ensure that the application would meet the MoD's stringent security requirements. The PassPort application was developed by Indus International to support complex supply chain and engineering environments. In addition to the supply chain functionality to be used by DSMS and DRUMM, PassPort offers a full-range of maintenance-repair-overhaul, purchasing and contract-management functions.

The DLO's 4.6 billion pound ($6.7 billion) budget represents 20 percent of the total British defense budget, and the organization employs 43,000 people. It is headquartered at Ensleigh near Bath.