They're In the Army Now

U.S. Army selects Savi for new real-time inventory management at ammunition depots

Sunnyvale, CA — April 17, 2003 — In an announcement from solution provider Savi Technology today, the U.S. Army has selected its Stockpile Inventory List Comparator (SILC) suite to improve the management of all of its ammunition inventory — from bullets to bombs — stockpiled at storage depots throughout the United States. The (SILC) suite integrates Automatic Identification Technologies (AIT) and software applications into the Army's existing Ammunition Inventory Accountability Program.

According to Savi, the SILC is meant to enhance the speed, productivity and accuracy of managing data about ammunition inventories, which are usually stockpiled in remote earthen-covered bunkers, where up to hundreds of pallets and thousands of items are stored. At the largest depot sites, which span 100 square miles, inventory checks ranging from the pallet to item level have been cut from hundreds of hours to about 30 minutes, and annual inventory and reconciliation costs have dropped from about $1.5 million per depot to tens of thousands of dollars.

Savi Technology already has implemented SILC at every major ammunition storage depot in the United States, and the company is preparing for SILC installations with other data management functions at the same depots and for inventory management at overseas depots this summer. Military logistics experts said that SILC is the most significant and sweeping inventory productivity change to military depot operations since the forklift, which created revolutionary efficiencies decades ago because large stockpiles of ammunition could be stacked all at once instead of one-by-one by individuals. Similarly, the SILC solution provides improvements for managing inventory information.

The Army has implemented numerous cost-saving process improvements in the past few years, but the basic problem remained of having to manually count and "check off" quantities via stock, lot and serial numbers against hard-copy printouts from the Army's stockpile (inventory) database system (SDS). This labor-intensive process could take four people several days to complete a single building containing serialized inventory, and was prone to data entry error.

Today, according to Savi, a single technician using the SILC bar code scanner and software can count and reconcile inventory in the same facility in just 10 to 15 minutes. In addition, SILC automatically updates and reconciles each depot's database of inventory with data captured from each physical asset. The updated information on the depot's host computer can then be transmitted over the Internet to a centralized database system.

The Army also had tried other bar code solutions in the past, but they were not integrated into the Army's existing processes and systems. The SILC solution is designed to integrate into the Army's existing processes and systems. In effect, Savi said the software sorts through the "clutter" of accurate inventory information, then finds and identifies mismatches and discrepancies for follow up investigation and reconciliation. Because a single 2D label can hold as much information as 100 or more standard bar code symbols, SILC is able to put all of the pallet's stock numbers, part numbers, lot numbers and serial numbers onto a single label.

Savi said it tested a dozen label types and sizes before settling on the current design — a four-inch square of cross-laminated synthetic material. Because ammunition is usually stored in earth-covered bunkers, it was critical to utilize labels that could remain "scannable" after long-term exposure to temperature and humidity extremes, salt air and sunlight.