As the Army business system that is intended to replace the aging Army systems that manage inventory and depot repair operations, the Logistics Modernization Program (LMP) traces its origins back to February 1998, when U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) initially began an effort to replace its existing materiel management system – the Commodity Command Standard System and the Standard Depot System – with LMP. The Army has used these existing systems for over 30 years to manage inventory and depot maintenance operations. LMP is intended to transform the Army’s logistics operations in six core processes: order fulfillment, demand and supply planning, procurement, asset management, materiel maintenance, and financial management.
If effectively implemented, LMP is expected to provide the Army benefits associated with commercial best practices such as inventory reduction, improved repair cycle time, and increased response time. Additionally, LMP is intended to improve supply and demand forecast planning and maintenance workload planning and to provide a single source of data for decision-making.
As described in program descriptions from prime contractor Computer Sciences Corporation, LMP supports U.S. troops through “collaboration between the government, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and SAP to take full advantage of supply chain innovations used in the private sector.”
“LMP leverages SAP’s industry-leading ERP [enterprise resource planning] technology to address all business practices associated with moving goods from factory to foxhole,” it reads. “LMP fully supports sourcing and acquisition, production scheduling, order processing, inventory management, transportation, warehousing and customer service. Today, U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and other occupied hotspots around the world reap the benefit of this technology. As the linchpin of DoD’s Single Army Logistics Enterprise (SALE) program, LMP makes it possible for logistics systems to interact with acquisition and financial systems. This allows Soldiers to get needed supplies faster, while also equipping DoD leaders and Army commanders with the real-time visibility into inventory, requisition and distribution checkpoints.”
It adds, “As prime contractor for this effort, CSC has led one of the first ERP projects in the U.S. Department of Defense. LMP also is the first U.S. government outsourcing of the entire modernization and operation of a major IT system. This pioneering effort has forged a unified team of CSC and Army staff working seamlessly to streamline the connection from the factory to foxhole.”
When LMP is fully implemented, it is expected to include approximately 21,000 users at 104 locations across the globe, and it will be used to manage more than $40 billion worth of goods and services, such as inventory managed at the national level and repairs at depot facilities.
LMP became operational at the Army Communications-Electronics Command and Tobyhanna Army Depot in July 2003. Although the system was originally expected to be fully deployed by fiscal year 2005, lessons learned at those “First Deployment” (“D1”) sites reportedly prompted an extended sequence of deployment plans.
The second deployment (“D2”) took place on May 14, 2009, when LMP deployed the
modernized logistics and finance LMP solution to 4,959 additional users at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command (AMCOM), Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD), and Letterkenny Army Depot (LEAD) as well as 1,119 users at the AMC National Maintenance Program activities across the globe.
Less than six months later, on Nov. 4, 2009, the Army Materiel Command commanding general sanctioned AMC’s acceptance of LMP’s second deployment, with Team LMP crediting the milestone to the successful execution of a detailed Post Go-Live Support Plan and meeting user-defined acceptance criteria.
As these pages go to press, the third and final deployment (“D3”) of LMP is expected to occur in October 2010 at the Army Sustainment Command, the Joint Munitions and Lethality Command, TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, and Anniston and Red River Army depots.
According to Artro Whitman, director for materiel supply chain management and LMP integrator for AMCOM, the program has delivered multiple benefits to the “D2” site locations through its ability to provide everyone with “the same view.”
“We all see the same thing as it relates to the information and data that is there,” he explained. “So that old notion of ‘What the depots see versus what we see here at headquarters’ is just that – an old notion. Instead we have total asset visibility of all the assets at Army depots as well as here at AMCOM.”
A recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) highlighted additional specific benefits being derived from the “D2” installations, noting, “… [T]he use of LMP at the second deployment sites has provided the Army some benefits that were not available in legacy systems, such as increased visibility. For example, officials at Corpus Christi Army Depot stated that LMP has provided them the ability to track and trace individual transactions to specific end users. With this tool, officials at Corpus Christi Army Depot stated that they are able to research individual actions, as well as ensure that individuals are following the procedures at the depot. Corpus Christi Army Depot officials also stated that LMP provided them increased visibility over contractor-managed inventories, which was not available in the legacy systems.”
The GAO report continued, “The Army has also achieved benefits through the common picture provided by LMP. For example, when explaining how the life cycle management commands were using LMP, an item manager from the Aviation and Missile Command showed us how the common view provided by LMP improved communication with the depots. When attempting to find the location of an item for repair, the item manager stated that both the depot and the item manager saw that the item to be repaired had already arrived at the depot, so the depot could then begin the repair process. According to the item manager, this visibility was not available in the legacy systems, and the lack of a common picture sometimes delayed induction of items for repair. The item manager stated that the delays occurred because the item manager’s system showed that an item was located at a depot, but the depot’s system did not show the item as received, so personnel at the depot had to locate the item before it could be inducted for repair. Furthermore, the item manager demonstrated how the common view provided by LMP helped locate a critical part for the Patriot missile system of a deployed unit. In this case, the item manager was able to identify where the part was stored in order to support the deployed unit. The item manager stated that this capability was not available in legacy systems.”
Whitman sees expanding benefits from LMP over the near term, stating, “One of the things, from the depot perspective, is that we used to have to reconcile any discrepancies as far as inventory is concerned. But now that we have a common view, there is no longer any need to do that reconciliation, because what you see is the common record for depots under LMP. And it will only improve further, once ‘D3’ comes along with all of their depots.”
“We are effectively using LMP in the daily business management of our industrial base,” said John Smith, chief of the AMCOM Depot Maintenance Division. “As another example of the resulting process enhancements, rather than requiring the depots to provide routine reports, which require significant staff time, we now pull data on a daily basis, which facilitates a much more in-depth understanding and knowledge of the business status, both production and financial, of our depots. Rather than asking for data, we now can directly respond to queries without taking the depot staff from their primary mission. We have total visibility of inventory.”
Moreover, Whitman acknowledged that additional system benefits are still unfolding, noting, “As we were deployed – and that deployment is still ongoing now – a lot of the reports and things that we need to fully do our job are still being put into place. And we are going through a process right now to identify and create those key reports that will help us to see ourselves financially and in other areas. But that effort is ongoing.
“I think that one of the many benefits to come out of this first year is the fact that we have identified a capability to work toward getting those reports and making them available to the community,” he stated.
The new report capabilities will be released in increments, with the initial financial reports expected to be implemented early in fiscal year 2011.
“The key point there is that we did go through each business area, based on criticality, and identified those reports that we need to make available as soon as possible, as we look across the entire enterprise,” Whitman said.
He added, “The other thing that we have been concentrating on this fiscal year is in helping ‘D3’ get ready for their deployment. We have been offering a lot of shadowing and a lot of on-the-job training, both here on site and at our depots, in preparation for their upcoming deployment. Along with bringing people in to shadow, we have also been providing hands-on training in certain processes.”
“We have what we call a ‘Materiel Master Boot Camp,’ where we have provided hands-on training to ‘D3,’” echoed AMCOM’s Cyndi Ysasi, chief, LMP Sustainment Division. “We have shared a lot of our lessons learned to their end users, leadership, and managers. And in support of all of that, AMCOM, Letterkenny, and CCAD will be providing support to ‘boots on the ground’ when they go live. So we have been helping to prepare and support ‘D3’ as they prepare for their deployment.
“We’ve actually participated in a lot of what they call their cadre training,” Whitman
continued. Our depots have had subject matter experts on site, helping them and participating with them.”
Of course, there are learning curve issues that are surfacing along the way. “With this system, there is a need to manage and control data differently than you did under older systems like CCSS [Commodity Command Standard System],” he said. “So, as it relates to new roles and responsibilities, we have identified some of those to ‘D3,’ as it relates to materiel master data.”
Asked about messages for the warfighter with boots on the ground today, he reiterated his comment about the “common view,” adding, “One of the results from that common view is that wherever there is a part, that visibility will be there. So if there is a need, we know where the part is located – whether at the depot or in another stock or wherever it is. It gives us that capability to coordinate with whoever owns that asset and make that asset available to support that warfighter requirement.”
Looking out over the next year, Whitman offered, “We will be pretty busy assisting the ‘D3’ implementation and implementing some of the key reports – financial and other. In addition, another one of the challenges we will be facing over the coming year will be how to integrate MES – which is our Manufacturing Execution System – into LMP. That’s the ‘shop floor capability’ that we will be deploying and we will be working very hard to accomplish that. And, when you look out at other Enterprise Resource Planning systems that are on the horizon, as it relates to GCSS [Global Combat Support System]-Army and others, I am sure that those will all bring some additional challenges as well.”
Some of the most significant strategic messaging is attributed to Maj. Gen. Jim Myles, commander, AMCOM, who has observed on multiple occasions that “Team Redstone” – which includes AMCOM as well as the Program Executive Offices for both Aviation and Missiles & Space – performs a vitally significant mission and is, in effect, just “five miles from Bagram.”
“America’s sons and daughters deployed in Iraq and in Afghanistan in harm’s way, as well as other locations across the world, know that they can call Team Redstone 24/7/365 and that warfighter is going to know that he or she will get what they want, where they want it, when they want it, and at a cost-effective price. And integral to that is what our team is doing in terms of the Logistics Modernization Program,” Myles said.
This article was first published in U.S. Army Materiel Command: 2010-2011 Edition.