Legacy Mainframe to Real-Time Data in a DOD Arsenal Environment

A DOD Arsenal chartered with the manufacture and assembly of a variety of tool kits and other products for use in military field operations.

WHO:
A DOD Arsenal chartered with the manufacture and assembly of a variety of tool kits and other products for use in military field operations. They also provide storage and management of other items for various DOD customers.

CHALLENGE:
The Arsenal required higher visibility and control of the items moving in and through their facilities – whether they were part of manufacturing, assembly or storage. Volumes and demands for these items were rapidly increasing due to world events, which created further urgency for the Arsenal to automate their processes. During this time, they were also undergoing a systemic change from a large mainframe-based inventory and work control solution to an ERP. Communication with the legacy solution and later the ERP were required. Because this was a military environment, there were also stringent security parameters to be met. Finally, the productivity of the existing workforce could not be disrupted – especially given the criticality of the missions they supported.

SOLUTION:
A turn-key solution comprised of network changes, industrialized handheld computers and a commercial warehouse management software (WMS) product were tailored to address each of the needs of the Arsenal’s goals and challenges – for all three areas of operations. The network and handheld computers were securely deployed across their facilities. The WMS provided certified integration to the new ERP as well as configurable integration for the existing mainframe platform making communication to either system seamless. We also created comprehensive training and documentation. This ensured that each user, regardless of their technical skills, felt comfortable working with the solution at launch – and that the Arsenal could effectively support their new solution independent of ongoing contractor support.

RESULTS:
Shortly after launch, the DOD facility was able to decrease inventory errors to less than one half of 1 percent from a previous rate of 7 percent. Additionally, they experienced real-time visibility of item information and work progress – as opposed to the 24-hour delay from request prior to this solution. All of these improvements enabled them to dramatically improve their production and support of their military missions during critical world events.

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