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PBUSE Incorporates Automatic Identification Technology

The Army is improving and simplifying its property accountability processes by incorporating automatic identification technology (AIT) into Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced (PBUSE). AIT increases PBUSE’s ability to accurately identify, track, document, and control the movement of deploying equipment and personnel.

Historically, the Army has used a passive barcode system that required much manual input. Since its fielding began in November 2008, PBUSE–AIT has been improving the speed and accuracy of property accountability by fielding with PBUSE hand-held terminals, printers that produce long-term asset labels, and two-dimensional barcode technology.

The hand-held terminal is used to view the inventory, add items to the inventory, scan items not owned by the unit, manually enter or flag items that cannot be scanned, and flag items that need their barcode label reprinted. When performing an inventory using a hand-held terminal, if the item is a bulk item (without a serial number, registration number, lot number, or component hand-receipt number), the user is prompted to enter a quantity.

The client application serves as the “middleware” between the PBUSE enterprise and the hand-held terminals. This middleware can print barcodes and manage a number of hand-held terminals, users, and unit identification codes. The client application also serves to back up data obtained from hand-held terminals and pushes and pulls data to and from the PBUSE server. The application also protects hand-held terminals by automatically installing upgrades and security patches onto the devices.

PBUSE users will be able to view inventory results and discrepancies identified for scanned, unscanned, and manually inventoried items. The system will also identify items needing a new or revised barcode or asset label.

Using AIT, PBUSE users will be able to generate direct inventories by sub-hand receipt, line item number, or national stock number and create trackable ad-hoc inventories and request the status of downloaded or completed inventories. Once the user performs an inventory and marks it complete, the inventory then can be reviewed and discrepancies can be resolved. Once the process is complete, the inventory is archived in the PBUSE database.

PBUSE–AIT enables logisticians to rapidly capture detailed information and send that information to PBUSE using minimal human intervention. The technology captures data faster and more accurately than manual modes and, in doing so, reduces common inventory errors. The use of AIT also simplifies inventory management, archives records indefinitely, and reduces the amount of training required to use PBUSE.

The Army Quartermaster Center and School’s Logistics Training Department started training advanced individual training Soldiers on PBUSE–AIT in January 2009, giving Soldiers experience with the equipment before they arrive at their first unit assignments.

After seeing the success of phase I of the PBUSE–AIT project in automating the inventory process and providing commanders and property book officers with the ability to create, administer, and review the results of any directed inventory, Army leaders expressed an interest in adding functions to the system. During PBUSE–AIT phase II, the Army will evaluate the system’s ability to read item-unique identification labels, provide an electronic signature capability, initiate and complete lateral transfers, conduct end-item component inventories, and create, receipt, and post MILSTRIP (Military Standard Requisitioning and Issue Procedures) transactions.

More than 12,000 PBUSE–AIT systems are projected to be fielded to units by the end of this fiscal year. Fielding to garrison commands, program managers, and the Army Sustainment Command is under evaluation.

Jeannette J. Jones is the resource management division chief for the Product Manager, Movement Tracking Systems, at Fort Lee, Virginia. She was previously the Project Manager, Logistics Information Systems. She is a retired Army lieutenant colonel and holds a B.S. degree in general engineering from the United States Military Academy and an M.S. degree in materiel acquisition management from the Florida Institute of Technology, and she is Level–III certified in program management and contracting.

Jeff W. Davis, L–3 Communications, is the strategic communications director for the Product Manager, Movement Tracking Systems. He is a retired Army lieutenant colonel and a graduate of the United States Military Academy and the Defense Information School’s Public Affairs Officer Course.

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