As the newest member of the Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-Army) team, I am slowly learning about enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions and SAP [a German business software company] and its Defense Forces and Public Security (DFPS) industry solution. After attending DFPS training provided by SAP in Washington, D.C., I have a better appreciation of what DFPS can do to meet the Army’s demanding property accountability requirements. DFPS will help the Army revolutionize its current logistics systems and property accountability business processes and, more importantly, meet the growing demands of its property book officers (PBOs).
GCSS-Army and DFPS
GCSS-Army, which is an automated logistics system designed to reengineer outdated logistics Standard Army Management Information Systems (STAMISs), uses DFPS (along with SAP’s ERP Central Component 6.0) in its ERP solution. DFPS provides integrated logistics and resource management for armed forces, agencies, nongovernmental organizations, police departments, and fire departments.
Using DFPS in its ERP solution, GCSS-Army will help PBOs to better manage Army equipment, materiel, and resources by sharing real-time data with commanders and maintainers and allowing them all to view the same information. Commanders, PBOs, and maintainers will have the ability to better manage unit equipment, Army Force Generation support, warehouse operations, in-transit materiel tracking, materiel procurement forecasts and planning, and maintenance actions. GCSS-Army will also modernize supply support activities (SSAs), fully integrate ammunition management into the logistics fight, and integrate Department of Defense financial tracking requirements.
GCSS-Army Instead of PBUSE
When comparing GCSS-Army to the Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced (PBUSE) system, more similarities than differences exist. For one thing, GCSS-Army’s organizational structure is similar to the unit task organization in PBUSE. Like PBUSE, GCSS-Army’s structure is based on a modification table of organization and equipment (MTOE) or a table of distribution and allowances (TDA). GCSS-Army downloads MTOE and TDA authorizations for personnel and equipment directly from the Army Force Management Support Agency. All GCSS-Army transactions are based on DFPS force elements, which are Army-authorized unit identification codes (UICs). PBUSE uses UICs for a similar purpose. Both systems have comparable user roles and permissions and are Internet based and available through unclassified channels.
But GCSS-Army has improvements over PBUSE. GCSS-Army shares integrated data with organizations and personnel throughout the logistics enterprise, including SSA accountable officers, PBOs, maintainers, and commanders. The organizational structure in GCSS-Army is based on more detailed information from all the way down to the MTOE’s paragraph level. Using GCSS-Army instead of PBUSE eliminates the need for reconciliations in the retail supply arena and allows PBOs to select candidates for serviceable lateral transfers within the system. GCSS-Army also shows the maintenance status of equipment and provides advanced shipping notices and expected delivery dates.
For most PBOs, migrating to GCSS-Army will be like transitioning from checkbooks to online banking. Many will likely resist it initially, but others will immediately embrace it. Some will learn to use a combination of both the old and new ways, and others will expand on the new capability in the same way that some banking customers use online bill paying, debit cards, and mobile technology to exploit the effectiveness of their online banking capabilities.
By harnessing SAP’s DFPS in its ERP solution, GCSS-Army has the potential to provide greater flexibility, enhanced readiness oversight, and real-time property accountability to Army logisticians, commanders, and Soldiers, whether deployed or in garrison. However, to achieve GCSS-Army’s full potential, PBOs must be willing to reengineer old business processes and embrace new integrated methods of accomplishing the logistics mission. I strongly encourage PBOs to take advantage of opportunities to learn more about DFPS, SAP, and GCSS-Army.
Chief Warrant Officer (W–4) Joel Lockhart is a senior supply technician at the Army Combined Arms Support Command, where he works with the Project Manager, Global Combat Support System-Army. He graduated cum laude with a B.S. degree from Excelsior College and is a graduate of the Warrant Officer Basic, Advanced, Staff, and Senior Staff Courses.