Automation of Logistics

Automation of Logistics

Today, the United States Air Force (USAF) relies on time-consuming processes and manual activities to reconcile Accountable Property System of Record (APSR) sub-ledger details to the financial statement line items and reconciling lower level systems to the applicable APSR to enable Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (FIAR) compliance. 10 USC 2222 requires that defense business systems’ architecture, accountability, and modernization complies with all Federal accounting, financial management, and reporting requirements. The logistics and financial management communities within the military departments and DoD agencies require with meeting the Universe of Transactions (UoT) audit requirements in relation to the Financial Improvement Audit Readiness/Remediation (FIAR) mandates. There is not a robust solution in a production environment for the UoT Infrastructure that houses both the accountable financial and logistics transaction(s) from the AFWCF and AF GF in support of FIAR reconciliation. Currently, disparate legacy systems and associated manual processes create an environment which lends itself to un-auditable financial data often void of pertinent transaction information. This financial data is needed for financial reporting accuracy and completeness. The lack of complete, accurate, reliable, timely and integrated auditable logistics operation financial information hinders the logistician and financial manager’s ability to provide accurate and reliable decision support and meet agency auditability requirements.

Sabel developed an automated Logistics Universe of Transactions (UoT) solution for AFMC/FM, SAF/FM, DFAS, and AFSC users. The Log UoT solution includes a hosting platform on Hanscom milCloud (HmC) and performing software development on Audit Command Language (ACL)/Galvanize software to perform the financial reconciliations against the APSR and GL data from Air Force, DLA, and DFAS systems.

Reconciliation activities in the Universe of Transactions (UoT) including reconciling systems detail transactions to their respective summary level financial statement line items (aka. Bottom up Reconciliation) and Quantitative Drill Down (QDD) reconciliations which reconcile from the Air Force financial statement summary line items down to the subsidiary systems transactions (aka. Top Down Reconciliation). The overall goal of the UoT/QDD Reconciliations is to identify errors at various levels of the organization for correction and substantiate any adjustments to the financial statements. The Sabel Systems team designed, developed, and delivered both the file repository solution and the financial reconciliation software solution that enables the delivery of an automated Logistics UoT solution forthe Air Force.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines Corporate Facilities department needed the ability to remotely monitor critical operational equipment at the airports. Sabel Systems brought their subject matter expertise in aviation operations together with PTC’s Internet of Things (IoT) platform – Thingworx – to deliver a solution that meets the needs of today and has the flexibility to grow as additional use cases are identified.

The Central Monitoring application is designed to connect to airport Passenger Boarding Bridges (PBBs), Baggage Handling Systems (BHS), Deicing Equipment, and more to monitor real-time operational metrics at various airports across the Southwest Airlines (SWA) network. SWA Corporate Facilities is also promoting this capability internally and identifying new use cases and user groups that can take advantage of the platform.

The application provides business value by monitoring for compliance of cost-saving procedures and proactively notifying users when a failure occurs to reduce downtime. The application also connects to SWA’s Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) to automatically generate work orders reducing time to repair metrics. Getting data from previously unconnected equipment opens new possibilities for operational improvement.

Sabel served as the system integrator coordinating with various equipment manufacturers, establishing connectivity, creating a data model, and developing the application using Thingworx and Kepware as well as providing on-site installation and configuration of cellular networking equipment.

In an industry where every minute counts and customer satisfaction is a top priority, Southwest Airlines continues to improve their already sterling reputation by staying ahead of their competition.

Sabel’s operational and technical subject matter experts, small-business cost efficiencies, and quick time to market delivery capabilities provide a low risk, cost efficient and quick-turn solution to accelerate IoT transformations.

Email Brandon Sorrell at brandon.sorrell@sabelsystems.com today for a demonstration of our capabilities

Logistics Management

Logistics Management

Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Installations and Logistics, Logistics Plans, Policies, and Strategic Mobility Division

Sabel Systems began to support the USMC Logistics Distribution Policy Branch (LPD) and its management of material distribution, passenger transportation programs, associated traffic management systems, Second Destination Transportation (SDT) finance and metrics efforts and initiatives. Team Sabel provided draft policy guidance, studied current programs and made program improvement recommendations, performed database development and analysis, and developed new on-line computer-based training courses, performed information management, and technical services in support of the Marine Corps’ transportation and distribution policy, and transportation finance efforts.

As part of this effort, Sabel Systems saw the need for a definitive cargo In-Transit Visibility (ITV) Strategy, which was lacking from a Marine Corps enterprise standpoint. Team Sabel then led the way on a project to draft a brandnew USMC ITV Strategy. The effort was a success, and well received by the entire Marine Corps supply-chain community. The Marine Corps ITV Strategy will serve as a baseline document from which a Marine Corps Order on ITV is written.

Additionally, Sabel Systems provided Automated Information Services support to LPD in the following areas: strategic planning, functional advocacy support (material distribution, unit move, passenger, and personal property) and requirements development. This support included assistance to the LPD Commercial Transportation Systems Analyst by attending meetings and supporting the analyst as required.

Sabel Systems also identified source systems for supply, transportation, and billing metrics data to facilitate an end -to-end distribution pipeline cost analysis, conducted data mapping, and developed a data collection plan, which optimally centralized all data into a single data mining report. The data report was used to track expenditures and to assist in a bulk obligation process. Additionally, Sabel identified potential enhancements to metrics gathering and reporting processes. The client validated Sabel’s results and modified the contract to add an additional full-time employee.

Security Cooperation

Security Cooperation

Sabel Systems developed a Security Cooperation Financial Management Course (SCFMC) for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). The SCFMC is a four (4) day course offered six times a year in the Washington D.C. metro area. Sabel managed all aspects of the course including event planning, communications, content management, curriculum improvement, registration, assessment, logistics, and coordination with DSCA Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and attendees. The course covers key financial management concepts for Security Cooperation programs and activities such as Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Financing, and Building Partner Capacity Security. In addition, the course reviews other essential Security Cooperation topics such as Appropriations Law, Major Security Cooperation Stakeholders, and includes a Security Assistance Overview presented by the State Department.

U.S. Government employees selected to attend this course support Security Cooperation and Security Assistance financial management efforts both inside the continental United States (CONUS) and outside (OCONUS). Although the majority of students are affiliated with the Department of Defense (DoD), personnel who support these efforts in other federal agencies may also attend.

Recently, Sabel Systems helped lead efforts to bring the course to a broader audience through the “Going Mobile” initiative. As part of this initiative, Sabel Systems coordinated with various organizations interested in having 25 or more people participate in the course. Sabel worked with DSCA subject matter experts (SMEs) to tailor course content and digitize course materials to make the course conducive to a mobile environment. The mobile course has had two successful beta tests, one of which was for United States Pacific Command (PACOM) in Thailand where approximately 50 people participated over 3 days.

Recognizing the challenges of going mobile with extensive paper course materials, Sabel’s next major initiative helped modernize the course by introducing Android-based tablets into the classroom to replace printed materials. The deployment of tablets has reinforced training objectives by allowing class participants to interact digitally via activities, exercises, and quizzes. Sabel Systems ensured all previously printed course content was loaded onto each tablet, reducing print material by over 90% and thereby decreasing Other Direct Costs (ODCs) by nearly 35%.

International Affairs

International Affairs

Sabel Systems has become a trusted resource and vital partner in fostering U.S. Government (USG) relationships abroad. In support of USG security interests, Sabel Systems provides the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) with Program and Financial Management, Foreign Partner Engagement Support, Process Improvement, Training, and Strategic Planning and Integration. Through our support of various DSCA offices and directorates, we have deepened our specialized knowledge base and expertise in providing Security Cooperation support services, International Financial Policy and Analysis, Budget Development and Management, Data Analytics and Integration, and Administrative Support for International Programs. In support of these efforts, Sabel Systems has developed tools to manage a diversified portfolio of International Programs utilizing financial mechanisms such as Foreign Military Financing (FMF), Foreign Military Sales (FMS), Building Partner Capacity (BPC) Funds, and more specialized funding resources such as Dependable Undertaking and Leasing programs.

Sabel Systems Team members manage complex international programs and host multi-nation conferences on
politically sensitive issues throughout the world. They foster USG relationships and strengthen international
partnerships vital to U.S. national security. Our vast array technical capabilities, in-depth knowledge of
International laws and USG regulations, and global cultural and social awareness help facilitate our demonstrated
success in International Affairs.

See the features and benefits of this case study in the PDF

Baggage Screening

Baggage Screening

Sabel Systems developed the capability to utilize the information stored in Explosives Detection System (EDS) Field Data Reporting System (FDRS) reports to provide operational reporting and metrics for the entire Transportation Security Administration (TSA) EDS fleet of over 1800 machines. Sabel Systems team members have previous experience with EDS manufacturers and are keenly aware of the abundant analysis possibilities provided by FDRS data. Sabel Systems worked with TSA’s Electronic Baggage Screening Program stakeholders to deliver this business intelligence capability using TSA’s own Security Technology Integrated Program (STIP). STIP is an agency-wide Enterprise Management System that provides a centralized focal point connecting passenger and baggage screening security technologies to one network. Sabel designed a database schema to optimize performance and built a reporting framework using the IBM Cognos platform. Additional business intelligence and reporting capability have been developed using Microsoft Power BI.

The tool provides data management and data analytics in a user-friendly web-based platform and allows TSA’s own designated personnel to create and run reports as needed. Sabel Systems is also integrating data from multiple TSA data sources such as Contract Status Accounting Report (CSAR) and Government Property Management (GPM) to provide a comprehensive view of the EDS install base. Sabel validates and evaluates the completeness of data delivered each month and identifies anomalies. Future development plans include adding data from carry on baggage screening equipment as well as information from the Performance Information Management System (PIMS) and Enhanced Staffing Model (ESM) to provide enhanced multi-variable analytics.

The tool also provides graphical reporting of operational performance characteristics as well as dashboarding of specific data elements and can be completely customized to meet the user’s needs.

Asset Accountability

Asset Accountability

The Air Force (AF) uses simulators to orient pilots to the performance of various aircraft. There are over 2000 simulators in the AF today. We recovered accountability of 450 of those, valued at over $1B. Until Sabel Systems was contracted there was no system in place to account for these assets. The Air Force initiated an effort to recover accountability for these assets and Sabel Systems was asked to assist in the recovery of asset accountability, development of policies and procedures to maintain accountability and to develop a valuation methodology.

We engaged with the WNS/SPO (Simulators Program Office) to understand the root cause of the lack of accountability for these assets. We identified several key factors to include:
No logisticians involved in simulator requirements development
Undefined responsibilities regarding the reporting of assets to the Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) to be sure they are entered into the Accountable Property System of Record (APSR
Constructed in Place (CIP) simulators (development of an asset from piece parts)
Lack of a clear chain of asset ownership in the MAJCOM

We worked closely with the Simulator Program Office (SPO) to generate a preliminary estimate of where the 450+ assets might be located. Because the simulators were still aligned under the defunct MAF/CAF organizational construct, our first task was to map them to their appropriate MAJCOMs. With the proper organizations identified we were then able to contact the appropriate LRS to locate each asset and ensure they were loaded into the APSR. These efforts spanned 32 different programs. We were successful in recovering accountability for over 450 simulators valued at $1.5B.
To maintain that accountability going forward, we assisted the AF in clarifying the roles and responsibilities associated with receiving simulator assets. For example, we drafted a policy to clarify that the purchasing entity that completes the DD250 (acceptance document) is responsible for loading assets into the APSR.

We also recommended that pre-Milestone A simulator acquisition activities should include logistics representation. This not only ensures the procured solution is sustainable it also ensures the property accountability organization is aware of inbound assets. We noted that manufacturers were being instructed to ship simulators directly to customers (potentially bypassing LRS accountability processes) and ensured this process was corrected.

From a custodial perspective we clarified that the organization with the DD250 was the owning organization and responsible for asset accountability. This removed the bifurcation of responsibility that had been driven by MAJCOM procurement versus using organization possession of the asset. The update from CAF/MAF to MAJCOM association let the field and the A4’s know exactly what program belonged to which owner and could ultimately communicate to organize shipments and identify shortcomings.

The impact of Sabel Systems efforts resulted in the recovery of asset accountability, as well as implementation of process, policy and meta-data updates to maintain that accountability.