Development and Sustainment of the Navy ERP Weapons System

Deputy Core Business Solutions Department, NAVSUP Business Systems Center

Navy Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is not only one of the Navy’s most essential business systems, but it is also considered one of our weapons systems. 

Navy ERP spans across six major commands with 71,000 users, and growing.  To date, the Navy has invested more than $1 billion into its financial system of record; Navy ERP.  The completed deployment of Navy ERP was the largest, single instance (Government or Commercial) of ERP.  Navy ERP is now moving into sustainment and Supply Corps officers with strong technical and operating knowledge of the system will have a substantial impact on our future success. NAVSUP Business Sys_2-color

Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) and NAVSUP’s Business Systems Center (BSC) have a central role in the sustainment of Navy ERP by performing software development and functional analysis. Now that the system has moved from the implementation stage, the importance of the Supply Corps developing a more robust capability to conduct Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation (RDT&E) on Navy ERP is vital. 

Navy ERP provides data-driven decision making, enabling improved readiness of Navy personnel, equipment and materiel in execution of our National Maritime Strategy.  As with any weapon system, Navy ERP will continue through all phases of the acquisition life-cycle to include sustainment.  Supply Corps officers must possess significantly more experience and technical knowledge to meet the business process discipline that is native to Navy ERP and SAP.  Officers will also require experience in how the Navy and System Commands (SYSCOM) manage business systems.  There are many opportunities to gain these skills and experience through assignment within the Logistics Information Technology community of interest (COI), also known as 1309 subspecialty.  These skills are listed below.

 *  ERP with SAP certification from Pennsylvania State University’s World Campus Online

*  Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) Level II/III Program Managers (PM)

*  Significant experience/education in Logistics Information Systems/Information Management

 First, officers can apply, be accepted and complete the Business Enterprise Management (BEM)/Enterprise Resource Planning Internship.  Second, officers can seek assignment to C4I and SYSCOMs with 1309 coded billets.  Third, they can complete the Information Management (870) program at Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, Calif.

 The BEM program assigns officers in demanding, two-year assignments where they serve as project managers for many weapon systems and programs, including Application Hosting Migration, Electronic Business Office Interface, Operation Supply Planning, Ordnance information Systems and assignment as Weapon Systems Officers.  As project managers, BEM interns are afforded the opportunity to achieve green or black belt certification in CPI.  Additionally, BEM interns complete the requirements for DAWIA PM Level II through the Defense Acquisitions University (DAU).

 What makes the BEM internship unique from all other internships is that officers achieve certification in ERP (SAP) software solutions through Pennsylvania State University’s (PSU) World Campus SAP certificate program.  As part of the SAP University Alliance, this program provides our future ERP sustainment officers both the technical background and experience in employing ERP (SAP) as a business tool and ERP’s (SAP) relational interfaces.  Additionally, this program emphasizes how SAP is utilized within Navy ERP as a business tool and the role purchasing, materials management, and operations planning plays in the business enterprise.  Officers, who complete the certificate programs, are awarded the 92E additional qualification designator. 

 As a CAPSTONE, interns attend ESI International courses in program and project management.  These are executive level training courses that provide BEM interns knowledge and insight into corporate best practices and project management skills used in private industry.  These courses also provide an opportunity for interns to network with private sector project managers. 

 At the completion of all BEM requirements, interns are assigned the 1309S s-code.  Additionally, officers assigned to key 1309 coded billets can obtain a 1309S s-code.  Some of these billets include assignment to NAVSUP BSC or Program Executive Offices.  Graduates from the Information Management (870) program at Naval Post Graduate School will receive the 1309P designation.

 While the Supply Corps has significant opportunities to develop program managers, information management professionals and technical experts in the application of ERP (SAP), it does not have the resident experience or the environment to conduct RDT&E on the weapon system.  An opportunity to improve Navy ERP sustainment is for NAVSUP to leverage the existing ERP (SAP) relationship with the SAP University Alliances, particular PSU to utilize existing center’s for Supply Chain Research (CSCR) and Applied Research Laboratories (ARL).  As this lab at PSU is already designated by the Department of Defense as the U.S. Navy’s University Affiliated Research Center, it provides a robust RDT&E environment for Navy ERP (SAP).  Creating opportunities for Supply Corps officers to develop certification and RDT&E qualifications and experience will also provide ERP sustainment officers with the skills necessary to exchange in any dialogue that will change Navy ERP policy or business processes.

 The Navy has committed sizable investments into a System of Systems with the intent of improving readiness to the warfighter.  Navy ERP is in fact a weapon system and sustainment of that weapon system will require much more technical knowledge and experience from Supply Corps officers than previous business systems.  There are a multitude of opportunities for qualification in the Logistics Information Technology COI.  For additional information about the BEM internship and the 92E AQD, please read Lt. Ronald Navalta’s article in the OP & You section of this newsletter.

By Cmdr. Brett Sullivan, SC, USN