BY LT. JASON A. MONTS, SC, USN
The fiercest cruiser in the U.S. Navy’s arsenal, USS Normandy (CG 60), is currently on a nine-month around-the-world deployment as a part of USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG). During this unique voyage, USS Normandy was selected as a test platform for Procure-to-Pay (P2P), which has been renamed Off-Ship Bill Pay (OSBP). During a mid-deployment voyage repair port call to the Kingdom of Manama, Bahrain, USS Normandy was the first cruiser to execute this critical process. OSBP is a key process in the Navy’s larger effort to improve port visit management including ensuring audit readiness, mitigating risk of fraud and streamlining the payment of husbanding service provider bills. Ultimately, these changes will establish a process that allows the Supply Department to remain accountable and flexible to the dynamics of a port visit, but concurrently removes workload from the ship. This article will highlight some of the lessons learned from USS Normandy’s experience with the OSBP process.
- For the OSBP process to be successful, receipt inspectors should be selected and appointed from throughout the command. It is highly recommended to assign subject matter expert receipt inspectors (e.g engineers assigned for volumetric) and not simply limit them to Supply personnel. In preparation for this process, USS Normandy conducted training with all department heads, command duty officers, engineering khakis, supply khakis and supply duty department heads and routed receipt inspector designation letters for those identified above. This new process is heavily dependent on participation across the command. Today, the quarterdeck watch team knows exactly whom they should call for receipts because a list of all available receipt inspectors is posted on the quarterdeck and coverage is assured across all of our duty sections.
- In order to accurately measure all of the metrics we were responsible for tracking, it was imperative to meet with the husbanding service providers (HSP), key engineering personnel and supply participants daily to discuss the previous day’s services received. USS Normandy called this meeting “HSP Sync”.
- The standard Commander Fifth Fleet logistics requirements (LOGREQ) currently on the Logistics Support Services Repository use the metric system to measure collection, holding, and transfer (CHT) of potable water, oily waste and trash disposal. To accurately measure these services, there are two tools to assist you: either convert these metric system measurements to the standard measurements in the LOGREQ or have a conversion sheet from the metric system to the standard system. It is a good idea to have this conversion data at the daily HSP sync meetings when discussing services received. Though this seems like common sense, this will make sure the ship and the HSP are speaking the same language.
One issue USS Normandy noticed immediately while discussing how to validate our volumetrics was a ship design issue with regard to measuring CHT. Currently there are no installed flow meters for measuring CHT. Flow meters would make the process of measuring CHT far simpler and more accurate. A ship modification to incorporate government flow meters should be considered.
Note: USS Normandy’s crafty engineers were able to use tank level indicators to verify the amounts of CHT pumped, however this was not a precise measurement.
- During Normandy’s port visit, there were a few disagreements with the HSP regarding services received. The HSP was very open to quickly agreeing with what service the ship said they received. If that is not the case, it is the Supply Officer’s responsibility to inform the contracting officer representative (COR) so they can reconcile with the HSP. One specific case USS Normandy encountered was with a tent we requested for our entry control point. Our LOGREQ requested one tent; however, during the first day in port, the officer on duty noticed the HSP had two tents set up. The Supply Officer was notified and immediately called the HSP and requested they take the second tent down because it was outside of the scope of what was requested. The next day at our HSP sync meeting the Supply Officer noticed USS Normandy was being charged for two tents. The Supply Officer reminded the HSP that we had the second tent taken away and the HSP quickly apologized and dismissed the charge.
- A few days up to a few weeks after the port visit, the Supply Officer will receive a port cost estimate (PCE) from one of the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Centers (FLCs). NAVSUP FLC initially reviews the PCEs from the HSP to make sure everything is fair and reasonable prior to sending to the ship. The ship needs to cross reference this estimate with the DD Form 250 they generate on the final day of the port visit after they have agreed with HSP’s final invoice. This PCE will now include port tariffs as well as all other bills that the final invoice did not include due to timing such as tugs and pilots used to leave port. The Supply Officer’s job is to do a sanity check, making sure all the services we are being billed for were received and fiscally accurate. If not, we need to provide feedback to the COR and the NAVSUP FLC representative. If this is the case, a corrected PCE will be generated and sent out to all parties and the same process as previously mentioned shall be repeated.
- Make sure you have a volumetric chart you can bring to the daily HSP sync meetings. This is vital in making sure that on the day before your departure you already have an accurate measure of what services you’ve received and it will match the final invoice which the HSP will present for you to sign. Again, the final invoice will be a comprehensive invoice of all services you’ve received during your entire visit with the exception of tariffs and a few other bills which the HSP could not determine due to timing issues. If you intend to use services the last day, i.e. the day of departure, have an amount you and the HSP agree on based on what you have already received in port, mindful that some contracts require a minimum daily amount.
The OSBP process is definitely a lot easier on supply departments than the past process. No more scrambling around the day before, and in some extreme cases, the day of departure, cutting treasury checks to pay for port costs as the ship is taking in all lines. Once the ship submits the validated DD250 and all supporting documents to the COR, the COR completes a three-way match of the receipts and the TYCOM is responsible for paying the port visits costs.
Supply Officers must retain the autonomy to account for services received. Being a demanding customer, with the support of the rest of the command, the Supply Officer remains a leader for audit readiness and the first line of defense against fraud.
–Photos by MC3 Justin Diniro