BY MICHAEL ZABAROUSKAS, DIRECTOR, CORPORATE STATISTICS & ANALYSIS, NAVSUP GLOBAL
LOGISTICS SUPPORT AND KEVIN BOWERSOX, PROJECT MANAGER, LOGISTICS SOLUTIONS DEPARTMENT, NAVSUP BUSINESS SYSTEMS CENTER
This article highlights the history and evolution of the One Touch Support program. It details the tremendous benefits the system provides to the warfighter and the recent tech refresh initiative that further enhances the Navy’s logistics capabilities. In addition, a recent success story from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan details how the revamped system was leveraged to automate a large logistics requirement.
One Touch Support History
One Touch Support (OTS) is a Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) web application, managed by NAVSUP Global Logistics Support (GLS) and sustained by the NAVSUP Business Systems Center (BSC). The system came to life in August 2002, serving as a point of entry for requisition input and as a consolidated source of supply asset information and requisition status. Beginning with several thousand users, OTS saw explosive growth in early 2003 with the build-up to and start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The first year saw 2.6 million supply queries and requisitions processed.
First conceived in 2001, the idea behind OTS was simple in concept but challenging to implement given the technologies available at the time. The vision was to provide a single web-site capable of retrieving, integrating and displaying supply information from a multitude of other systems using a stock number or requisition number and one click of the mouse. Today, the concept is ubiquitous and leveraged frequently by private sector sites such as travel search engines that consolidate information from many sources. Prior to their inception, the Navy pioneered system to system data exchange and established a 15 year track record of success with the creation of OTS.
Over its lifetime OTS has continued to evolve by adding and improving business functions and databases. Some of those changes included the ability to:
- Track a serialized depot level repairable through the turn-in and overhaul cycle;
- See Priority Material Office casualty reporting expediter real-time backpage notes;
- Collaboratively review and process Material Obligation Validation (MOV) packages;
- Find and print a NAVSUP contract or modification document;
- Generate a material receipt confirmation;
- See a list of requisitions ordered by another activity for “pushed” or “payback” material;
- Submit an online request for help directly to the Global Distance Support Center; and
- Look at Marine Corps assets in their Master Data Repository.
Another extremely powerful capability resides in OTS’s My Log Dashboard (MLD). MLD helps break stovepipes by better sharing both online requisition status and offline supply information. MLD was conceived as a collaboration tool for the littoral combat ship (LCS) to track requisitions using command and personal “watch lists” for high priority and “pushed” material. MLD has proven an invaluable tool that has expanded well beyond the LCS.
OTS now serves over 15,700 Navy and Marine Corps military and civilians and last year processed 16.3 million requisitions and supply queries.
By consolidating over two dozen sources of DoD logistics information, OTS provides substantial time savings and increased supply chain visibility to the logistics community. For example, when a user enters a stock number or part number and clicks submit, OTS simultaneously searches ten data sources for inventory data and technical data. The collected information is then clearly organized and presented on a single web page with tabs representing technical detail, inventory, manufacturer, family group, item manager, backorder and planned requirement data.
Similarly, a requisition or contract search queries thirteen data sources and returns complete status to a single page. When a source returns a Transportation Control Number or Airbill number, powerful transaction chaining automatically initiates other shipment searches including FedEx, UPS and DHL. If a commercial match is found, OTS will show complete shipment scan activity and delivery information including the name of the person signing for the material.
For commands who generate large numbers of requisitions the system provides a batch input capability that allows authorized users to submit up to 10,000 MILSTRIP documents at once. After submitting requisitions, users can track them using batch queries that provide status information for up to 500 requisitions at a time. Similarly, batch capabilities can retrieve asset information for up to 200 stock numbers (by default) and in special cases up to 5,000 per batch. Results can be viewed online or automatically emailed to the user and up to five other people in Microsoft Excel format. The powerful batch capabilities in OTS are a must have for those with large supply and logistics requirements.
OTS provides a more complete picture of the supply chain from a single query, making searches easier and returns results faster than someone logging in to multiple systems. Research using a random sample of different transaction types, stock numbers and requisition numbers produces a conservative estimated time savings of 75 seconds for every action performed. Given the fiscal year 2015 transaction volume, this equates to almost 340,000 hours of time savings.
[caption id="attachment_5003" align="alignright" width="400"]
Left to right: Stephen Jahn, Ayodeji Aladejebi, Judith Asch, Rear Adm. James R. McNeal, Jonathan Oram, Capt. Kurt Wendelken, Kevin Bowersox and Diana Lewis.
Maintaining the Navy’s technological edge in any system cannot be achieved through complacency, instead it requires strategic innovation in new and existing spaces. In the December 2015 Navy Supply Corps Newsletter, Chief of Supply Corps Rear Adm. Jonathan A. Yuen provided his thoughts on innovation in the historical context of technology application saying, “We learn from this history to capitalize on those things we do best and then make them even better.”
Inspired by these principles, longtime partners NAVSUP GLS and NAVSUP BSC embarked on a journey to revamp the website using the latest best practices championed by the software industry. Since the initial OTS release 15 years ago, more secure and efficient development techniques arose while the system’s basic web architecture remained unchanged. Throughout its history, OTS continuously evolved to meet the logistics needs of NAVSUP’s customers; however the time had come to focus on the system’s aging infrastructure and design. The ensuing effort was branded as the OTS tech refresh.
Developed over several years and deployed on February 15th, 2016, the initial tech refresh release delivered a new look and feel, better standardization, consolidated business functions, and faster processing. A new and more intuitive user interface based on the latest web standards was also released to streamline logistics activities within the system. Equally, if not more important, the primary technological improvements introduced by the refresh delivered stronger countermeasures against cyber-attacks and further hardened OTS against the threats posed by our adversaries. This investment protects a key logistics asset used by the Fleet to maintain operational readiness from malicious attacks. Overall, the OTS community was ecstatic about the improvements with one member stating, “Thank you for the fantastic changes. It is now so user-friendly and easy to use as well as extremely fast.”
These technological innovations will further secure One Touch Support’s position as the system of choice for Navy supply and logistics operations well into the future. Over the last several months, feedback was collected from OTS customers to address minor changes, bug fixes and functionality tweaks using an innovative project management process developed by the OTS project team at NAVSUP BSC. Currently, the program office at NAVSUP GLS is working closely with the OTS community to define larger system enhancements that will further increase the logistics efficiencies delivered by OTS. Under the guidance of these organizations, OTS will deliver key supply chain information to the current and next generation of Navy supply officers.
The excitement surrounding the revamped OTS system produced a wave of feedback from the OTS community, requiring the team to quickly address requests for critical changes. In response, a “sprintbased” methodology was adopted to manage the influx of ideas without jeopardizing the operational capabilities provided by the system. The new process was designed to select the highest priority deliverables from a backlog of all known requirements and to rapidly deliver them using a focused time-boxed maintenance effort. This approach delivered 107 system improvements in the first nine weeks after implementation further enhancing the operational readiness benefits granted to the warfighter by OTS.
Moving forward, this methodology will be used to manage future workload, ensuring the best yield is derived from program funding. The new approach will be pivotal as OTS and our data partners switch focus to the multi-year project to convert to Defense Logistics Management Standards (DLMS), which replaces the Military Standard Requisition and Issue Procedures (MILSTRIP). Leading up to that, the team has set its immediate sights on re-hosting OTS from the Navy Application Hosting Facility in Oklahoma to the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Defense Enterprise Computing Center in Pennsylvania. This move will provide an improved hardware platform and an even better cyber security posture. To make these large concurrent initiatives possible the improved project management methodology strategically allocates key program resources, such as highly skilled contractor personnel and logistics experts, ultimately maximizing the benefits delivered to the warfighter.
A dedicated workforce spanning NAVSUP Headquarters, NAVSUP GLS and NAVSUP BSC has built a “synchronized partnership” to enhance the Fleet’s operational readiness through the One Touch Support system. The team works together to leverage the strengths of each person to proactively track, share, prioritize and complete all tasks to satisfy the logistics needs of our customers. The recent OTS tech refresh, which strengthens logistics capabilities while reducing maintenance expenses, signifies our commitment to this goal. The value of One Touch Support is demonstrated daily by the thousands who have come to rely on its ability to save time and provide better information allowing logisticians to make better decisions.