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Maritime Logistics Community News : Autumn 2010
14 NAVY SUPPLY NEWSLETTER AUTUMN 2010 Autumn 2010 is a time of continuing change for Logistics Support within Fleet Headquarters and the wider Fleet, however, during this time of significant change, the key focus and priority is 'back-to- basics' -- doing the simple things well. New Generation Navy organisational changes foreshadowed in the last Supply Newsletter are now in place. LCDR Catherine Rhodes has recently posted in and taken charge of the newly created Surface Forces Logistics Operations Cell (SFLOC). Her team incorporates the FLSE-FBE organisation and will also manage tactical day-to-day level logistics -- providing logistics advice to the Commander Surface Forces and support to the 17 major fleet units (e.g. FAD upgrades, assistance to deployment planning etc). The Fleet Supply Officer and Commander Fleet Logistics Support and their small teams will continue to be available for higher level advice and as subject matter experts. The FLSE-FBE organisation is also moving from Building 134 Garden Island to much improved premises at Building 99 (near the Cruiser Wharf) where they will eventually be joined by the other members of SFLOC. Key tools of our trade are being replaced and modernised. LEUT Amanda Buckland and CPOSTD Sven Scaife are busy with the ongoing roll out of QUICKEN, the commercial accounting package that will replace Small Business Accountant (SBA) as the Fleet's service funds accounting package. This roll out is due to be completed by 30 June 2010. Staff involved in service funds accounting will now become trained and proficient in a package that is widely used in the commercial world. Furthermore, the package will be easily and regularly upgraded, as technology and processes change within the wider Australian accounting and book keeping community. Initial feedback from across all ranks is very positive -- QUICKEN is much more user friendly than SBA and requires less time to complete required transactions. Fleet is working closely with NIPO to introduce a Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) initiative that will allow ships to use a simple online interface to order general hardware and cleaning consumables. Rather than these expendable items being sourced through the traditional stores system (ie. DNSDC/JLU), ships will be able to simply order the items online and the items will be delivered from the nearest Blackwoods outlet to the ship -- 98% of items within five days of the demand. This system is intended to make life easier for SNs and will also save Defence millions of dollars, which can then be redirected to buying other high priority items. A pilot will be trialled onboard an MFU from both FBE and FBW beginning in April 10. If successful, the initiative will be rolled out to the rest of the MFUs by end 2010. Another major Stores initiative is the ADF-wide 'go live' of the Military Integrated Logistics Information System (MILIS) that is due to occur 05 Jul 10. This phase of Joint Project (JP) 2077 will replace SDSS with a much more modern and user friendly package. The initial impact on ships will not be dramatic, as SLIMS will continue to be the inventory management tool for ships. However, this is an important milestone that will eventually (2013) lead to ships being fitted with a deployable version of MILIS, thus allowing access to the same Stores Accounting package as the rest of the ADF. This will provide huge gains in functionality and eliminate many of the current Stores Accounting difficulties (misalignment, rejected transactions etc) that are caused by ships having an inventory management system (SLIMS) that is different to and must interface with SDSS. On the vexed subject of Stores Accounting, my focus this year is on getting the basics right. Several recent media reports have highlighted waste within Defence and make the obvious point that Government and the Australian community expect us to use their money wisely and to take strict care of the expensive equipment they have entrusted us with. I am very concerned that a recent Fleet-wide muster of stores accounts identified huge discrepancies in many ships. The ships' asset registers have now been adjusted and all ships will be expected to ensure that stores accounts are maintained accurately in future. This means doing the basics correctly, such as keeping up with required AIU musters and stocktakes. This is not rocket science. Supply Officer's and Stores Accounting Officer's, in particular, are reminded that if discrepancies do occur, they will be expected to demonstrate that they met their responsibility to take all reasonable steps to prevent the relevant loss of public property. In a similar vein, Fleet is rolling out new procedures for Stores Returns. These procedures address a long-standing ANAO audit requirement and are necessarily rigorous. New controls have been introduced that are intended to eliminate the errors that have plagued stores returns in the past and resulted in massive discrepancies and write-offs of public property. The new procedures are mainly focused on eliminating the discrepancies that occur when ships return items without these items being reflected on SDSS by the receipting unit (i.e. DNSDC/JLU). Often, these errors have been caused by misalignments between SLIMS and SDSS. In simple terms, ships will be required to check and sign for their physical items for return against the SDSS record (Daily Ships Credit Return Report -- DSCRR) before consigning items for delivery to DNSDC/JLU. FLSE-FBE and FLSE-FBW will support ships with the new returns procedures. In summary, Logistics Support within Fleet HQ is undergoing significant change. Many new modernising initiatives are in the pipeline that will make life easier for Supply personnel at sea, by eliminating many of the errors and frustrations that have occurred in the past. While this change is occurring, our key priority is to ensure that we do the simple things well. Fleet Headquarters -- Chief Staff Officer (Support) Thriving in a Changing Environment New Generation Navy (NGN) changes to Support Division now in place Several new initiatives in the pipeline 'Back-to-Basics' focus on accurate stores accounting BY CAPT NEVILLE TEAGUE, RAN