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Maritime Logistics Community News : Summer 2010
45 NAVY SUPPLY NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2010 Introduction The Royal Australian Navy moved from manual to computerised Inventory Management in the late 1970s with the establishment of the Defence Supply Retail Mini-Computer System (DSRMS). This was development was for shore based application such as at Navy establishments and the Navy Supply Centre (Zetland). There was an attempt to use this system in a deployed environment with HMAS STALWART being fitted with a mobile computer to run DSRMS. Mobile in this context was something about the size of a few large chest freezers put together, that had storage discs of about 30 CM in diameter. Ironically it probably had less processing power than the average smart phone has today! However it worked reasonably well. In the late 1980s a decision was made to develop a deployable system for use on ships that could be used with the more modern computers that had recently become available. With the assistance of MWA Systems Australia, Ship Logistic Information Management System (Supply) (SLIMS (S)) was born. In addition to SLIMS(S) an Engineering module was called SLIMS (E) was developed but never fully deployed. HMAS SUCCESS was the first ship to receive the new system in 1988, and was such a noteworthy event that it made the Sydney Morning Herald Newspaper. SLIMS (S) was progressively rolled out during the early 1990s and was to almost become a standard system for Navy, until the ANZAC Frigates were brought into service and along with them another system called Asset Management and Planning System (Procurement Automation). Following the introduction of AMPS (PA) there were two endorsed and approved Inventory Management Systems (IMSs). Reason for Change The RAN at the time had 18 Major Fleet Units (MFUs) of which 11 used SLIMS (S) and 7 used AMPS (PA). It doesn't take much analysis to realise that having part of the Fleet using one system and the other using another, would create problems. A major challenge at the time was training personnel to be confident and competent in both systems. A person could be competent in one system due to subsequent postings to SLIMS (S) ships, only to be posted to an AMPS (PA) ship with little training and no experience. This meant that the individual would have to relearn a complete system in order to be an effective operator. The opposite was also the case, a person could be competent in AMPS (PA) only to be posted to a SLIMS(S) ship and face the same problem. Whilst there were pros and cons of both systems the main issue was the lack of a standard system and related processes, which included training. Process for Change From the introduction of AMPS (PA) there was much discussion on the merits of either system (SLIMS (S) or AMPS (PA) and which one should be the standard. Without getting into too much detail, the simple fact that a single system (whichever one) would be better than two systems, was the logical conclusion. Unfortunately it took many years to achieve a decision, however finally in 2006 the decision was made to convert the ANZAC frigates to SLIMS(S). At the same time direction was given to establish a Business Case to determine a solution for the Minor War Vessels (MWVs) and Collins Class Submarines (CCSMs). SLIMS 2007 During the decision making period SLIMS (S) was developed from a MS DOS based system to a Web Based system, which brought the system in line with the current architecture of other applications. The development included a range of other enhancements such as the ability to produce reports in PDF format for electronic storage. In particular due to the web based nature of the application, remote access through a web browser (Internet explorer) was possible. At this time SLIMS (S) became SLIMS 2007 since there was no longer a requirement to separate it from the engineering module. The MFUs received SLIMS 2007 throughout 2007 and 2008, for the existing SLIMS ships it was an Upgrade, and for the AMPS (PA) ships it was a conversion to the new system. A clever application was developed to draw the data from AMPS (PA) and convert it into SLIMS format. This process converted in excess of 15,000 records in minutes, resulting in all required records such as 'Transaction Histories' from the AMPS (PA) account being retained in SLIMS 2007. SLIMS IN MWVs and CCSMs In order to develop the Business Case for an IMS in MWVs and CCSMs a workshop was conducted in late 2006. This workshop analysed all MWVs and CCSM requirements to maintain an IMS. At the time an IMS was considered to be anything that maintained an inventory record. At one end of the scale there was the BOFP (Back of Fag Packet) system, and at the other was a fully integrated multi user system (AMPS (PA) or SLIMS (S)). As a result of the workshop it was resolved that the Hydrographic ships, Mine Hunter Coastal, and Collin Class Submarines required an IMS. In the cases of the MHCs and HSs units there was an SN that could use the IMS when it was installed. However for the CCSMs there was no SN. A good attempt was made to use SLIMS on a CCSM at this time however there was no dedicated operator (SN) so the trial was not successful. The trial did provide good argument that the Submarines required an SN, and an IMS in order to better manage their inventory. SLIMS -- What's in a name? The Story of a Standardised Logistic Information Management System. BY LCDR T BINNS, RANR Continued next page ...