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Effective Process Automation Drives Amentum’s Nextgen Supply Chain Management
TOPICS & CATEGORIES
Amentum, a premier leader in global engineering, project management and solutions integration, is creating supply chain management (SCM) solutions to automate processes that would reduce or eliminate error-prone, structured processes.
“The increasing complexities of a connected world and persistent federal budgetary pressures call for innovation and a different way of managing complex processes and operations,” said Prachi Sukhatankar, vice president, Technology Solutions. “Processes that involve end-to-end supply chains and inventory control are no exception to that.”
Amentum’s Smart Sustainment project provides a wholistic, integrated and tailored capability levering industry leading expertise, processes and technologies to deliver superior service with maximum cost effectiveness.
As Amentum works toward smart sustainment, it is delivering maintenance and logistics solutions that inject innovation to efficiently manage assets. Leveraging its industry-leading expertise, processes, and technology, Amentum is ensuring the availability and reliability of its government and commercial clients’ vital equipment. These innovative technology solutions, repeatable processes, and expertise ensure operational readiness and extend the life of operational and training platforms.
Complementing its supply chain management solutions, Amentum provides increased value and efficiencies to its customers, and has also applied its advanced process automation capability to this domain. This in turn changes the paradigm of process automation from being a back-office innovation to a mission-oriented one.
“Our advanced process automation capability provides a proven approach to create efficiencies and generate capacity through the use of our robotic process automation/intelligent automation technology and our Center of Excellence,” said Sukhatankar. “We believe the most effective automation solutions are those that complement existing domain expertise, helping streamline and optimize routine business tasks. We want to apply this capability to strengthen our customers’ missions by enhancing the customer experience and improving compliance, standardization, and auditing, thereby saving labor hours and allowing existing staff to focus on critical activities such as process improvements, analysis, and decision making.”
One example is the collaboration between Amentum’s technology office and procurement department, which designed and deployed a bot using this capability, powered by its vendor partner UiPath, a leader in intelligent automation.
The bot automated many repetitive manual steps for supply chain-related web searches. The bot captured results and screenshots, compiled all information into a single report, and stored all artifacts. It interfaced with procurement’s intranet site for request intake, report uploads and user notifications, and implemented a queuing mechanism, error handling and adjustments to manage the variability in responses and delays from external websites.
The solution created value by allowing staff to focus on decision making, introduced process standardization, and improved auditing. Staff managing both subcontractors and vendors were given access to the storage, which acted as a central information repository and helped reduce redundancies.
Amentum, as part of a long-standing partnership with the United States Army and Coalition forces, utilizing its Smart Sustainment project, successfully managed, and provided support operations under the EAGLE Afghanistan Program (formerly the Maintenance and Operational Support Contract – Afghanistan (MOSC-A) program). The program team performed a wide range of activities in support of the 401st Army Field Sustainment Brigade and the Army Field Support Battalion (AFSBn-AFG).
Amentum facilitated the Army’s troop buildups, theater redistributions and retrograde operations, while maintaining a wide range of tactical vehicles, weapons platforms, and communications systems. During this time the Amentum team built a close relationship with its DoD partners while providing key support services to 38,000 military personnel across 53 unique base locations, during a time of fluid mission and operational changes. Amentum’s Smart Sustainment project supports the management and maintenance of nearly $3B in U.S. government property overseeing the lateral transfer, turn in, and issuance of all theater property assets with 100 percent accountability.
Amentum supports two of the U.S. Army’s prepositioned stock locations – in Europe (Germany and Poland) and the Middle East (Kuwait and Qatar). Through this program, it supports the readiness of our forces by maintaining and storing their equipment in forwarding locations, ready to go as required. In order to achieve this goal, Amentum simultaneously performs program management, transportation, warehousing, inventory control, field-level maintenance, and equipment obsolescence management. Prior to deployment – either in training or combat operations – Amentum provides kitting, testing, and repair/replace services to ensure that troops receive the equipment they need to accomplish the mission.
Army pre-positioned stocks (APS) are vital components of total Army readiness. They provide the speed of response for geographic combatant commanders to execute operation plans and conduct contingency operations worldwide until air and sea lines of communication can be established. Pre-positioned stocks are located at or near the points of planned use, reducing the initial strategic lift required for power projection to enable the fight until the theater matures. Using APS is essential to creating tactical and technical overmatch in a geographic combatant command area of responsibility and to countering immediate threats.
Amentum maintains the equipment entrusted to them in accordance with Army-established standards such as the TM-10, TM-20 technical manuals. They utilize advanced logistics management and equipment maintenance software such as Amentum’s own SupplyTRACSM, combined with RFID tags to ensure transparency and ownership of outcomes all the while following the Army’s standards for Care of Supplies in Storage (COSIS). SupplyTRACSM allow them to manage, store, and maintain 114,000+ pieces of equipment in Europe including heavy equipment such as the M1, M2A3/M3A3, and M106 Fleets, and process over 1,400 separate receiving/shipping transactions every month while following ISO 9001:2015 standard. As the force posture continues to change and with APC facilities being realigned to support these changes, SupplyTRACSM has been key in allowing Amentum to move equipment and support infrastructure to meet these new operational goals.
There are additional areas where SCM solutions benefit from automation range from inventory tracking, proactive scheduling of work orders, invoice processing, price/vendor lookups and comparisons, and routing between delivery partners. Here are a few insights, based on Amentum’s work:
Re-skilling and training should not be an afterthought.Advances in process automation provide its stakeholders with the ability to have staff re-skilled so that they can focus on other aspects of the business. This needs to be baked into the overall automation planning and development. Once developed, the bots act as digital workers or helpers, which means stakeholders need to be trained on what to expect and how best to use the bots.
Think resiliency.There is a tradeoff to be made between lean supply chains and resilient supply chains, especially if the latter is built via inventory buffers and alternative partners. This is where automation can potentially shine by collecting data, researching options, and making decisions on-the-fly across the alternatives.
There is an elegance in simplicity.Bots work well for automating processes with manual tasks that require non-judgmental decisions and have structured steps. Start simple, find the sweet spot of good return on investment first. Think big to unleash the power of artificial intelligence technologies as a path to intelligent automation.
By implementing solutions that will yield continuous improvements and added features in future years, Amentum is helping its customers also derive near-term benefits, including freeing staff for high-value tasks, improved delivery, error reduction and quality, better compliance and auditing, knowledge management and retention, and transparency in operations.
Amentum strives for excellence through deep customer focus, discovery, investments in and application of advanced technologies, aligning those with its key customer markets to serve their important missions in a low-risk, agile fashion.
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