Lead Materiel Integrator – Decision Support Tool: Provides Total Asset Visibility and Planning Capability Not Previously Available

tim_iraq

Tim Shelton Sr. ProModel Program Manager for Army Programs

With over 6,000 current users, the Lead Materiel Integrator (LMI) Decision Support Tool (DST), developed by ProModel Corporation, is the Army’s sole equipment distribution and redistribution tool.  From sourcing equipment and improving readiness at the tactical level, to cost-based decision making at the strategic level, DST provides the total asset visibility and planning capability that was previously absent to Army staff and materiel managers.

“If you are a Logistician in today’s Army and not talking PSDs [Proposed Sourcing Decisions] you are irrelevant.”  – MG Hurley FORSCOM G4

DST not only consumes and displays authoritative data from multiple systems of record (e.g., LMP, GCSS-A, PBUSE, JMAR, DPAS, AE2S), but it also displays the “due-in” and “due-out” transactions.  This comprehensive picture is needed to provide the complete asset visibility and transactional tracking that enables Army planners and materiel managers to make timely, cost-effective distribution and redistribution decisions.

As the Army has continued to restructure, the predictive analytic capability of the tool has become the backbone of Army planning for equipment redistribution.  DST’s blue sky planning capability allows Army planners to match scheduled force structures with contoured authorizations.  Once that process is completed, the tool runs course-of-action (COA) excursions (i.e., simulations) to identify the best solution for achieving key performance metrics for redistribution of materiel.  Users can define strategies and adjust a multitude of variables to determine the optimal solution.  A few of these variables may include: second-destination transportation cost, modernization of equipment, and pure fleeting of equipment.

The impact of the Army restructuring effort is measured in the redistribution of hundreds of thousands of pieces of equipment. Using ProModel’s application framework, DST allows Army planners to run multiple, future COA excursions.  With the tool’s auto-optimization feature, these excursions optimize misaligned equipment across every major command within the Army.  Then, the blue sky planning feature sources from inactive units, and from pure excesses, to fill any confirmed shortages across the Army.  The flexibility of the tool allows newly activated or converting units to be sourced as priority fills.  This type of in-depth analysis, which previously would have taken months to accomplish, can now be accomplished in hours.  The LMI DST is facilitating the change in an ever-changing Army.

Team ProModel Conquers Ragnar Once Again!

Team ProModel at the Finish Line

Team ProModel at the Finish Line

The 2014 Ragnar Relay Recap…according to Jay Wisnosky, Tim Shelton, and Pat Sullivan

So there’s this event  where 12 people team together, split up runners into two separate vans and then run a 200 mile relay. It’s called the Ragnar Relay.  Yes, that’s how it first gets explained to you…

Then you get more information like, “you’ll have to run about 15-18 miles tops. It’s tough and there’s a lot of hills, but it’s a lot of fun.”  Fun?

https://www.ragnarrelay.com/

“12 friends, 2 vans, 2 days, 1 night, 200 mile relay…unforgettable stories.”  This is Ragnar. Pat Sullivan’s blog about Ragnar began with this quote last year, and I think it summarizes the event for the rest of us still.

But to get a true picture of Ragnar, you really have to put yourself in a white, 15 person passenger van with 5 other people. It’s close quarters in there. It goes from clean one minute to trashed the next and never smells good or is quiet enough to sleep. Some people are your co-workers, some are friends, and some are complete strangers. You then have to imagine you are about run anywhere from 4 to 8 miles – it’s now YOUR turn. Whatever routine you had to get ready to run at home is gone…replace that with stretching in a van surrounded by running shoes and gym bags. This is when you start to get nervous because you’re in unfamiliar territory, you’re excited, but also tired, and there’s a good chance you have to go to the bathroom from all that water you’ve been drinking. This is when you hope you trained enough. This is when you tell yourself that after this leg, you still have two more to go…and you probably won’t be sleeping between them. This is when you say, “what did I get myself….” and then one of your teammates asks, “what do you need? Some water? Something to eat.” And you relax, knowing that the collection of people in that van are with you -they have your back and will help you through it, even if you are wishing you trained for this a lot harder than you actually did.

Kelly handing off to Jason

Kelly handing off to Jason

Another year, another ProModel Ragnar team built on commitment, dedicated teamwork and a great mixture of veteran leadership and new, eager faces.  From October  24-26, Team ProModel meshed as a team in one of America’s most grueling endurance races. The Chattanooga to Nashville Ragnar Relay undoubtedly demanded an often extraordinary level of dedication and sacrifice.  The twelve person 2014 team consisted of team captain Tim Shelton, (ProModel Sr Army Program Manager), Pat Sullivan (ProModel VP for Army Programs),  Dan Hickman (ProModel CTO), Clay Gifford (ProModel Developer for DST), Jay Wisnosky (ProModel Technical Writer for DST) Brian Brown, Susan Whitehead, Sheri Shamwell, Mickelle Penn, Kelly Parker,  Lisa Reyes and Jason Mcormick.  And of course, with a great deal of support and commitment from Keith Vadas and Carl Napoletano…and the incredible effort of Christine Bunker (ProModel marketing) and                                                         our awesome driver (Chief Reyes).

Lisa Reyes kicked off Race day at 07:30 Friday morning at a beautiful waterfront setting on the Tennessee River in Chattanooga.  Each runner was scheduled to follow for three legs during the estimated 34 hours to complete the race.  We planned for each of our 12 runners to complete 16-19 miles each.  The two vans of Team ProModel met briefly through the race, with 5 intersection points where the baton was handed over from one van to the next.

Lisa Reyes going uphill

Lisa Reyes going uphill

Miles and miles passed with each runner facing his or her own set of obstacles. Some ran steep hills (Brian Brown climbed 1300 feet in elevation over 8+ miles with his first leg), or through the wee hours of the night with the sounds of dogs barking (and growling sound machines coming from another van) as Mike Penn would come to experience. Others came down the other side of those steep hills and endured the bright autumn mid afternoon sun – which Pat Sullivan can now vouch that 9 miles of beautiful Tennessee countryside is sometimes blurred by surprising heat.  However, Team ProModel banded together to support each other, as well as other runners from other teams.

 

 

Dan Hickman feeling strong...on his first leg

Dan Hickman feeling strong…on his first leg

There were plenty of laughs in between – often times over snack choices, foot odor, getting passed on the course by 12 year olds, bathroom strategies, sore muscles that make you walk funny, and delusions caused by lack of sleep. We spotted the little known Ragnasaurus, our vans were “branded” with magnets and paint from other teams, some people gained nicknames, and we all learned the value of fast restaurant service and having a bed instead of a gym floor to rest.

Team ProModel made it 198 miles through the mountains, into the rolling hills of Tennessee and eventually to the Music City that is, Nashville. This group grew to become teammates and friends, after starting out with one common goal in mind – just run and have fun! Thanks again for the great support and allowing us to represent ProModel…know you would have been proud.

Susan Whitehead with the Ragnar Bear

Susan Whitehead with the Ragnar Bear

Tim Shelton running his last leg

Tim Shelton running his last leg

 

 

 

 

Lisa Reyes, Brian Brown, Dan Hickman, Tim Shelton, Kelly Parker

Lisa Reyes, Brian Brown, Dan Hickman, Tim Shelton, Kelly Parker  

Knight Runner

Knight Runner

Dan Hickman, Clay Gifford, Pat Sullivan, Tim Shelton, Jay Wisnosky

Dan Hickman, Clay Gifford, Pat Sullivan, Tim Shelton, Jay Wisnosky

Dan Hickman hands off to Tim Shelton

Dan Hickman hands off to Tim Shelton

Team ProModel 2014

Busy Season at ProModel

Keith Vadas

Keith Vadas – ProModel President & CEO

I am pleased to report ProModel’s second quarter was very positive.  Like many businesses in the US we find ourselves on a serious upswing this Summer of 2014.  Our consultants are working on several projects in a variety of industries, including ship building, power management, retail, manufacturing, food processing, and government contracting.  In all of these projects our experienced team of consultants is working to improve efficiency, save money, and make better decisions for their clients.

ProModel’s DOD projects continue to thrive.  It is hard to believe it has been eight years since we started working with FORSCOM (US Army Forces Command)   on AST (ARFORGEN SYNCHRONIZATION TOOL).  LMI-DST (Lead Materiel Integrator – Decision Support Tool) with the LOGSA Team (US Army Logistics Support Activity) is also going strong.  Our agile team of software developers keeps improving the development process within ProModel and it shows. Just recently the NST Airframe Inventory Management Module was Granted Full Accreditation by the Commander, Naval Air Systems Command.

The time is also ripe for opportunities in Healthcare.  Our patient flow optimization capabilities are perfect for helping hospitals and outpatient clinics improve efficiencies.  Now that the Affordable Care Act has been around for a couple of years, its impact is being felt by healthcare organizations around the country.  The expanded insured-base, and the need for improved processes and different care models is making it absolutely necessary to consider the value of modeling and simulation.  ProModel continues to work with several facilities including Presbyterian Homes and Services, and Array Architects who enhance the flow in Healthcare Facilities design by using MedModel simulation in their design processes.

To better support our base of existing customers, we just released ProModel/MedModel 2014 in July and PCS Pro 2014 at the end of Q1.  EPS 2014 (Enterprise Portfolio Simulator) was released in Q2  and includes a new easy to use, web-based rapid scenario planning tool – Portfolio Scheduler.  You can check this tool out online at – http://portfoliostud.io/#.

There continue to be lots of exciting things happening at ProModel.  We have an outstanding team of consultants and software developers-designers just looking for an opportunity to PARTNER with you to help you meet the next business challenge, or solve the next unexpected problem.

ProModel is excited to release AST 6.9!

AST (ARFORGEN Synchronization Toolset) is a custom predictive analytic software platform used by the US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) to source and synchronize Army resources.

AST is now the authoritative system FORSCOM uses to conduct its unit planning and sourcing process in Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN). AST provides the Army with the means to view the predicted impact of today’s sourcing decisions on tomorrow’s utilization of Army personnel moving through ARFORGEN. AST “on screen” capabilities consolidates data from multiple sources, applies existing or “what if” business rules, predicts the outcome, and automatically depicts results thereby eliminating lengthy manual, linear, and presentation based methods previously employed. AST cuts development time for single Courses of Action from days to minutes, while enabling multiple Courses of Action within the same timeframe.

Some of the new features in AST 6.9 include: Improved Sourcing, Army Reserve, Army National Guard, and HQDA integration (tasks, etc.), additional Army Special Forces integration (risk), improved executive-level reporting (scorecard), improved Unit Cycle management, and dozens more enhancements.

ProModel also recently completed a “Financial Costing” proof of principal for FORSCOM that integrated data from AST and the U.S. Army Force Generation Costing Tool (ACT) for analysis in ProModel’s Enterprise Portfolio Simulator (EPS).

Read more about ProModel Custom Solutions and our work with the US Army:

http://www.promodel.com/custom-solutions.asp

http://www.promodel.com/industries/government-department-of-defense.asp#tabbed-nav=tab3

ProModel at the AUSA Winter Symposium and Exposition

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Pat Sullivan – VP, Army Programs

With over 5,700 attendees, and over 200 exhibitors, the annual AUSA Winter Symposium and Exposition kept the ProModel team very well occupied. According to Keith Vadas, ProModel’s CEO, the 2014 AUSA (Association of the United States Army) symposium (held during February 19-21, 2014 in Huntsville, AL) was by far the most productive that ProModel has attended. When asked by LTG(R) Roger Thompson, AUSA Vice President for Membership and Meetings, if ProModel would come back if AUSA decided on Huntsville for next year, Keith responded with an emphatic “Absolutely!”

Taking advantage of the efficiency of having the undivided attention of an AUSA audience, which was four times larger than that of last year’s winter conference, Team Redstone hosted an exceptional small-business seminar the day before the conference. The seminar was hosted by a team comprised of NASA, Army Materiel Command, Missile Defense Agency, and the Strategic Missile Defense Command, along with the Army’s Office of Small Business. This was a great networking opportunity, and it revealed some great information about opportunities for ProModel in DOD and NASA.

On Wednesday, February 18th, the ProModel team entered the exhibit hall with great excitement and a superb opportunity to demonstrate how our custom DOD solutions and Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) products are evolving. Many of the attendees expressed that they were on a continual quest for accurate budgeting projections. The Enterprise Portfolio Simulator (EPS) cost module, which is being piloted as a module of the ARFORGEN Synchronization Toolset (AST) at Forces Command, demonstrated a clear visualization of such projections. This EPS capability assists the Army (and it can assist any organization) in applying cost data at the tactical level.  The EPS module then rolls that data up in a package that reflects enterprise budget estimates, which in turn reflect a variety of demand or demand-fulfillment scenarios.

Four Star General Dennis Via, Commander of the US Army Materiel Command (center right) and Major General (Ret) Freeman from Deloitte (center) visit the ProModel booth and discuss the positive impact that DST-SM is having on the Army Materiel Command.

Four Star General Dennis Via, Commander of the US Army Materiel Command (center right) and Major General (Ret) Freeman from Deloitte (center) visit the ProModel booth and discuss the positive impact that DST-SM is having on the Army Materiel Command.

Another highlight was the demonstration of, and interest in, our COTS products like Process Simulator and EPS. DOD elements and industry are seeking ways to gain greater efficiency and to stretch their limited resources. While force structure is being reduced, missions and the need for continual modernization are not. The expectation of those funding DOD is that the military will be increasingly efficient in the execution of prescribed tasks. Therefore, an understanding of how to generate efficiency through Lean practices and events, and of how to predict equipment life-cycle costs in a peacetime environment, is paramount. Additionally, leaders in DOD expressed how they must apply Lean principles to their processes, identify trade-offs, and understand the downstream impacts of change.

Process and portfolio management are significant across the government sector, and they will become even more necessary during this time of decreasing budgets. EPS and Process Simulator, coupled with ProModel’s customized solutions (AST, LMI DST, and NST), provide the foundation for rapid process improvement, budget estimation, and program management. Thanks to the exceptional hospitality of the Tennessee Valley and the great response by our AUSA hosts, ProModel found in Huntsville some fertile ground that will grow much more than cotton.

Major General Collyar, CG at AMCOM, stops by our booth at the AUSA Winter Symposium to talk with ProModel CEO Keith Vadas (right) and ProModels Director of Navy Programs Robert Wedertz (left)

Major General Collyar, CG at AMCOM, stops by our booth at the AUSA Winter Symposium to talk with ProModel CEO Keith Vadas (right) and ProModels Director of Navy Programs Robert Wedertz (left)

Team ProModel Ragnar Relay: The Experience

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Pat Sullivan – VP, Army Programs

“12 friends, 2 vans, 2 days, 1 night, 200 mile relay…unforgettable stories.”  Ragnar

ProModel continues to demonstrate a commitment to building teams.  Over the past several days (25-27 Oct), Team ProModel grew as friends and athletes in one of America’s most grueling endurance races. The Chattanooga to Nashville Ragnar Relay undoubtedly demanded an often extraordinary level of dedication and sacrifice.  That dedication was played out during the race, but initiated and nurtured during the miles of running our team did in the months leading to the race…well, I must stop here to introduce the entire team, as some members considered their training was                                         an unnecessary crutch.

Team ProModel preparing to leave Huntsville

Team ProModel preparing to leave Huntsville

Ragnar-lockup-blue-backgroundThe twelve person team consisted of team captain Tim Shelton, (ProModel Sr Army Program Manager), Pat Sullivan (ProModel VP for Army Programs),  Brian Brown, Susan Whitehead, Jennifer Harbaugh, Ryan Harbaugh, Robert Brown, Sheri Shamwell, Barry Crocker, Cori Wilkerson, Wes Wilkerson, and Eric DeBolt (the ringer).  And the team could not have run one step had it not been for the commitment of Keith Vadas and Carl Napoletano…and the incredible effort of Christine Bunker (ProModel marketing) and our awesome drivers and support crew (Jim Craft and Kelly Parker).

So, back to the memories… our race day started when we met at our link up point in Huntsville and received our great running gear before loading up our well apportioned vans…the ones we called home for the next several days.  Thanks to our sponsors we had everything one would need…except maybe for a personal masseuse and about three more weeks of training.

Eric “The Lightning” Debolt takes off from the first major exchange point

Eric “The Lightning” Debolt takes off from the first major exchange point

Once on the starting line, in great ProModel fashion, our #1 runner (Robert Brown- a late arrival to the team) voiced the first of what would be many quotable moments. After the race director, announced that “this start represented the culmination of all the months of hard work and training in preparation for Ragnar,” Robert, turned to the team and said “hey, you didn’t say anything about months of training!”

And then the gun went off…at a beautiful waterfront setting on the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, the team was off on our journey.  The plan was set and optimized.  Each runner was scheduled for three legs during the estimated 34 hours to complete the race.  We planned for each of our 12 runners to complete 16-19 miles each. And we delivered…the team completed the Ragnar in under 31 hours!

Jennifer Harbaugh pushes through her last leg through the beautiful horse farms just out side Nashville

Jennifer Harbaugh pushes through her last leg through the beautiful horse farms just out side Nashville

As the sun dropped, the miles faded and the temperature plunged.  Now, some of you may think that running in 25 degrees in the middle of the night is not that cold.  But for a bunch from the south, it was painful.  Couple that with little to no sleep over two days…and the mettle testing of endurance racing was on!

Rob Brown runs in the early morning light as the sun rises and the frost covers the ground. Temperatures dropped 30 degrees overnight

Maybe 25*?

After a cold night, with most pushing through on less than 2 hours sleep, each leg became more punishing… and as the sun rose, Team ProModel made it through the mountains, and into the rolling hills of Tennessee.  With the frost on the ground, the beautiful country side made for a memorable sight as the team passed the 100 mile mark.

Here are a few quotes and observations from the team:

Tim Shelton & Ryan Harbaugh exchange early morning

Tim Shelton & Ryan Harbaugh exchange early morning

“We are two legs up…”  Tim Shelton called in after conferring with the Race Director on our current progress.

“I’m JUST a stay at home Mom…”  An attractive young lady shared with Wes just before their leg.  Once the hand off occurred, she dropped him like a bad habit on her way to averaging 7:15 minute miles.

Eric “the lighting” DeBolt…delivered as promised by turning continual 6:00 minute miles…and then got up early on Sunday to run an “easy” 15 miles at 7:00 minute mile pace.

Jim Craft van driver/team manager/time keeper/ sleepless companion…was often heard mumbling through the night, “this is like herding cats.” 

Pat Sullivan runs through downtown Nashville towards finish line

Pat Sullivan runs through downtown Nashville towards finish line

Pat Sullivan often lost focus…”squirrel!”  What was I saying?

“Just one mile of suck left…”  a common quote Wes shared at each “one-mile to go” marker. 

“Where’s the van…Where’s that “one-mile-to-go-marker.”  Almost everyone racing… J

“Time to get up” says Jim to Barry…”but I never went to sleep.” Replies Barry.

“You are not my favorite person…” Rob says to one of his teammates while seven people tried to get some sleep in a van.

I wrote this somewhat generically…it’s hard to fit in all the stories and express the depth of our appreciation for having the opportunity to represent ProModel.  Thanks again for the great support and allowing us to represent ProModel…know you would have been proud.

Cori Wilkerson runs through the Tennessee hill country

Cori Wilkerson runs through the Tennessee hill country

Brian Brown running towards his first exchange point

Robert Brown “hey, you didn’t say anything about months of training?!”

Susan Whitehead pushes up hill as Team ProModel makes its way through the Tennessee mountains!

Susan Whitehead pushes up hill as Team ProModel makes its way through the Tennessee mountains!

ProModel Welcomes Col (Ret) Pat Sullivan

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Pat Sullivan – VP of Army Programs

Over the past 28 years, I have served our Nation as a member of the Armed Forces with great pride.  I enjoyed being a Soldier, and continually sought ways to grow as a Soldier and leader.  And now, I am honored to join the great team at ProModel!  I can think of no better professional fit for my background. I am convinced ProModel understands the challenges Army planners and logisticians face…and have an exceptional product and capable team at the ready to solve the toughest problem sets.

As a career logistician, I always sensed we could do just a little bit better with regard to how we supported customers and cared for the entrusted resources available.  The issue was often what we referred to as “brute-force” logistics.  We continually employed additive techniques to support a system that often prevented us from fully visualizing our process and anticipating the impacts of certain change.

Whether establishing logistics hubs during major exercises in Thailand or building based camps in Iraq during Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, I intuitively knew we could apply a more scientific approach.  We understood the tenants of supply chain management and even specified “anticipation” as a logistics imperative.  However, when I served as a National Guard Battle Command Training Program logistics trainer, I always struggled with how to answer the inevitable question of how do we know our log process works and how can we test the impacts of the anticipated change.  You see, we had developed a process for what to anticipate, but we had next to nothing to do figure out what the resulting change would mean to readiness.

I can provide countless examples of planning efforts that involved spreadsheets, Post-It notes, and Power Point charts that proved insufficient in supporting the execution.  The fog of war was only cleared through the extreme efforts of Soldier logisticians who facilitated our processes and closed the gaps of the unknown. It became second nature to augment our supply chain with additional resources to enhance efficiency. The Army is good at it…

However, as we move forward the technique may out run available resources. In other words, we won’t likely have Soldiers to support such facilitation.  Therefore, we have gone back to the drawing board to get smarter.  Over the past several years, we learned that if we have a model to track the flow of our supply chain, we can simulate the process and enhance effectiveness and efficiency.  The Responsible Retrograde from Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq and the on-going efforts in retrograding supplies and equipment from Afghanistan are examples.  While the Army supply chain isn’t fully optimized…the visibility, tracking and understanding of the “why” behind condition changes is much more refined.

The next natural step was to leverage modeling and simulation, coupled with some big data analytic techniques, to vertically integrate the most complex tasks we perform.   In my role as Commander, US Army Materiel Command Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA), it was optimizing equipment supply against validated requirements.  This was no small feat…

The Army did have a jumpstart on the demand as US Forces Command, in conjunction with ProModel, developed the ARFORGEN Synchronization tool to tell us what units were deploying and when.  The next step was to extract a 1 to N demand signal by unique type of equipment.  That’s when the work really started.   When we applied available supply to prioritized demands and visualized over time the transactional volume was seemingly overwhelming…that is when you look at it in aggregate. When we looked at it in terms of execution, we found the efficiency gained would provide immediate value as it related to Army readiness…And that we could reduce the # of planners by nearly 100.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not to say the Army has been totally deficient in using modeling and simulation in support of our supply chain.  Rather, the beauty of this effort was to move from traditional methodology and look at the problem through a new lens.  We expanded the aperture…created a new playing field and entered the world of 21st Century supply chain management best business practices.

So, at the corporate level, the Army has developed capability that has value as it relates to facilitating unit readiness.  Some value exists at the tactical level, but at the lowest levels, executors don’t have the tools to exploit the real power of modeling and simulation.

That’s why I like ProModel.  Sorry for the cliché, but if we consider the possibilities…if we put usable tools…advanced, tailor-able, flexible modeling and simulation capabilities in the hands of those who must make decisions rapidly, then we are clearing their schedule for other more critical tasks.  Whether a forward support battalion planner, Lean Six Sigma Black belt or Department of the Army resource analyst, immediately accessible and easily usable modeling and simulation capacity will ensure we make better decisions.  Collectively, we need to spend more time analyzing answers and visualizing the opportunities, and less time compiling data into Power Point charts that rarely answer “what happened” much less “why it happened.”  I’m convinced ProModel can help Defense customers understand the possibilities in enhancing readiness and inject greater efficiency into our decision cycle.