Provisioning is an important and meticulous activity that supports successful fielding and sustainment of any new equipment. Analysts who are responsible for establishing and populating Provisioning data need to have a comprehensive understanding of the equipment and its use. They also need to have an appreciation for other Sustainment program efforts that will utilize the characteristic data in the development of a robust support system. This understanding and appreciation is achieved through the conduct of a Provisioning Guidance Conference (PGC) at the onset of a program.
The PGC is a meeting of stakeholders to ensure all parties have a complete understanding of the scope of the activity and the applicable program requirements. Typically, the Provisioning requirements can be found in GEIA-STD-0007, GEIA-HB-0007, TA-HB-0007-1A, and the program Statement of Work (SOW) and Contract Data Requirements List (CDRL). This meeting should be accomplished as soon as practical. It is often held in conjunction with a program Start of Work or Contract Kickoff meeting, involving the Prime Contractor and the Government. The objective of the PGC, also referred to as the Provisioning Start of Work meeting, is to review the program requirements, guidance documents, and Program Office expectations and to make sure the Prime Contractor’s approach and processes will result in the delivery of error-free provisioning data.
A successful PGC starts with a plan and complete agenda. A chairperson needs to be identified, and consistent with the Chair’s desires, a hosting location and draft schedule should be established. The Chair will also assign development of a meeting agenda that matches the interests of the attendees and can be completed within the schedule. The agenda should include an opportunity for the Government acquisition office to review and explain the intent of the program requirements in the contract, as well as give an overview of expected outcomes of the Provisioning effort (CDRLs). The Prime Contractor should also have the opportunity to ask clarifying questions and present the proposed approach to satisfying the program requirements (including any planned process tailoring), the qualifications of the proposed Analysts, and a detailed schedule for the work to be accomplished that is integrated with program milestones.
It is recommended that a detailed analysis flowchart of the proposed provisioning development process be developed and distributed. The flowchart should include source data inputs, analysis tools to be employed, scheduled reviews with the customer, and deliverable output reports. This process should be based on the Attribute Selection Sheet that defines the provisioning data elements needed to fulfill the program requirements and support each Service’s subsequent efforts to obtain National Stock Numbers (NSNs) for these new parts to the Government’s inventory.
The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) has well-defined expectations related to depth, range, and format of data that characterizes each new part or item being introduced to the Government’s supply system. Implementation of a relational database software tool to capture, maintain configuration control, and format the delivered provisioning data from a Logistics Product Data (LPD) environment is imperative. There are several easy-to-use commercial relational database programs available. As an alternative to commercial software, the Army-developed tool, PowerLOG-J2, is consistent with the current guidance documents and is available for free when working on DoD programs.
Within the LPD database, the provisioning data will need to be structured. The approach to this structuring requires considerable coordination between the Government and Provisioning Analyst(s). While GEIA-STD-0007 provides the majority of provisioning data definitions and allowable coding, there is still considerable room for interpretation. These potential differences in approach to assigning and developing provisioning data within the LPD database will make up the majority of the PGC agenda. Initially, the database structure needs to be defined using Logistics Support Analysis Control Numbers (LCNs) to ensure the integrity of the data and establish the relational database functionality and configuration management. During the PGC, the attendees must establish an LCN structure and format utilizing the 18-character database limit. The following decisions need to be made and appropriate guidance be documented before the PGC ends:
The Government should be prepared to provide the following program-level LPD database data inputs:
The PGC agenda should contain a discussion of the approach to Provisioning Line Item Sequence Number (PLISN) assignment. This discussion should result in guidance to the Provisioning Analyst(s) relative to use of alpha and numeric characters, as well as a reasonable number to “skip” during PLISN assignment to accommodate future additions.
Government input is also warranted when assigning Criticality and Essentiality Codes. These values provide prioritization when DLA is assisting the Program Office in spares planning. The assignment of these codes needs to include a weapon system readiness perspective that can only come from the Service that is fielding the equipment to accomplish a specific mission.
The PGC agenda should wrap up with a discussion of Provisioning deliverables. The discussion and agreed-to guidance will define the deliverable data content, format, and schedule, along with a formal review timetable to ensure that the effort is progressing satisfactorily and that program milestones will be met.
It is critical that all the discussions and resulting paths forward from the PGC be captured and documented as a reference for both Provisioning data developers and reviewers. The provisioning process uses inputs from many sources and the formal guidance has some room for interpretation. For consistency during an extended DoD acquisition program where changes in personnel are inevitable, the results of the PGC become an important baseline for everyone to work from.
Article Authored by Stephen Brunner, ALE Business Director
Learn about how ALE can support Provisioning efforts here.