LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
The Air Force is in the midst of an historical transformation. The way the Air Force is organized and the ways that airpower is employed are changing in revolutionary ways. Changing too are the ways in which Air Force logisticians provide support to warfighters.
The Expeditionary Combat Support System is the cornerstone enabler of the logistics transformation effort. Using an Enterprise Resource Planning software solution, ECSS is applying best commercial practices and using industry-proven tools to establish the Air Force's first capability to globally view and manage its logistics resources (major end items, materiel, people and funds).
But ECSS is much more than an information technology system. It will fundamentally change business processes, personnel roles and jobs across the spectrum of the Air Force logistics community. Locally, ECSS will drive dramatic changes and improvements in the way logistics is done.
For example, the process of scheduling a repair currently means setting a repair date at the base level without the ability to ensure technicians, parts, facilities and tools are available Air Force-wide. With ECSS, an integrated global view of people and parts availability will ultimately increase the availability of repaired components and major end items. Air Force logisticians will have what they need to make repairs when scheduled under ECSS.
Air Force logisticians collectively rely on paper forms and enter data into multiple base-level systems. This labor-intensive effort will be replaced by entering data once into one system. When fully implemented, ECSS will replace hundreds of logistics information systems and will be the single source of truth for logistics information.
While it will be several years before ECSS reaches full operational capability and its benefits are fully realized, the implementation process is already underway. That process will affect Joint-Base San Antonio very soon.
ECSS will be fielded throughout the Air Force in multiple releases and JBSA will see ECSS fielded in May 2012. While that may seem to be a part of the distant future, the reality is that we need to begin preparing for ECSS now.
To help with that preparation, the ECSS program conducted its kickoff meeting with Joint Base San Antonio leaders and ECSS users Monday. During that meeting, ECSS program officials delivered an informational and educational briefing about ECSS, its goals, program timelines and how the Air Force will be affected. The kickoff represented the beginning of the ECSS organizational change management program, which is designed to help prepare everyone for this transformation effort.
The changes will not be easy, as long-standing ways of doing business will either dramatically change or completely disappear. ECSS will pull people from their comfort zones and cause them to do new tasks in different, unfamiliar ways. To help logisticians navigate these changes, the ECSS program will provide education and training programs for those who will use the new system. An Air Force-wide change agent network, supported by an ECSS program team, will share information on ECSS activities, schedules and lessons learned and conduct local problem-solving meetings to help smooth implementation at each installation. This same network will support the sustainment of ECSS after fielding is completed.
ECSS will drive changes in the way the Air Force does business and the way logisticians perform their jobs. The result will be an Air Force enterprise better enabled to provide its warfighters the right materiel at the right time. ECSS will also enable logisticians to use their time more productively, significantly reducing the cost of accomplishing the Air Force Logistics mission.
For more information call Grace Cormier at 473-3831, or visit www.ecss.wpafb.af.mil
(Courtesy of 802nd Logistics Readiness Squadron)