Employees create computer programs with far-reaching impact
December 17, 2007
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. - Four military installations have requested copies of three computer applications created by depot employees.
Consolidated Action Register Tracking System (CARTS), Customer Satisfaction Survey and the Mass Transportation Benefits Program (MTBP) system are applications that were developed for depot use by Information Management Directorate (DOIM) employees. Other installations have requested these applications for their own use.
"CARTS is a computer application that was born out of corporate philosophy," says Audrey Bandru, co-creator of the application. Bandru is an information technology specialist in DOIM's Architecture, Systems and Application Design Division.
CARTS was designed to standardize the way organizations communicate. It aids the depot's communication strategy via a formalized process by which information is distributed throughout organizations. Because it is part of Corporate Philosophy, it uses a systematic approach to reach desired business outcomes, which has helped the depot transform from a traditional to a team-based organization.
"We put [CARTS] through a testing phase designed to iron out bugs and we found out what works and what doesn't work," noted Bandru. The testing phase lasted six months.
"We had to make sure that everyone was on board with the concept because many people would be using the application," says Bandru.
She and Cathy Fulk began implementing the application in 2001. Fulk is now the division chief. The application was redesigned as a intranet Web application by Timi Robertson and Bandru in 2004 for use by all organizations. Robertson is an information technology specialist in DOIM.
Users can assign, view and enter tasks to their organization or other organizations as a way to keep track of them, says Bandru. Personnel also receive notifications pertaining to their organization's action register when they log into CARTS.
Upon request, the application was packaged and shipped to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and Watervliet Arsenal, N.Y.
The Customer Satisfaction Survey is an application used by depot customers to rate product quality satisfaction, skill level of depot teams and communication with the depot. The application also includes an option for customers to suggest improvements.
The survey was further developed from a previous application to fit the needs of the Customer Focus Team and the Business Management Directorate, says Ruth Wood. She and Robertson redeveloped the survey in July 2005 by adding e-mail and reporting functions to create a more user-friendly application. Wood is an information technology specialist in DOIM.
"This was the first depot computer application that was uploaded to the Internet, which made it a little challenging," says Wood. The team tested the application for six months, making modifications as it was being tested, before releasing it.
The application was distributed to Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
Under the Army Mass Transportation Benefit Program, federal agencies established benefit programs to reduce federal employees' contribution to traffic congestion and air pollution, and to expand commuting alternatives.
The MTBP system is an Access database that tracks and maintains data for depot vanpools. Over 1,900 depot employees participate in the Army Mass Transportation Program, making it the largest outside of the District of Columbia area.
The Resource Management Directorate uses the application to report to the Department of Transportation Army Audit Agency.
"The system was created as a result of a Lean event undertaken by the Mass Transportation Division in an attempt to facilitate the delivery of vouchers to program recipients," says Frank Chabala, developer of the application. Chabala is an information technology specialist in DOIM. Chabala began developing the application during the event in 2005.
"The application was developed because of a rapid increase in requirements in tracking vouchers," says Larry Trygar. "It took eight months to create the application, which included a three month testing phase that was designed to capture new vans at the beginning of the fiscal year." Trygar is an information technology specialist in DOIM and currently maintains the MTBP system.
"The new process, along with the Web-enabled interface and database, has proven to save time and money," says Chabala. Less people were required to come for pick-up, while the MTBP system created enhanced voucher tracking on the recipient level.
"Archives can now be maintained for future reference," adds Chabala. Because of system interconnectivity with other depot applications, the amount of human error is reduced because program managers select personnel from an automated list. Also, through the MTBP system, an interface was built with the intranet to automatically post the next voucher distribution.
The application was recently requested for use by the CECOM Life Cycle Management Command, Fort Monmouth, N.J.
"Someone at CECOM read an article off the Army Web site about the application," says Leo Chan, Fort Monmouth representative. Chan will review the MTBP system and decide if CECOM will be able to utilize it.
The application is in the process of being prepared for delivery to CECOM.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is the Defense Department's largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna's missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.
About 5,300 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command. Headquartered at Fort Monmouth, N.J., the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control, computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.