By by Daniel P. Elkins, Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs OfficeMarch 2, 2015
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- (March 2, 2015) Today's fiscal landscape requires that leaders and resource managers across the Army possess the most accurate and up-to-date acquisition data available to maximize the use of their budgets.
Helping meet that need for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command staff at the Presidio of Monterey, California, is the use of the Contracting Tactical Operations Center database application.
"It is not uncommon for the office to get multiple inquiries on the status of various actions being worked," said Todd Bales, a contracting officer who helped lead the implementation of the database at MICC-POM. "Now with CTOC, it is quite easy to conduct a quick find within the system to be able to determine the status of the project at any time within just several minutes."
Originally developed for use by MICC-Fort Belvoir, Virginia, CTOC is now in use command-wide and provides online, real-time procurement insight inclusive of varied organizational perspectives, offering increased situational awareness of procurement actions throughout their respective life cycles.
Developers intended the application to replace a legacy approach that had become labor intensive and time-consuming.
"It wasn't uncommon for multiple spreadsheets to be circulating within the office in an attempt to capture the actual work being performed by the MICC-POM team," Bales said. "With the implementation of CTOC, those spreadsheets have been discontinued, allowing for a single point of status for all on-going projects. Today, instant, on-the-fly reports can be generated to answer questions required by management."
According to Lt. Col. Maria Schneider, the commander of MICC-Fort Belvoir, CTOC also aides in defining workload priorities and properly allocating resources while emphasizing organizational and individual accountability and risk assessment.
Bales added that such features allow his contracting team to monitor due dates from within the post-award tab of the program.
"Gone should be the days of dates 'slipping' by without proper notification to the contractor of the government's intent to exercise an option," said Bales, explaining that the application tracks when the contracting staff should contact requiring activities for their intents to re-solicit contracting actions. "This feature, along with the ability to place planned actions into the program prior to receiving an actual purchase request will make it much easier to stay on top of key dates to help manage the work flow."
Implementation of CTOC at MICC-POM got underway in September 2014. Its success in supporting customers today did come with challenges that the contracting staff came together to overcome. Bales said the first was verifying and inputting missing information during the initial import of data from other acquisition sources.
"This has largely been an individual effort by contract specialists to clean up the records that have been assigned to them," he said. "The work is ongoing and over time will be completed as each record is touched for either post-award administration or closeout."
The second was a limitation of initial training to one day. Since that time, online training and the availability of a local system user has filled the instruction gap until further training is available.
Cyp LaPorte, the chief of contract plans and programs for the MICC and program manager for CTOC across the MICC enterprise, said officials here intend to conduct a training workshop this spring for select individuals from each office whose backgrounds on database systems lend them to serve as a technical and functional expert for their respective offices.
The final and somewhat unique challenge for MICC-POM was the need for leadership to identify records for Army Reserve acquisitions as part of a workload migration to MICC-Moffett Field, California. Bales said a script developed by the CTOC team served as a good initial scrub of records, but files continue to be found by contract specialists. Work is underway to develop an additional script that will address the issue.
MICC-Presidio of Monterey is responsible for providing contracting support to a variety of customers including the installation garrison, Defense Language Institute and Defense Manpower Data Center. In fiscal 2014, the office executed more than 360 contract actions worth more than $55 million, including more than $12.9 million to small businesses. The contracting office also managed more than 4,548 Government Purchase Card Program transactions in fiscal 2014 valued at an additional $2.4 million.