ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. - Managers at Anniston Army Depot drew from the experience of six experts in enterprise resource planning, or ERP, on Dec. 14 when the depot's first LMP panel discussion was held.

LMP is the Army's Logistics Modernization Program. It's an ERP system scheduled to replace the Standard Depot System at ANAD in October 2010. Three other depots within Army Materiel Command are already using LMP.

The LMP Office started a communications campaign last year to target all depot employees, but the panel discussion, in particular, was aimed at top leaders, directors, supervisors and process managers.

"We've been throughout the industrial complex talking about LMP and making everyone aware of its importance, but this panel was an opportunity for the leaders to receive the uncompromising facts from the experts, our contractor support team. These panelists know what works and what doesn't when implementing LMP," said Gilda Knighton, business transformation manager for LMP at ANAD.

Because these experts work with companies like Computer Science Corporation and SAP America, they come to the depot with practical knowledge of ERP systems and the software-SAP-that will be used with LMP. Currently, the contractors have offices on depot where they're working alongside Army civilians preparing for a successful LMP deployment.

Panelists touted topics like master data, training, integration, discipline, accuracy, communication and top-down leadership.

Jerry Jones, a program manager with Robbins-Gioia, pointed out reasons that an ERP system fails, with 'failure' described as "bad data going into the system." He said executives and managers must adopt LMP as their management system. "You must never forget that education and training are imperative for a successful go-live event," he said.

Knighton said the directors are beginning to ask more questions about LMP's influence on their organizations.

It's important for each manager to understand how LMP will affect his or her organization, said Rodney Sweat with CSC, the company hired by the U.S. Army to supply Army Materiel Command with LMP. "Master data is the heart of the system," he said. "And, you've got to know what to measure."

One of Sweat's CSC colleagues, Mike Conley, shared a list of areas that are impacted by a missed transaction within LMP: materials management, warehouse management, production, planning, financials and costing.

"Inaccuracies grow," said Conley. "The initial inventory load has to be as accurate as absolutely possible. It all works together."

"LMP will increase the visibility of material available for programs and decrease the possibility for mistakes when procuring material for those programs," said Kelly Clopton, indirect support manager for M1 Abrams tanks.