USMC Streamlines Provisioning and Cataloging with Appian

Ray Wulff, Industry Leader, Global Defense Programs, Appian
April 27, 2021

On March 5, 2021, the United States Marine Corps (USMC) launched the CATALYST application. The CATALYST application integrates the people, processes, and data involved in the USMC weapon systems repair, part provisioning, and cataloging. 

Provisioning and cataloging are critical logistics support processes. They help connect the iterative acquisition and logistics sustainment life cycle management processes for weapon systems and equipment.

This game-changing application integrates with a number of USMC systems (GCSS-MC and TFSMS) as well as two segments of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Federal Logistics Information System (FLIS).

 

The foundational USMC product data generated is critical to and leveraged for nearly all logistics activities across the enterprise. It also drives enterprise-level investment and divestment decisions and has a significant effect on weapon system costs, schedule, performance, and equipment readiness. 

Early in the program, the USMC laid out the following product vision proof points, which drove its implementation:

  • Implement a cloud-based, low-code, rapid application development and data platform.
  • Use the platform to build an application for the acquisition logistics and product support community to streamline and largely automate the provisioning and cataloging processes, improve data quality and visibility, and transform the user experience.
  • Plan future projects to rapidly redesign and integrate logically grouped legacy system and application functions and design features to automate new, unsupported business process segments, fast.
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To meet this challenge, CATALYST implemented automated business rules to determine the types of transactions that should be submitted to FLIS for any new parts uploaded to the system. These automation rules were built based on requirements gathering from USMC and DLA FLIS subject matter experts.

Automation greatly reduced the amount of research USMC and DLA catalogers must do to determine which transactions should be submitted to FLIS based on the data provided to the equipment specialists. Additionally, the introduction of CATALYST allowed the whole team of catalogers at DLA dedicated to doing this research to be reassigned to focus on more value-added activities. 

“Anytime you can enable the subject matter experts to make a process more efficient, it is a win-win for everyone. The key here is the ability to leverage the power of automation and the cloud, while still easily integrating with legacy systems internally and externally.” - Appian USMC lead Carrie Kulp-Hanna

CATALYST is the only application that is fully compliant with both the current Department of Defense data standard (4140.26 Vol 6) and the DLA FLIS Customer Data Schema.

By leveraging the Appian Low-code Automation Platform, the USMC decreased time and effort spent reconciling information between equipment specialists and cataloguers and freed up resources to support other important USMC and DLA efforts. The CATALYST application is yet another step in the USMC journey to modernizing existing processes and ensuring all resources are being used to their full potential.