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By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2004-08-09 Print this article Print

SAP recommended that the Army purchase a version of the Walldorf, Germany, companys R/3 applications suite but also deploy the newer MySAP suite.

"Were doing developmental licenses on [R/3], then well implement MySAP ERP," said Zoppa.

Like many things military, the overall vision for changing the Armys logistics system is defined in an acronym: SALE, or Single Army Logistics Enterprise. This will link the MySAP applications running at GCSS with those running at another Army project, called the Logistics Modernization Program.

The two systems will integrate through a hub called PLM Plus, which will use SAPs NetWeaver integration platform—the "Plus" being NetWeavers Exchange Infrastructure for integration and Master Data Management modules to harmonize and centrally manage data.

While the Army looked at about 30 ERP providers and finally boiled its decision down to the top three—SAP, Oracle Corp. and PeopleSoft Inc.—the Army went with SAP because it was already solving what Zoppa called "moving" supply chain issues. The Army also tapped SAP because the software company was already developing technology, called Force Element, for the German army. Force Element enables units to move around while still maintaining a connection to some systems.

"If you think of ERP software in its very basic form, companies use it to manage warehouses and plants," said Zoppa, in Washington. "But a soldier is not an element or a plant. Theyre a human being. He walks around the battlefield with a gun, supplies, and he has personal data about him. We want to be able to take a soldier and reassign him [or her] if possible, and we want his personal [information] and equipment to go with him."

"The bottom line is replacing [the Armys homegrown] ERP with a commercial ERP has never been done before. Its really cutting-edge," Zoppa said. "I can tell you that no one has implemented SAP the way we are about to do it, and we are going to transform logistics."

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