Computer Procurement:

Hardware Upgrades for Navy Inventory Control System Should Be Delayed

IMTEC-89-67: Published: Sep 29, 1989. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 1989.

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Samuel W. Bowlin
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GAO reviewed the Navy's plans for a $22.1-million upgrade to its Uniform Inventory Control Point System (UICP), focusing on the: (1) data the Navy used to justify the upgrade; and (2) Navy's thoroughness in evaluating ways to improve the performance of its existing UICP resources. UICP supports inventory management functions for the Navy Aviation Supply Office (ASO) and the Navy Ship Parts Control Center (SPCC).

GAO found that: (1) the Navy UICP project office estimated that it would need to double its processing capacity by 1991 and increase ASO and SPCC storage capability by 27 percent and 48 percent, respectively; (2) the estimates overstated growth projections by inappropriately aggregating work-load estimates, ignoring distinctions between usage volume at various times of the day, using incomplete applications design data, and failing to consider recent capacity enhancements; (3) the UICP software development schedule slipped by 17 months, for which the Navy failed to account in its growth estimates; (4) revised work-load estimates double-counted the work-load increase associated with use of a new query language and were not supported by actual work-load trends; and (5) the Navy could improve its use of existing resources by rescheduling some processing work, moving some applications to other computers, reducing processing time for system management applications, modifying system processing priorities, and improving the UICP job entry system.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) agreed that the planned upgrades for UICP need to be reassessed and has undertaken such an assessment. MAISRC was held in March 1990, but results are unknown.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to defer the planned $22.1-million computer upgrade of UICP until the project office has adequately justified the need for the new hardware. Justification should include: (1) valid work-load projections and complete application design information to forecast resource requirements; and (2) thorough performance evaluations to ensure that existing UICP system resources are being effectively used before the purchase of additional hardware is approved. In the interim, hardware purchases should be approved on a case-by-case basis only if the project office clearly demonstrates that current ASO and SPCC operations would be jeopardized if the purchases were delayed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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