DOD Automated Materials Handling Systems--Need To Standardize and Follow GSA ADPE Approval Process

LCD-80-49: Published: Apr 24, 1980. Publicly Released: Apr 24, 1980.

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Improvements are needed in the Department of Defense's (DOD) acquisition and management of automated materials handling systems for its supply distribution depots. DOD activities are procuring and planning to procure automated systems without adequately exploring the potential for standardizing the software used in these systems. Duplication of software is costly in both in terms of initial investment and in continuing costs of maintaining a variety of unique systems.

Congress has directed DOD to eliminate overlapping and duplicating functions whenever and wherever possible, particularly in the areas of supply and automated data processing. DOD activities continue to buy computers as components of automated materials handling systems without complying with the General Services Administration's (GSA) approval process. Several million dollars could be saved by standardizing software. DOD took a first step toward standardization in a 1978 task order which established a program to develop and maintain a standard warehousing and shipping automated system for its distribution depots. This standard system would automate certain functions that take place in the depots but would not control materials handling equipment. GAO believes that including the automated materials handling systems in the standard system, thereby, making them subject to the review and approval process described in the task order, would be one way of achieving the desired standardization.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should instruct activities that general purpose computers acquired as integral components of automated materials systems must be procured in accordance with the GSA approval process established under P.L. 89-306. Also, he should modify the 1978 task order to specifically include automated materials handling systems at supply distribution depots as part of the DOD standard warehousing and shipping automated system, or require that all such systems not under contract be submitted to one central DOD focal point for review and approval to ensure that maximum standardization of the systems' software is achieved.

    Agency Affected:


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