Project VERITAS is a joint Army HQ and DE&S (Defence Equipment & Support) initiative, to provide a costing and inventory management application aimed at delivering an understanding of Equipment and Logistics costs within a given activity plan.
The idea is to enable informed decision making by utilising the equipment cost information already available within Army HQ and DE&S in order to identify cost drivers and to assess the impact of activity-based decisions on cost. Allan Webb has undertaken the task of populating a Bill of Materials and breakdown structure to generate costings for that platform over the next five years.
Having a platform Bill of Materials that encompasses all platform variations is critical to the VERITAS process. In support of this activity, Allan Webb has been given the task of extracting usable data from the latest equipment publication sets available. These publications are often scanned documents, provided electronically in PDF format, which are converted to a usable Excel format using our in-house team and systems. The results are used to populate VERITAS with platform data, which is the basis of generating on-going cost requirements and enabling BoM generation/comparison exercises. The work is currently focussed primarily on Land Equipment armoured vehicles and Operational Support Programme equipment.
The data extraction process, from varying document formats, involves creating flexible templates to extract the required data from the publication. Once the templates are created and loaded into our bespoke software, our systems automatically begin the Intelligent Document Recognition (IDR) process, the results of which facilitate a final, manual validation of the data. Using IDR software significantly reduces the manual, time-consuming scrutiny of data and increases reliability and accuracy. Once processed through the different verification systems, the documents are reproduced in spreadsheet format, enabling the customer to manipulate and re-format the data as required.
By cleansing the data and reproducing the documents in one set standard we are able to perform clear, concise data analysis, relevant to our client.
“Like most things we do, we always strive to give the customer results above their expectations,” explains Richard Allott, who heads up the Special Projects Team at Allan Webb. “Eight months in, one piece is finished for one of the Project Teams and the whole project is nearing completion. We had two people placed in one of the Project Teams to help them manage and optimise their inventory.”
The next stage will be to look at consolidation of spares inventories. We need to try to cleanse the inventories, looking at the high movers, the non-movers, spares that are no longer fitted to that vehicle because there’s been a modification and try to shift those out, either by reallocating them to something else in MoD that is still using them or by selling them to industry.
The data quality and money saving for the MoD on this project is significant and Allan Webb is pleased to be contributing to this initiative.
The lessons learned and solution developed from this project can be applied, in principle, to any data source and we are now using the data as the basis for cleansing inventory holdings for a number of MoD platforms.