JUNE 23, 2015, NORFOLK (NNS) – When USS Wasp (LHD 1), USS Cole (DDG 67), USS James E. Williams (DDG 95), USS New Hampshire (SSN 778), members of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Expeditionary Strike Group 2 (ESG 2) completed Fleet Week Port Everglades last month, more than 8,805 guests had toured America’s ships and 2,351 Sailors and Marines had experienced the city’s southern hospitality.
Fleet Week Port Everglades concluded for most on May 10, but for supply corps personnel there was still work to be done. The process of setting up a port visit is complex, with thousands of items procured or leased through husbanding agents, ranging from pilot services to supplies; barriers to manage tour routes; cell phones, vehicles, and more.
Procurement and payment processes for Logistics Request (LOGREQs) have historically been done at the local ship level, but soon there will be a new way to pay for these and other items and port services using Procure-to-Pay (P2P), an off-ship payment process. In fact, the entire end-to-end husbanding process is being revamped, of which P2P is the final step.
With the old process, the Navy contracted with a regional husbanding service provider (HSP). The ship sent a LOGREQ directly to the HSP vendor and upon pulling into port, the HSP provided the goods and services requested. The HSP gave the ship an invoice, the supply department reviewed and processed it, and the disbursing officer paid the husbanding agent directly. Often times it’s a rushed process that can put undue pressure on the supply department to get the goods and services paid for before pulling out of port. Additionally, the invoices received from the vendor were often estimates and not final bills.
Under the new system, there is still a regional HSP contract; however, now ships send a standardized-by-ship class LOGREQ to their respective numbered fleet to review and approve the items and services requested. Any deviation from the standardized list must be justified and approved. A Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) warranted contracting officer gets a quote for the requested goods and services from the husbanding agent and places the order for the ship after determining that the prices are fair and reasonable.
When the ship pulls into port, the supply department can now focus on ensuring they have received all the items and services they’ve requested. Accuracy is key, particularly for services that are based on volume, like water or waste removal. Designated receipt inspectors ensure that the quantity being received matches the quantity on the vendor receipts.
Before the husbanding agent is paid, a “three-way match” must take place. The supply department provides the ship’s receipt information, with quantities circled, signed by the supply officer and dated, to the numbered fleet contracting officer representative (COR) who then compares it against the original contract. The third piece is the invoice submitted by the husbanding agent into the online Invoicing, Receipt, Acceptance, and Property Transfer (iRAPT) system used for validating invoices and certifying for payment. After verifying that the contract, receipt, and invoice all match, Defense Financing and Accounting Service (DFAS) One-Pay pays the service provider via electronic funds transfer (EFT) straight to the vendor’s bank account.
The new system will prevent ships from being overcharged for services they receive or charged for items or services they did not accept. HSPs will no longer be paid directly by the ship, which will allow supply departments to focus their efforts on ensuring accurate receipts and allow them to execute a successful port visit.
So far, a patrol craft, destroyer, amphibious assault ship and a submarine have tested the new P2P process. USS Wasp used P2P during their visit to Port Everglades for Fleet Week in May.
“P2P was very effective on our recent port visit to New Orleans,” said Cmdr. Jose Feliz, USS Wasp supply officer. “The process helped ease some of the administrative steps my supply department had to take associated with the port visits.”
Over the next few months, a carrier, cruiser, mine countermeasure ship, littoral combat ship, dock landing ship, and amphibious transport dock will continue to test the process in U.S. 5th Fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet and throughout the United States.