All 10 NAVSEA Warfare Center Divisions soon will be using the Electronic Cost Reporting and Financial Tracking (eCRAFT) Enterprise (E2) software for post-award contract management, providing contracting officer’s representatives (CORs) with the ability to compare contractor charges against funding plans. E2 achieved a significant milestone in early March when the system was officially granted “final operating capability” by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).
In 2014, Donald F. McCormack, executive director of the Warfare Centers, saw the value in eCRAFT’s features and directed the system, which had been cited as a best practice by NAVSEA’s Contracts Directorate (SEA 02), to be implemented across all Divisions to enhance and streamline contract surveillance and performance monitoring.
In order to properly roll out the system, the legacy eCRAFT program, in use at NUWC Newport Division for years, needed modernization. Led by computer scientist and project manager William Gross, the Newport team worked with acquisition subject matter experts to compile a list of requirements. Some of the enhancements include a new user interface, obtaining authoritative contract data to significantly reduce data entry, and data filtering to ensure need-to-know access. In June 2016, the team began developing E2. On schedule and under budget, E2 was completed in October 2017 and released in February 2018.
“I see this as a grass-roots effort,” Gross said. “E2 will change the way contract surveillance and performance monitoring is being executed across the NAVSEA Warfare Centers.”
In addition to modernization efforts, E2 is now sharing resources with the Product Data Reporting and Evaluation Program (PDREP) system, hosted within the DISA data center and consolidating an authority to operate. E2’s software features were developed with cybersecurity in mind and in addition to contract surveillance and performance monitoring, include dashboard notification, contract management, contract execution and executive metrics.
The goals of the system are twofold: help prevent fraud, waste, and abuse; and identify the level of effort for the types of services being provided for each contract.
“We knew how much money is being spent on services, but we didn’t know how it was being spent,” Gross said. “E2 will generate metrics on the kind of services we are buying.”
When submitting invoices into the Wide Area Work Flow (WAWF), vendors also must submit a vendor report to E2, which aligns to WAWF timeframes. The vendor report includes cost details for labor, travel, materials, etc. This report lets the government know how money is being spent and captures cost details and “total workforce,” which is essential to better understanding hiring plans.
A key feature is that 98 percent of the data is either imported from an authoritative data source or provided by the vendor. There is very little “touch time” to make the system work.
“E2 offers unprecedented insights into the Warfare Centers’ contracted work,” Mr. McCormack said. “At a time when the Navy is looking for ways to digitize more of our business operations, E2 allows us to conduct in-depth analysis across our entire acquisition portfolio quickly and gives us an accurate picture of the size of our contracted workforce.”
E2’s automated features allow new contracts awarded and modifications made to contracts to be uploaded automatically every day. CORs will receive email notifications as vendor reports are received. When people leave, the software automatically deletes the account, and updates data as required. In 2012, NAVSEA directed that all CORs calculate post-award tripwires; if a contract has expenditures that exceed thresholds for a period of time, E2 automatically calculates these tripwires.
“Every single COR across all Warfare Center Divisions — about 700 people — will be doing contract surveillance and performance monitoring the same way,” Gross said. “Right now it’s a patchwork of monitoring. I talked to CORs who never used eCRAFT and asked how they did their surveillance. Three different CORs used three different methods.”
Developers used Human Factors Engineering and Human Systems Integration to refine the interface, and the team has received positive feedback on the system’s intuitiveness and user friendliness.
While a significant return on investment is the time saved on contract surveillance, Gross estimates that once E2 is fully rolled out to all Warfare Center Divisions, the Navy will see a cost avoidance of $500,000 per Division each year.
“Across the Warfare Centers, we can estimate $4 billion per year is contracted out for services. Before E2, we struggled to identify what kind of services we were buying,” Gross said. “Now we are fully accountability for the services we are buying and executing. That is huge.”
For more information on E2, the team can be reached via William Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more news from NAVSEA and the Warfare Centers, visit www.navsea.navy.mil.