The British Army is at the forefront of exploiting data science. Since 2015 over 2500 staff have been using -our bespoke data science application, VERITAS, to address operational risk and drive efficiencies into how support is delivered.
In 2012, Major General Paul Jaques saw the opportunity to deliver support more efficiently by exploiting data. A true visionary, General Jaques drove the programme to realise these improvements, at the heart of which is VERITAS.
The forerunner to VERITAS began life under Project GEM (Global Equipment Manager), part of the Army HQ Change Portfolio, designed to:
Optimise the delivery of Logistic Support and Equipment through … robust management information.
Through a series of evolutions it has achieved a revolution in how the Army sets its Demand Signal into Industry and then continually manages the supply from Industry through the MOD’s support agency, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S). But this revolution in technology works hand-in-hand with changes in business process that have brought discipline and science, and transparency, to what was previously a little-understood and subjective art.
Why use VERITAS?
VERITAS drives four key business outcomes in the Army.
First, it gives the Army a clearer idea of what they are spending to support their equipment and they are able to hold people to account more robustly;
- They see exactly which suppliers they are paying for, what they are buying, and who is spending that money
- They can calculate the cost of normal day-to-day business and operations quickly and effectively
Second, the Army is more confident that it can conduct operations and identify operational risk;
- They are increasingly confident that they can support forces when they deploy on operations
- They know what stock they need for operations and what risks they are carrying, and can set contracts to address those risks and make up shortfalls in stock
- They can see the up-to-date condition of their equipment and the stock levels for force held at readiness
Third, their demands to industry for stock are more precise;
- They can see how the stock they need changes as their plans for training and operations evolve
- Orders to their suppliers are more precise, matched to what they need
Finally they are more efficient;
- They buy only the stock that they need, and optimise the laydown of stock to suit what is needed for training and the operations they must be ready to conduct
- They manage the relationship with their suppliers robustly and consistently, confident that they are being asked to supply exactly what is needed.
What is VERITAS?
Imagine a single application that allows you to see all of the data to do with logistic support and equipment in the Army. From being able to see the ever-changing plan for activity, how those changes impact the requirement for equipment, materiel and stock, and then being able to actively manage those items and the costs: that is VERITAS. It is simple to say but it hides a breadth of data and a depth of analysis that is unparalleled. The people who generate the data still own it, VERITAS accesses it through the Army HQ’s Army Data Warehouse. The data is combined to provide the insights through 12 bespoke applications each tailored for specific users or a specific purpose.
VERITAS enables the Army’s support planners to calculate the requirement for stock to support the Army’s planned activity, and dynamically change what is being demanded from Industry through DE&S. This means that Army now continually realises savings that it reinvests where it choses. The ability to see a single version of the truth in VERITAS between the Army and DE&S is critical in managing their relationship. The regular performance review sessions move beyond a discussion about the accuracy of the data to a more constructive agreement of what can be done with the resources available. The discussions are robust and do not shy from hard choices, but they are based on agreed and accepted facts rather than differing opinions.
This accurate support picture then informs the operational and support planners as they make equipment and materiel available to the Field Army for training, planned and actual, and reactive operations.
How is VERITAS used?
VERITAS sits at the heart of a continual process that ensures the right stock is bought to be available at the right time in the right place. Every month the Army reviews its plan for activity. Looking out over a 3-24 month horizon it identifies changes that drive a change into the demand for equipment and materiel. Support planners use VERITAS to calculate those changes and get them agreed at executive level. Once costed and approved, these changes are set as a new requirement for Defence Equipment and Support to deliver. This new business process is fundamental to realising the improved outcomes and benefits that VERITAS delivers.
Discover more about VERITAS
View our case study.