News | July 12, 2018

Intuitive, efficient pricing capability introduced

By Patrick Tremblay DCMA Public Affairs

For two years a team at the Defense Contract Management Agency headquarters has worked on adding improvements to the agency’s pricing capabilities. The primary end result, available now for pricing specialists, is two modules of the Pricing Management Capability that promise to make pricing and technical pricing more user friendly, intuitive and organized.

“The new capability replaces legacy electronic tools that weren’t adequately meeting the agency’s needs,” said Patricia McMahon, who is leading DCMA’s transition to the new Pricing Management Capability. She’s part of the Process Development Office, a dedicated organization within the agency comprised of small teams that find solutions to specific problems.

About a dozen of these business process reengineering teams are active at any time. In this case, BPR 10 was charged with addressing Defense Department findings specific to DCMA’s management of pricing case files, and improving the agency’s pricing data management collection, specifically in terms of recommended savings.

The first step was building a team of subject matter experts. The Process Development Office reached out to the agency’s field offices and headquarters for volunteers. “Input from the field at all levels is crucial to building something that makes sense, and that people will use,” said Greg Griffith, BPR10 team lead and member of the DCMA Cost/Pricing Center.

During the creation of the PMC, the team gathered user stories to fully understand the needs of the user community and extent of documentation typically used in pricing case file management. The determination was made to create a management tool that met user needs while also obtaining critical data elements necessary for internal tracking of pricing case workload across various components of DCMA. Much of the design and platform interface came directly from BPR10 member James Green, a lead engineer of technical pricing on DCMA Boeing Philadelphia’s integrated cost analysis team.

Greg Stein, a contracts supervisor at DCMA Boston, cites information sharing as a hallmark of the Pricing Management Capability. "The PMC will provide a collaborative approach to pricing case documentation storage and data collection,” said Stein, who led BPR 10 earlier in the development process. “It will remove redundancies and promote better communication between cost/price analysts, engineers and supervisors. It will improve data integrity, which will allow DCMA to provide reliable recommended savings data. This is crucial to showing the value of our pricing services to our customers and to the Department of Defense."

The business process reengineering team was constantly validating and testing their work during the creation of the PMC.

“Over the past two years, several user tests have been performed to test functional design along with key performance objectives of this capability,” said Griffith. “Well over 60 end users from across more than 13 agency offices and two DCMA International offices have participated in acceptance testing efforts.”

“The PMC vastly improves the internal workflow of pricing cases from case assignment through review and close out,” said Matt Hamilton, pricing lead at DCMA Raytheon Tewksbury. For years his team, like all pricing specialists in the agency, have been using separate tools to do their basic work. “With this new tool, everything our team needs is in one place,” said Hamilton. “We’re able to access all of the case files, request functional specialist assistance, request/approve extensions, and track and document the approval process all in one location.”

Veronika Jerikova, a cost/price analyst at DCMA Chicago, said the PMC will make her work more seamless as the data she needs is all in one place. “The case creation process is a lot faster, easier and provides the relevant case details and information in a succinct manner,” she said. “My most liked feature is the drag and drop function for the document upload. It makes it really quick and easy to get the documents in the appropriate folders.”

The new capability is now ready to be put into use by the full agency, and become a regular tool in the arsenal of approximately 550 DCMA pricing experts. Currently it includes two modules, one for pricing and another for technical pricing, with plans to expand into additional modules designed for use within the Cost/Pricing Center, specifically for the Commercial Item Group and surge pricing hubs. Long term, there are plans to create a module for the “Negotiation” portion of the P&N eTool, which will enable the retirement of that eTool.

“The last piece for us is to let everyone know the capability exists, and to get everyone trained on the new tools,” said Griffith, noting that several two-hour training sessions will be available before users can get to work.

“I want to thank the BPR 10 team for their dedicated work over the past two years,” said Joan Sherwood, deputy director of the Process Development Office. “It’s challenging to focus with such intensity on building something that will be the standard for pricing and technical pricing for years to come, but I believe the long-term results will ultimately save a great deal of resources and make us all better as an agency.”

Additional information on the Pricing Management Capability is available on DCMA 360 (login required).

Multiple training sessions took place the week of June 25 and will continue the weeks of July 23 and 30 in order to prepare for the official deployment date of Aug. 1. This capability will eventually replace the Pricing & Negotiation eTool, which will phase out after all necessary PMC modules are deployed.

Help tickets for capability issues will be worked by the business process reengineering t. Links to input tickets will be available in the PMC site. This process is covered in the developed training.

Users are loaded with 'contribute/no delete' permissions; therefore, users cannot modify PMC configurations but can modify individual site team access.

The associated user guides, PMC demonstration videos, and frequently asked questions are available at https://dcma.usalearning.net/course/view.php?id=192 so users can preview before they are assigned training sessions.

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Defense Contract Management Agency
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3901 A Avenue Building 10500 Fort Lee, VA 23801 

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