Keeping troops supplied in ‘war zones’ can be a massive undertaking and war damaged Iraq in the aftermath of hostilities has proved just such a challenge for NAAFI. With restricted telecoms and a flexible mobile service needed in theatre, delivering the right supplies on a regular basis has been fraught with problems.
Now all this is set to change radically with the opening of two purpose built stores and the implementation of ground breaking new communications technology –AIMS – from Business Computer Projects Ltd (BCP) which will link scanning systems at these stores to NAAFI’s main system server in Amesbury, improving communications and the speed and efficiency of the supply chain to forces in Iraq.
AIMS – Accord Internet Messaging Service – is BCP’s unique service for high performance communications and data transfer. Utilising the latest Messaging technologies, such as XML, AIMS harnesses the power of the Internet, together with a special communications infrastructure developed by BCP, to provide a fast, reliable, cost effective means of transferring information. Totally secure and flexible, it can automate the transfer of any data, at anytime, anywhere in the world, guaranteeing once and once only delivery.
The AIMS implementation for NAAFI in Iraq will utilise a satellite link to provide a permanent Internet connection so that NAAFI’s HO system in Amesbury can exchange data directly with the PoS in Iraq at any time. NAAFI IS Director, Nigel Roocroft, takes up the story “To provide the right level of support to the Armed Services in Iraq our systems must ensure that our team has timely and accurate information. Moving data between Iraq and our head office is a critical component of this and AIMS provides an efficient and flexible solution.”
AIMS will be used for all electronic communications between Amesbury and the Iraq stores, including the upload of orders and sales statistics and the download of product and price data. The speed, convenience and reliability of AIMS will allow NAAFI to significantly improve replenishment to Iraq, supplying the right goods in the right quantities, based on up to the minute, accurate sales data, rather than ‘intelligent guesstimates’ or outdated reporting.
End-to-end testing of the system took place at the beginning of March and went live week commencing 15th March 2004.