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DoD EMall Users Group Speaks for Customers

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2006 – Customers of the Defense Department's Internet-based marketplace now have a new "users group" to represent them and provide input about customer needs and issues.

Managed by the Defense Logistics Agency, EMall allows authorized government purchasers access to DoD's wide variety of qualified vendors and catalogs. It's available around the clock worldwide, and offers a variety of payment options for its more than 16 million items.

"We get our best ideas from the people that use the Web site," said Gabrielle Zimmerman, DoD EMall system integration manager, as she called in to answer questions at the first meeting of the newly formed DoD EMALL users group. "I'm glad that we got a group together that can provide the continuity to do this. This will make DoD EMall better and stronger in the long run."

The users group met for the first time in Charleston, S.C., in late February, and included representatives from a variety of federal agencies and military services that use DoD EMall, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the Navy, UNICOR Federal Prison Industries, and the Army.

The users group is designed to represent a broad customer base of DoD EMall users and to ensure that EMall is the customers' system of choice for obtaining goods and services to meet the needs of each customer's specific mission, said chairwoman Diana Robinson with the Defense Logistics Information Service DoD EMall program office. DLIS is a field activity of the Defense Logistics Agency.

The group was established at the request of the Joint Requirements Board, the DoD-led group that oversees DoD EMall system requirements. The group will meet quarterly to assess EMall's current functionality, identify user interface concerns and any systems problems, and work on issues specific to organizations. It will also propose new functionality and provide requirements and issues related to particular customer bases.

Robinson, a voting member of the Joint Requirements Board, hopes to expand the group's membership to include representatives from all user organizations.

"The user's group membership should consist of actual users from all organizations with different roles within EMall -- shoppers, orderers, supervisors," she said. "We want to make sure that the attendees are not too heavy from a particular organization. We need the group to have balanced representation."

The group has software that includes an issue-tracking and project-management application, which officials said will help both the group and the DoD EMall program management team with reporting and tracking EMall system issues. Users group members can use the software to record new issues related to functionality and add comments on existing issues.

DoD EMall program managers will review and prioritize issues submitted by group members, along with other proposed requirements. Proposed changes will make their way to the Joint Requirements Board for functional review and voting to select the ones funded for inclusion in the next software release.

The Defense Logistics Information Service's mission is to provide interoperable, integrated, quality logistics data and information technology solutions that are applicable across DoD, other federal agencies and international partners in order to optimize the effectiveness and efficiency of the supply chain.

The Defense Logistics Agency provides supply support, and technical and logistics services to the U.S. military services and several federal civilian agencies. With headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Va., the agency is the one source for nearly every consumable item, whether for combat readiness, emergency preparedness or day-to-day operations.

To find out who represents a particular organization, to volunteer as a representative, or for more information about the group, contact Diana Robinson at (269) 961-5539 or Vicki Christensen at (703) 767-1497.

(From a Defense Logistics Agency news release.)

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Defense Logistics Agency
Defense Logistics Information Service

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