Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT April-June 2015 Contents process, maintain the NPI site and serve
as a go-between for the vendors and
reviewers as needed. Should the team
receive a promising concept outside the
program reviewers’ expertise, SPO staff
will look across and outside the com-
mand for assistance.
The SPO’s participation in on-site medical
materiel trade shows positions the com-
mand well to connect product developers
with medical acquisition representatives.
Vendor days provide the services’ medical
logistics agencies with strategic market
analysis of products and technologies
that may be well-suited to austere medi-
cal environments. SPO staff often invite
NPI users to attend a Vendor Day event
or discuss the benefits of the NPI website
with session participants.
PLANS FOR NPI 2.0
As with any product, there is always room
for improvement. Site administrators
conducted a focus group in spring 2013
to identify ways they could improve both
the site and the submission process.
The SPO maintains a close working rela-
tionship with the Defense Centers of
Excellence for Psychological Health and
Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), which
became a part of USAMRMC in 2013.
The DCoE is charged with working to
improve the lives of ser vice members,
families and veterans by advancing
excellence in psychological health and
prevention of traumatic brain injur y
and care. It maintains a website similar
to the NPI called the DCoE Concept
Submission Program (CSP). During
focus group discussions attended by
DCoE sta ff, participants worked to inte-
grate the CSP into NPI, creating a more
inclusive site to reflect USAMRMC’s
Perhaps one of the most important sys-
tem upgrades that staff identified is
giving reviewers greater flexibility in
generating the dispositions they send to
vendors regarding their product or idea.
While the current system gives reviewers
a selection of automated responses they
can send to vendors, they can’t easily cus-
tomize their input.
The new system will also include a
searchable archive of submissions, giv-
ing acquisition personnel access to nearly
a decade of product concepts. Other
updates include a mouse-over feature that
will provide contextual help and a more
robust method for capturing success sto-
ries. The new site will also incorporate
Google Analytics, giving administrators
insight into how visitors are using the tool.
Some other added site features will focus
on the work flow itself—for example, how
user input is entered and then routed to
SMEs. As users complete fields, the web-
site prompts them to select categories
describing their idea or innovation from
drop-down lists. Administrators noticed
that users sometimes failed to under-
stand category nomenclature and would
misfile their items. This, in turn, would
delay review of the product by the appro-
priate specialist. To remedy this problem,
staff developed a triage function that
helps users more accurately determine
who should evaluate their submission.
Reviewers who fail to see a use for a prod-
uct often refer the item to a teammate for
consideration. In the past, the NPI did
not capture the rationale for redirecting a
product. However, NPI 2.0 will prompt
reviewers to elaborate on why they are
referring the item. This functionality will
provide the next reviewer added detail
that can make the next assessment more
efficient. Similarly, submissions in the
past could only be routed to one research
area at a time. Now they can be routed
to multiple areas simultaneously, further
reducing review times.
Another workflow enhancement is the
integration of questions at various phases
throughout the submission process,
surveying participants about their experi-
ence. The team plans to use this feedback
to continue advancing the tool.
Working closely with USAMRMC’s
Information Management Office, the
SPO will launch a beta site in spring 2015.
Representatives within the user commu-
nity and program partners will test the
updated site and identify any system
glitches or workflow adjustments.
The office is also forming an NPI gover-
nance committee to oversee contextual
changes to the site. A s proposed modi-
fications arise, such as adding a new
Throughout the years, users have presented product
concepts from the mundane to the unusual—including
an idea for camouflage toilet paper. Each submission is
carefully reviewed by a qualified product evaluator.
84 Army AL&T Magazine
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