Around the World in 80 Days (Well, More Like Weeks!): The Story of the Aras Implementation in the United States Postal Service
Date & Time
Wednesday, May 3, 2023, 10:15 AM - 11:00 AM
Location Name
Grand Caribbean 6

The Aras Innovator implementation in the United States Postal Service began with some unique Configuration Management (CM) approaches. Because the Postal Service does not manufacture its equipment but buys from various suppliers, Configuration Management focuses on supporting the entire lifecycle of our mail processing equipment and infrastructure, not just its initial manufacturing.

CM in the Postal Service is the primary responsibility of the Maintenance organization.  It has to reach across the functional boundaries between Maintenance and Engineering and into the various Engineering groups while not the primary responsibility of any of them.  As you can imagine, that creates its challenges to arrive at a management system and set of tools that is equally helpful to participants and users involved.  We found ourselves using archaic software tools carrying the onerous burdens and effort needed to comply fully with the processes. From this point, about four years ago, we began the search for a replacement software tool.

We learned we needed to re-align our workflows and business processes to a more consistent practice of CM that was much closer to industry best practices and CM2 standards.  We developed search criteria and evaluated software suite options that could best meet our needs and still offer flexibility for customization to our somewhat unique approach to CM.

During this presentation, you will hear how the USPS began a process of establishing workflows across multiple functional groups and teams to take a broader view of what would be needed to integrate their existing data systems to provide accurate, timely, and easy-to-produce reporting, match up well to industry best practices of CM and PLM, and be able to port in extensive existing CM and TDP files and documentation in multiple formats from our existing systems. We arrived at a standard set of workflows that allowed for the full use of a common set of Configuration Management processes by all Engineering groups. We could only have done that very well with the new visibility of workflow maps that are readily available within Aras.

The story of the USPS sea change had its obstacles, and we will review how that impacted the USPS initiative. There were learning curves throughout the initial Implementation. That led to adoption, which happened at different rates and levels of engagement. The time-saving and helpful search features now available within Aras made it far more attractive to use than our prior systems, but even so, not all groups jumped on the bandwagon with equal excitement.

Evaluation of our Aras Implementation indicates that we have done some things very well and are learning that we still can improve. Full adoption was variable across our user groups at the beginning but looking very good for the future as the efficiency and ease of finding and doing things within Aras continue to win people over.