Wide Area Workflow (WAWF) is the system by which defense contract shipments are accepted and through which they are invoiced. The incredible volume of defense shipments, immense dollar amounts invoiced, and the unique need to accept many shipments before they are made creates a need for a highly capable and efficient system.
Defense manufacturers create incredibly unique and critically important equipment which must be produced under rigorous quality standards, right down to the way it is packaged and labeled. The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) is responsible for supervision of these contracts to ensure strict contract compliance, creating a need such items to be approved for shipment before leaving the defense contractor’s facility. This is reason for source acceptance by a Government Quality Assurance Representative (QAR) is necessary, and this is something that is most efficiently performed in a system like WAWF.
For those new to defense contracting, WAWF may seem like a big hassle. In reality, it has made the defense shipment process far more efficient than it was just a decade or so ago. As much as some people may hate WAWF, it is so much better than the paper form-based process that proceeded it. And it is the only way in which essential defense initiatives like Item Unique Identification (IUID) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) would be practical.
History of WAWF
WAWF got its start slowly, in an almost grass roots kind of fashion. Prior to WAWF, paper DD250 forms had to be manually signed by QARs, and then distributed by the contractor to half a dozen differebt places, including Government keypunch operators for manual data-entry into the MOCAS system. The innovative system that proceded WAWF allowed for defense contractors to perform that function, thereby greatly reducing process time and the errors that manual keypunching introduced into the process.
WAWF’s predecessor allowed contractors to create Electronic Data Interchange (ANSI X12 EDI 856) transactions and send them to the DoD via a dial-up Bulletin Board System (BBS). Crude by today’s standards, it worked well, allowing a small number of large contractors to successfully submitt DD250s right into MOCAS, speeding the process along while reducing the penalties paid by the Government for late payments on invoices. And it provided the proof of concept that laid the groundwork for the development of Wide Area Workflow.
Mil-Pac and WAWF
Mil-Pac was an early player in the use of electronic DD250s, adding EDI capabilities to its popular DD250 software used by many of the major defense contractors involved in the pilot program would become Wide Area Workflow for Receipts and Acceptance. Visionaries at the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) fostered cooperation among a small number of top defense contractors that collectively represented a significant majority of invoice dollars. This led to a substantial reduction in late payment penalties by the Government, which in turn justified the continued expansion of WAWF’s capabilities. Mil-Pac continued to help large defense contractors interface their business systems to WAWF, while at the same time making WAWF-EDI capability available as off-the-shelf software to SMB contractors for whom the cost of deployment would otherwise preclude participation in what, at the time, was a voluntary Government program. In the years since, Mil-Pac’s support for WAWF Automation has grown include IUID and RFID, Cost Vouchers (SF1034/SF1035), Progress Billings (SF1443), Fast Pay Invoices (EDI X12-810 and X12-856), Government-Furnished Property (GFP) services and Shipbuilding Invoices.