ePort and eBroker Case Study

“The EMALL is a success story within the DOD Acquisition Domain for providing on-line ordering functionality.”

—Former Deputy Director of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy

The Challenge

With more than 4 million military and civilian personnel dispersed across 820 instillations around the world, the Department of Defense (DOD) dedicates significant resources to maintaining force readiness. In the decades following World War II, a great deal of time and energy was required to procure standard-supply items – time that could otherwise be spent forwarding the mission. In the early 1990s, the DOD began investigating technologies to automate its supply chain and improve processes across the services. The DOD needed a way to aggregate real-time pricing and inventory data from multiple suppliers.

The Solution

Partnet, a leading provider of online marketplaces to government, helped the DOD create one of the first eCommerce systems in the world – a “one-stop-shop” for ordering supply chain items in the field. Ranging from office supplies to body-armor, each item was supplied by its own unique vendor. In order to incorporate changes in real-time, Partnet built ePort and eBroker – enterprise applications that connect multiple databases. In constructing the applications, Partnet created one of the first distributed catalogs, enabling secure, real-time connectivity to all partner systems. Partnet’s eCommerce suite eliminates the need to copy all supplier databases into a single massive catalog, providing a quick and agile solution with unique capabilities. For example, in building ePort, Partnet solved one of the most common problems facing business-to-business applications today: file compatibility. Since each vendor maintains its own catalog in its own preferred format, Partnet designed ePort to translate all databases into a single operating language. By fostering seamless exchanges and removing the technology barriers to collaboration, Partnet has prepared EMALL to meet the demanding supply-chain challenges of the DOD.

Results and Implications

Today, DOD EMALL boasts more than a 10-year proven track record of success and remains the largest and most comprehensive eCommerce system in use by the U.S. government. With a sales volume approaching $1 billion, DOD EMALL empowers soldiers and procurement officers on the ground to order mission-critical supplies at the click of a button. It provides a single-entry point for over 130,000 registered users to search and purchase from a virtual catalog of 50 million items. Partnet’s eCommerce suite, initially developed to meet the automation challenges of DOD EMALL, continues to support the mission and is now employed throughout the government and industry. No matter the format, no matter the task, Partnet delivers seamless information exchanges – from purchase orders to invoices – providing a capable, flexible, and reliable online marketplace solution for the government.

“We spent two years trying to build a system of our own and could not duplicate the functionality that already existed on DOD EMALL.”

— Former Director of eCommerce for the Navy Supply Systems Command