By Tech. Sgt. Kimberley Harrison, Air Force Space Command Public Affairs
/ Published September 14, 2009
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Editor's note: Buckley Air Force Base is scheduled for electronic Management Tracking System data load Oct. 22, for training Nov. 2-6 and for cutover to eMTS Nov. 8.
Air Force Space Command is leading the charge toward implementing an improved method of tracking civilian time and attendance.
Civilian employees throughout the command may be happy to know the days of tirelessly manually inputting accountability information, only to have someone else input the same information into a different system, are nearly over. After reviewing several time and attendance products, SAF/FM selected the web-based electronic Management Tracking System, eMTS, and Maj. Gen. Thomas F. Deppe, former AFSPC vice commander, approved funding for implementation throughout the command.
"This new process automates civilian time cards, as well as eliminates the paper trail," said Mr. Rob Morgan, eMTS Project Manager, located at Gunter Annex, Ala. "eMTS will allow every civilian employee to annotate their own time, at their own desktop, through a web-based interface." This interface allows eMTS to pass auditable time and attendance information to various government financial accounting systems such as the Defense Civilian Payroll System [DCPS].
"We're taking huge strides in moving from the cumbersome, redundant manual process that's in place now to an easier, more effective and smarter process through the automated system," Mr. Morgan said.
The new tracking system isn't permanent, but it is an initial step toward a solution for a long-time problem, especially in an environment of seemingly constant demands of 'doing more with less.
"eMTS will be utilized to help bridge the gap between manual and electronic systems until the Air Force deploys the Defense Enterprise Accounting & Management System [DEAMS] sometime in the next few years," said Mr. Jim Lobban, deputy, AFSPC Finance Services Division. "Until then, eMTS is helping to fill that crucial need now."
AFSPC isn't the only command in the Air Force to realize the benefits of using this system, but it is the only command that's going to command-wide implementation. "Right now, the normal [manual] process is labor intensive, it's cumbersome, and it takes a lot of time and a lot of paper. eMTS is a way to make that process highly-efficient. Besides saving time, you're now saving resources as well," Mr. Morgan said.
Not only will eMTS save time and resources, there will be monetary savings. "AFSPC will see a $1 million cost avoidance as redundant data entry processes are eliminated," Mr. Lobban said. "It just makes sense. There will be three great things this system brings to AFSPC. First, it's going to eliminate redundant manual data entry, which isn't standardized, is prone to data entry errors, puts privacy act information at risk, and is extremely time consuming. Second, it's going to ensure the supervisors are actually validating the information and have it readily accessible to auditors. And lastly, it's going to give supervisors the opportunity to certify the information whether they are at work, at home, on leave, or TDY as long as they have CAC [Common Access Card] access," exclaimed Mr. Lobban.
Since eMTS is CAC enabled, there will be no passwords to remember and implementation will have minimal impact on the civilian workforce once training is complete.
Training will take place two weeks prior to a pay period and consists of an 8-minute, computer-based training [CBT] video for employees, supervisors (certifiers) and timekeepers to view prior to hands-on training, which will be conducted in a classroom setting of approximately 20 people.
"We bring a team out and we conduct the training," said Mr. Morgan. "It's not a hard system to learn...it's actually very easy."
Once training is complete, there will be a Civilian Pay Customer Service Representative, identified through the base's Comptroller Squadron, who will be the lead for scheduling training and data collection.
According to Mr. Lobban, all AFSPC wing commanders have been notified of pending eMTS implementation and for the few units already using the system, there has been nothing but good reviews.
"Everybody loves it," concluded Mr. Lobban.