Navy’s In-Out Routine Signature Sheet digitalized to modernize and save time


Royal Canadian Navy Public Affairs

Sailors will no longer have to spend hours tromping around trying to get signatures on paper to transfer in and out of Canadian Forces Bases (CFB) Esquimalt and Halifax.

The Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) In-Out Routine Signature Sheet has been digitalized.

“The old in-out routine process was labour intensive and required the transferring member to fill out a paper form and take it from one section to another, both at the losing unit and at the gaining unit, to complete the process,” explains Commander (Cdr) Dan Thompson, a Digital Program Manager with the RCN’s Digital Navy organization. “As the process moves through all the sections, officials at each section had to update data in several systems to reflect the transfer process.”

At the request of CFB Esquimalt’s Base Commander at the time, Captain (Navy) Sam Sader, the Digital Team began looking at ways to simplify the process using the newest technology.

“When we initially started, we wanted to modernize the routine…(to) see how any DWAN (Defence-Wide Area Network) applications could assist in digitizing the process,” says Cdr Thompson. “The Base Commander wanted a more modern process for personnel posted in or out of CFB Esquimalt vice having to walk around the base looking for offices to find signatures. Ironically, this project started prior to COVID-19 restrictions, but the team was able to continue its efforts through the use of teleconferencing.”

It would have been nearly impossible to automate the overall in-out routine process from all sections into a single solution without causing huge disruptions across the navy and other government sections, according to Cdr Thompson. As well, some of those systems are already slated to be updated or replaced as part of other projects.

He says digitalizing this part of the system will save time and allow sailors to focus more on other things during this hectic period.

“It’s quicker, with less need for face to face, and reduces the waiting time at the various stations,” says Cdr Thompson. “It can be initiated by the member from their personal email and be tracked as it goes from station to station. It also provides the member a checklist of meetings that they are required to book, such as Base Clothing Stores for example, where they are issued controlled items.”

How it works

The member fills out the In-/Out Routine Member Data Entry PDF form, accessible from either a DWAN or personal computer, and emails it to the Base Orderly Room in Halifax or Esquimalt.

Using the data in the member’s submission, the respective Base Orderly Room creates a new PDF with digital signature blocks enabled. The new PDF is uploaded to the In-/Out Routine area of the base’s SharePoint website-based collaboration system. Each section on base that is required to sign the member’s form now does so digitally via SharePoint, freeing the member from the time-consuming process of walking from section to section to have his or her form signed manually.

An automatic email is generated for the member notifying them that the Base Orderly Room has started processing the In-/Out Routine request and that they will receive the finalized signature sheet when all sections have signed it. It also goes back to the respective Base Orderly Room for final administration.

“The current solution will facilitate RCN members transferring in or out of Halifax or Esquimalt bases only,” says Cdr Thompson. “The anticipated volume is 2,000 to 3,000 members per year including Regular and Reserve forces.”

Next steps

In the next phase of this product, the Digital Team is planning to include all units of both bases that report up to the formation commanders into the solution.

“This will make the product more inclusive and will be used by a wider range of personnel and sections of the Navy,” explains Cdr Thompson. “Other Canadian Armed Forces elements, including the Royal Canadian Air Force and Canadian Army, have expressed interest in this solution to replace their own in/out routine process.”


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