B3 Group Brings Innovation to the VA’s Personal Identity Verification (PIV) Fargo Printer System

Background

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a fleet of 600+ Fargo HDP 5000 PIV printers that are deployed across the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico. PIV cards are printed for everyone working within VA facilities or who require access to VA information systems. PIV cards provide:

• Visual Photo Identification
• VA Computer/Network Access
• VA Facility Access
• Fingerprint Identification
• Forgery Protection
• Personal Information
• Affiliation for employee, contractor, affiliate, foreign national, and emergency responder

As with any piece of hardware, the PIV printers need regular maintenance and occasional repair. B3 Group provides Tier 1 hardware support for troubleshooting issues and Tier 2 support for repair of broken units. B3 Group also loans printers to sites while their units are in for repair, including handling the inventory, shipping, and logistics. This ensures each site is functional when faced with a malfunctioning or broken printer.

Integrity (1)
Innovation
Collaboration (1)

Challenges

The main challenges that the B3 Group team faced toward the beginning of the project revolved around process improvement: process changes, communication of the changes, and buy-in from the stakeholders. The B3 Group team needed to ensure that the PIV credentialing centers were able to navigate the printer repair process successfully so that repairs were turned around quickly with little downtime. However, with over 200 PIV credentialing centers, it took some time to ensure all staff were up to speed. Once the new process was in place, it was sent to each PIV credentialing center and was posted to the PIV website. Unfortunately, there was a mishap where both the old and new processes were shown on the PIV website, causing confusion for the PIV credentialing centers until the old information was removed.

Additionally, the VA had to reprint all existing badges with updated security credentials on a tight deadline. B3 Group worked closely with VA leaders to understand timelines, demands, and concerns as well as provide frequent touch points to ensure the successful completion of the project.

Solution

B3 Group leveraged existing information and processes to keep repair requests moving and to apply best practices. The troubleshooting and repair process guide is now updated annually with input from clients and is distributed by the clients through appropriate channels within the VA. This was further expanded upon when working with the VA Office of Information and Technology (OIT), where their leadership reviewed the processes B3 Group developed and addressed the need for local OIT staff to learn basic troubleshooting for the PIV printers. This allows the printers to be maintained more regularly so PIV printers with simple issues can be brought back online sooner.

Results

B3 Group made the VA’s PIV printer system more functional and effectively trained staff to be more self-sufficient troubleshooters. Working with OIT and the PIV credentialing centers reinforced processes for the PIV printer repairs, getting units that were in closets for years in for repair, prioritizing sites’ repairs based on need, and helping sites minimize their downtime through self-help. Not only did this produce a more efficient system, but it also saved money on hardware and freed up valuable storage space. B3 Group was also able to help the VA with the logistics of handling 15 new PIV printers that came into the fleet to fill gaps during the repair process in crunch times. The B3 Group team was able to handle the logistics of moving printers from place to place to meet printing quotas for the deadline.