The Concept Of The Military Supply Chain

Submitted By calebcummins
Words: 1107
Pages: 5

All organizations, to include the military, have supply chains of varying degrees. A supply chain is defined as “The stream of processes of moving goods from the customer order through the raw materials stage, supply, production, and distribution of products to the customer.” (Group, 1999). Managing the chain of events in this process is what is known as supply chain management (Group, 1999). The Army is taking supply chain management one step further with the concept of anticipatory logistics. Anticipatory logistics uses technologies, information systems, and procedures to predict and prioritize customer requirements and provide appropriate sustainment (Lenzini, 2002). In essence, the Army is looking to leave a smaller footprint while maintaining a responsive supply chain to the battlefield. Some of these Anticipatory concepts will translate well to the corporate world as well.
Supply chain management is similar for both corporate and military organizations. However, some significant differences are evident in both supply chain management models. The first is the absence of maintenance on the corporate side. Another is that transportation, distribution, and warehousing are unidirectional in a corporate organization but dual directional in the military organization. External factors also differ between the two types of organizations (Lenzini, 2002).
Like the corporate world, military organizations, like the Army, face two diametrically opposing forces. One is the need to support combat maneuver forces better, more responsively, and at a lower cost. The other is the need to reduce the logistics footprint of the Army's future forces. The Army is exploring how to better support brigade combat teams (BCTs) by using some underlying SCM concepts, such as information and communication technologies, order management, and transportation using current and new technologies (Lenzini, 2002). In essence, the Army seeks to streamline its process by utilizing technology to predict and analyze future needs and stay ahead of battlefield demands. By using what is dubbed as the "tactical Internet" to achieve situational awareness, future logisticians will be able to track the status of supplies for individual units and better predict the needs of combat units. Systems that provide logistics leaders’ enhanced situational awareness will provide instantaneous supply status, predict component failures, and even provide two-way messaging. Sensors in both combat and combat service support vehicles will monitor supply levels, unit locations, and equipment status and be able to transmit this information to logistics leaders. Knowing on-hand supply levels will help logistics leaders to better configure "pulsed" logistics resupplies, typically consisting of 3 to 7 days' worth of supplies. Leaders will use this new, enhanced level of situational awareness, provided by decision support tools such as embedded diagnostics, automated testing, and data analysis, to better support combat forces with fewer logistics assets (Group, 1999). In an endeavor to revolutionize anticipatory logistics at the wholesale level, the Army is streamlining the wholesale logistics process. This will manage demand, supply availability, distribution, financial control, and data management better and provide more flexible and dynamic logistics at the wholesale level to meet specific customer requirements. The benefits will include a synchronized global supply, distribution, and financial network that will increase weapon system readiness and manage mission-based requirements more responsively. The Department of Defense also is researching advanced technologies that will bring quantum improvements in joint military logistics, including force deployment, to enhance the readiness of all military forces (Lenzini, 2002). Corporate industry's supply chain management and the Army's anticipatory logistics for supporting future combat forces are similar. Whereas