Enterprise management of the Air Force support equipment supply chain.
During the last few years, the Air Force has worked various transformation initiatives and made several organizational changes that have affected equipment management. Program Action Directive (PAD) 07-13, Implementation of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Direction to Transform and Consolidate Headquarters Management Functions, directed the Air Force Fuels, Vehicles, and Equipment Support Agency (AFFVESA) implementation. Since publishing the PAD, there have been several changes to the AFFVESA transformation initiative. The name changed many times and in October 2010, HQ USAF/A4 (Directorate of Logistics) issued a guidance memorandum modifying the PAD 07-13. The guidance memorandum defines enterprise management to include product support, program management, supply chain management (SCM) and major command (MAJCOM) support equipment responsibilities.
* Product support is a package of support functions necessary to maintain the readiness and operational capability of weapon systems, subsystems and support systems through system program managers (SPM), system support managers, and product group managers.
* Program management is the process by where a single leader exercises centralized authority and responsibility for planning, organizing, staffing, controlling, funding and leading the combined efforts of personnel and organizations for the management of specific programs throughout the system life cycle.
* SCM is defined as the management of supply and demand, sourcing materials, warehousing, inventory tracking, order entry and management, distribution across all channels, delivery to the customer, and reconstitution.
* Lead command designation establishes advocacy for systems and assets during their life cycle and clarifies responsibilities for all using and supporting organizations. Lead commands advocate for the system and asset, and respond to issues addressing its status and use. Advocacy includes capabilities-based planning and programming as well as performing and managing modernization and sustainment planning across MAJCOMs and agencies, and in coordination with SPMs and Headquarters Air Force (HAF) functional offices.
The Air Force Global Logistics Support Center (AFGLSC) was established as the SCM Integrator for the Air Force and will be the Air Force's SCM activity for Classes of Supply II and VII. Product Support and Program Management will remain core missions of air logistics centers, and be performed in conjunction with inputs from the applicable HAF/MAJCOM agencies. Lead Commands will be designated to handle the responsibilities of the command equipment management offices (CEMO) for their respective weapon system's support equipment.
As of October 2010, the AFGLSC assumed the SCM responsibility for equipment; however, the equipment processes (such as repair requirements and execution, redistribution, disposal, retention, buy requirements prioritization, and readiness assessments) continue as before with little enterprise management and no centralized process efficiencies. Responsibility for the various processes continues to be fragmented. Part of the problem is there still is no agreement on the roles and responsibilities between the CEMOs (and eventually a single CEMO) and the AFGLSC. The guidance memorandum indicates the AFGLSC concept of operations (CONOPS) should follow the Lead Command Equipment and Vehicle Transformation Initiative (EVTI) CONOPS. However, there are functions and processes that are currently performed by the AFGLSC and that could benefit from better defining roles and responsibilities within the AFGLSC and identifying process improvement opportunities.
This article helps define roles and responsibilities for the AFGLSC to better manage the supply chain for equipment as an enterprise. This article analyzes the processes to:
* Assess the Air Force's equipment readiness
* Manage contingency support equipment transfers
* Identify Air Force equipment repair requirements and execute repair
* Redistribute malpositioned assets
* Prioritize equipment buy requirements
* Manage the equipment system data
* Dispose of unneeded equipment
* Accurately compute retention and replacement requirements
* Develop and display equipment supply chain metrics and analyze equipment performance
This study is limited to the functions that personnel in the AFGLSC perform currently. It is not meant to imply any reduction or change in the functions the CEMOs perform.
We propose a central virtual office to manage equipment as an enterprise. Thus, the personnel do not have to work at the same physical location, but the central office should be responsible for and oversee the performance of the functions listed above. The term central refers more to an enterprise perspective of equipment management, rather than a MAJCOM, base or national stock number perspective.
Enterprise Assessments. Currently, the Air Force assesses its equipment readiness through individual squadrons reporting via the Status of Readiness and Training System (SORTS). Each squadron reports its readiness posture based on its fill rate using the assets it possesses. The Air Force should assess its readiness based on the Air Force's capability--that is, assets enterprise-wide can be used to meet its contingency requirements. That is how the Air Force actually executes its equipment support for a contingency--it uses all available assets, not just equipment in possession of the deploying unit. An enterprise office would not only assess squadron capability and overall Air Force capability, but also identify sources for reallocating equipment to meet contingency needs.
The Air Force should develop tools (1) to assess equipment capability Air Force-wide and use those tools at the central (AFGLSC) office. The tool's output, which would measure capability for both squadron only and for Air Force enterprise-wide equipment, should provide the basis for reporting to SORTS. Initially, the SORTS reports would continue to be submitted from the squadron, but eventually the SORTS reporting should come from the central equipment office. The SORTS output would be available to MAJCOM and base managers for planning and contingency execution and to AFGLSC stock control personnel to take action (buy, repair or redistribute) to fill equipment shortages.
Contingency Support. The central office should keep track of equipment that has been transferred to a contingency base. That is, it should keep records of the home base that transferred the assets and the overall Air Force mobility and war reserve materiel (WRM) requirement by home base. This data is needed to conduct readiness assessments and to assist with the reconstitution and return of assets from the contingency. Once equipment is transferred, the Air Force systems (Air Force Equipment Management System [AFEMS] and the Standard Base Supply System [SBSS]) no longer keep records of where the equipment was transferred from and what the home base authorizations were.
To assess capability (to compute a fill rate), the total mobility and WRM requirements must be known for each squadron. The assets can be applied--regardless of their location--to the authorized requirement, if the baseline requirement (based on the designated operational capability) is known. Note that today, either the home base no longer assesses its capability and does not submit SORTS reports, or it reestablishes its mobility and WRM authorizations and requisitions to fill its shortages. Thus, capability is not known or the Air Force establishes duplicate requirements. With enterprise assessments, the central office can run the assessments regardless of the locations of the assets.
Weapons Management. The central office would manage small arms and light weapons the same as mobility equipment. It would keep records on the overall Air Force requirement, the home base authorizations, and the current location of all weapons. It would be able to apply the assets against the authorizations and be able to identify where the assets should return to after a contingency deployment. The central office would have the responsibility and authority to allocate the weapons to where they were needed. Enterprise management should provide an opportunity to better manage the overall requirement and ensure there are no duplicate requirements. Earlier AFLMA studies (LR200827500, Prepositioning Weapons in the Area of Responsibility and LR200925400, Enterprise Assessments for Small Arms) identified the problem with keeping track of weapons in the area of responsibility and identifying the potential for overstating requirements without an Air Force-wide view.
Repair Requirements and Execution. Today there is no central office responsible for determining repair requirements or executing depot repair of equipment. The Air Force does not even know if there is a backlog of equipment items needing depot repair. The 405th Supply Chain Management Squadron (SCMS)/GULA recently held a rapid improvement event (RIE) and identified numerous actions to improve the depot repair requirements and execution process. The recommendations included providing a listing of equipment repair requirements (items at the depot in reparable condition with an outstanding requisition), developing a process to ensure the required items are inducted to repair, and identifying and working any items not able to be inducted (constraint management). The management of depot repair should be part of the Air Force central equipment office and roles and responsibilities need to be clearly defined and documented.
Redistribution Order of Malpositioned Equipment. In the past, the equipment redistribution order (RDO) process has been ineffective; it was unclear who should generate RDOs. Air Force policy states it is an item manager (IM) responsibility. It was also unclear what office in the AFGLSC should process the transactions. RDOs require second destination transportation (SDT) funds and it was unclear who should budget and manage SDT for redistribution. However, the effectiveness of the equipment RDO process has improved in the past few years. The improvement is mostly due to the 405th SCMS/GULA assuming management responsibility for the equipment RDO process. In this role, the 405th identifies malpositioned equipment, budgets and manages the RDO SDT funds, generates and processes transactions, and provides metrics on RDO effectiveness. The process as well as the responsibility and authority for RDOs, should be clearly delineated in regulations and this process should be managed by the central equipment office.
Equipment Buy Prioritization. The equipment buy prioritization process has also evolved over the last few years. The 405th SCMS/GULA creates proposed prioritized buy lists (using the Equipment Requirements System as a basis) and provides the list to MAJCOMs for their review and input. Once MAJCOMs have provided their input, the 4054 SCMS/GULA consolidates MAJCOM inputs and provides a single prioritized list for the IMs to execute. This same buy list is then used for all execution decisions (such as repair, redistribution, and funds allocation). This process should be managed by the central equipment office.
Equipment Data Cleansing. The central office would be responsible for managing the accuracy of the data in the equipment systems. This includes all data contained in the various systems regardless of who enters the data or what MAJCOM it affects. This includes the SBSS, AFEMS, and equipment requirements systems (D039, ERS, and D200C). The central office would run enterprise wide programs to identify erroneous or suspicious data and forward it to whomever is responsible to correct the data. The central office would also develop metrics and monitor the efforts to cleanse the data. Today, the various CEMOs, and in some cases the AFGLSC, have developed queries for their part of the data and forwarded them to the responsible offices to review and correct; but no single office is responsible. Examples include equipment variances, outdated 99S details, erroneous unit type codes in war readiness materiel (WRM) equipment, and incorrect reporting organization file data.
Disposal Execution. There is no central office that has the responsibility to manage the disposal process for equipment, Currently, the responsibility falls to the IM to dispose of equipment, but there are no tools to help the IM identify what should be disposed of or to budget and fund for disposal. As a result, there is $227M of field level reparable (NF) equipment in depot warehouses, of which nearly $80M is unserviceable. Failure to repair (and the depot does not repair NF assets) or dispose of these assets either prevents the Air Force from filling valid requirements or needlessly expends holding costs. There is another $195M of NF assets in base warehouses; many of which are no longer needed and require disposal. There are also ND (depot reparable) assets that require disposal. A central office should determine the disposition of both the NF and ND assets at the bases and depots, program for disposal funds (for those items with demilitarization codes requiring funds for predisposal actions) and direct the disposal of the assets. The central office should also develop and report metrics to monitor the process performance.
Demand Planning Inputs. The central office should develop policy and provide tools to improve the Air Force equipment requirements for retention and replacement requirements. Where possible, the central office should develop business rules and automate the updating of the equipment requirements systems. The 405th SCMS/GULA has developed some business rules for retention (see AFLMA Report LR200715100, Equipment Retention Analysis). These rules need to be applied to the requirements system and a workaround developed to load the retention levels into D200C. In the absence of these business rules and tools, it is up to each IM to determine and load the retention and replacement requirements into D200C. The Air Force needs a standard methodology and set of business rules (2) for these requirements.
Metric Development and Management. The 405th SCMS/GULA has developed and is collecting enterprise metrics for equipment. These metrics are provided to the Air Staff and reported to the Air Force Equipment Policy Work Group every six months. The central equipment office should be responsible for these metrics--not only collecting and reporting the data, but also for managing them. The central office--not Air Staff--should be responsible for the analysis of adverse trends and improvement in the metrics. The central office should direct actions to prevent negative trends and make changes to improve the performance,
The AFGLSC should form an integrated product team (IPT) to define roles and responsibilities for the various offices in the AFGLSC that have tasks for each of the functional areas in this report. The overall responsibility should be a central office that will ensure all these functions and processes are managed as an enterprise. The output of the IPT should be regulations outlining policy, procedures, and offices of primary responsibility. Where necessary, the appropriate AFGLSC offices should hold an RIE to develop and improve the current process by taking an enterprise view.
Douglas J. Blazer, PhD, DAF
(1.) The following reports describe and demonstrate the capability to conduct equipment enterprise assets.
Douglas Blazer, PhD, Lori Jones, and Bernie Smith, Air Force Enterprise Assessments for Support Equipment, AFLMA Final Report LS200619100, Maxwell AFB-Gunter Annex, Alabama: Air Force Logistics Management Agency, February 2007.
Douglas Blazer, PhD, Karen Klinger, Lori Jones, and Technical Sergeant Angela Simmons-Jones, Enterprise Assessments for Equipment, AFLMA Letter Report LR200725304, Maxwell AFB-Gunter Annex, Alabama: Air Force Logistics Management Agency, August 2008.
(2.) For business rules for forecasting equipment replacement requirements, see the following letter report.
Captain Christopher Anglin, Doug Blazer, PhD, Gil Busby, and Lori Jones, Replacement Requirements Computations Using Capital Asset Records, AFLMA Letter Report LR201031900, Maxwell AFB-Gunter Annex, Alabama: Air Force Logistics Management Agency, June 2011.
Douglas J. Blazer, PhD, is a principal advisor for Air Force Directorate of Transformation (AF/A4I). He is a recognized expert on matters concerning the Air Force supply system. He is also a frequent contributor to the Air Force Journal of Logistics.
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|Title Annotation:||Supply Chains and Spares|
|Author:||Blazer, Douglas J.|
|Publication:||Air Force Journal of Logistics|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2011|
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