TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Our supply chain environment is characterized by an increased focus on readiness within defense planning, a globally-dependent Air Force supply chain, a dichotomy of aging fleets and increasingly sophisticated technology, and sustainment accomplished by a federation of sustainment organizations. Therefore, we must accelerate the rate at which we innovate our supply chain business practices to meet customer needs in the ever-changing environment.
The journey to innovating the supply chain begins with how we set our goals. The 448th Supply Chain Management Wing is obsessed with the customer and has embraced the Secretary of Defense’s charge towards mission readiness. More simply, when a mechanic at the depot or in the field needs a part to accomplish a task, we strive to ensure the correct part is available so missions may be generated. While this can be a challenging task given the age of the platforms we support, we believe the difficulty in achieving a goal should not inform acceptance of a lower standard.
The Art of the Possible (AoP) philosophy will be used on the journey to identify and resolve constraints. AoP is a proven, constraints-based management system that provides a framework to comprehend the challenges, processes involved, and technology available to facilitate the development of solutions.
The objectives of improved supply chain responsiveness and resiliency represent the pathway to this goal. Responsiveness is tied to improved predictability, shorter lead times, and rapid reverse engineering capabilities when diminishing source or obsolescence challenges arise. Resiliency complements responsiveness by embracing available and emerging technologies providing additional sources of supply to both lower the probability of disruptions and provide a natural incentive for achieving cost, schedule, and performance amongst supply chain vendors. This means faster decision-making, fewer bureaucratic steps, and greater use of value-based management while challenging ourselves to explore the limits of fiscal laws and physics in harnessing new and emerging technologies to address legacy system sustainment challenges.
None of this will be accomplished by a single organization. Speed and quality will only be accomplished by leveraging the creative capabilities of DOD, Air Force, Air Force Materiel Command, industry and academia partners. As partners, we must adopt a “One Team, One Fight” culture and make it our mission to build the innovation network, provide the venues for wider collaboration, and develop the tools and processes to enable agile supply chain solutions.