“The line between disorder and order lies in logistics.” – Sun Tzu
Information systems-driven capabilities are redefining the defense logistics industry. Today’s joint and combined operations demand fast and agile systems that can respond quickly to asymmetrical threats. They have also created a need for cross-domain collaboration, interoperability in the supply chain, and standardization among Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) processes. Yet, a recent Frost & Sullivan study on Defense Logistics Information Systems (DLIS) asserts that today’s DLIS are “at best fragmented, and for many armed forces, still a distant reality.”
This issue set the stage for a recent gathering at the recent PDT Europe 2012 conference, where thought leaders from around the world gathered to discuss these issues and set the stage for Standard for the Exchange of Product (STEP) and Product Life Cycle Support (PLCS) standardization.
One of the most pressing topics we discussed was the way in which recent austerity measures have impacted weapons systems life-cycle support and have been a catalyst for reinventing industry collaboration and support to the end-user. Both defense organizations and the defense industry are more focused than ever on supply chain management of spares, cost control and operational efficiencies in response to tighter budgets and reduced spending.
This focus on full life-cycle support and sustainability collaboration models means that our global procurement processes must be redefined as well. The UK, Norway, Sweden, France and other nations are leading the transition to integrate PLM standardization into industry collaboration processes and retrieving models for federation in a world dominated by end-to-end platforms and/or system control. Most importantly, we see real potential in the progress made toward cross domains, disciplines, and enterprises, as lean and agile PLM drives increased value, collaboration and efficiency despite a shortage in engineering resources.
The PDT Europe 2012 conference addressed standards-based PLM and PLM integration with an emphasis on ease of use and understanding, and we look forward to many future discussions with the defense logistics community around these topics. Through close collaboration among industry leaders such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and EADS, as well as defense organizations as the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, UK Ministry of Defence and the French Ministry of Defence, the dialogue of change has already begun.
Public Safety and National Security Industry Lead, Microsoft Western Europe