4 technologies that will disrupt logistics


4 technologies that will disrupt DOD logistics

Military doctrine and warfare have changed significantly over the past 20 years, with the emphasis shifting from supporting a static force to projecting capabilities in expeditionary warfare. This new paradigm requires rapid deployment and flexibility – as well as a new operational model for equipment acquisition, management and ownership.

Organizations are focused on solutions that balance through-life costs and operational effectiveness. Today, this means leveraging the cost savings and process improvements enabled by a whole new set of disciplines and business processes, such as contractor logistics support, performance-based logistics and product support agreement programs. The result is that suppliers have to deal with the increasing complexity of product, contract and supplier relationships.

Information systems used to manage logistics, therefore, must be functional enough to gather the data required to monitor key performance indicators and review activity but also deliver the insights on enterprise performance that enable better decision-making. From an operational perspective, there are four key developments that will have a significant impact on long-term logistics systems strategies:

1. Self-analysis and reporting. Health and Usage Monitoring Systems have been used consistently for a number of years, but look for changes in how they integrate into the enterprise. Equipment will report its current configuration in real time and usage information will be analyzed, providing data needed for an overall enterprise solution that can deliver real business benefits.

2. Mobile. Mobile apps offer a way of gaining essential operational feedback, and will do so in a format that is optimized for specific equipment, easily customizable and devoid of superfluous overhead.

3. Context aware. Solutions will automatically adjust their operations through recognition of the maintenance environment they are in. Being aware of unique conditions in the field will enable tailoring in more effective ways, making life easier for the user.

4. Augmented reality. Augmented reality solutions are able to provide expertise and instruction on demand. For example, using a live feed from an engineer's headset, an expert can guide maintenance that may well be taking place in a remote location. Look for solutions that interface with the enterprise, with maintenance information transmitted two-way in real time.

Over the next 20 years, we will see the full integration of operations, maintenance and the supply chain into a “logistics support enterprise”’ alongside the current modular applications-based enterprise resource management software. These new agile solutions are easing the time and pain associated with adapting processes using the more traditional, monolithic ERP systems.

This future generation of logistics solutions will see support optimization through probabilistic methodology and the ability to dynamically interact with in-service support solutions. Also embedded within these solutions will be workforce scheduling and planning capabilities built to respond in real time to real-world events.

About the Author

Kevin Deal is vice president of Aerospace and Defense at IFS North America.


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