Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management in Defense Project

Table of Contents

3Abstract/ Executive Summary


5Velocity Management Program

6Distribution Management

7Supply Chain Management

9Skills and level of Competency Required by Logistics Officer

9Technological competency

9Analytical competency

10Broad Understanding of the Supply Chain Processes

Educational and Training for Army 10


References 12

Abstract/ Executive Summary

Supply Chain Management and Distribution are two main processes that will determine the future of military logistics. However, not much effort has put in to educate army officers or management to understand these processes and how they can be implemented successfully to complete any defense project. The purpose of this report is to explain the concept of Supply chain management and distribution and discuss the requirements such as skills and knowledge necessary for a logistic officer to function efficiently while working in an environment where he is applying this supply chain management and distribution processes. The report presents an analysis on how defense management can educate their military officers to attain skills that will be helpful to them while they apply distribution and supply chain management processes in various military and defense programs as well as in military industries for manufacturing different military products.

All this information is presented to answer the research question that how management in defense industry use, different approaches to educate their officers about the processes and concepts of supply chain management and distribution to function and deliver effectively in those working environment. To provide requisite information about this topic the report is divided into different sections. First an introduction of the concepts of the main variables like supply chain management, distribution and its related procedures, processes and their implementation is provided. They are discussed from the business and military perspective and explain how military organization is responsible for such distribution management processes. Then the skills required for a logistic or army officer to function effectively and properly, while implementing supply chain management in a working environment is discussed. The report puts light on how such teaching and training practices are affecting the operational experience of the officers working in the field.

After that the civilian and military education and training programs that include how these processes are taught to the management and military officers are reviewed. They include the current approaches opted by the Army/DoD management to teach the use of different supply chain policies to be implemented in various programs. The paper provides recommendations like what more could be done to make these processes more effective in military and defense projects and what and when training and education should be provided to the officers to gain maximum benefits from these processes.


In this section a brief history and background on the army’s evolution in supply chain management is discussed. Historically, the army has relied upon a huge amount of materials. There were “Iron Mountains” that were used for the manufacturing of different products depending upon the different changing military requirements. These supplies of resources were not quantified and the huge amount of material was provided to military o meet their requirements. This mass based redundant system was suitable when there was a War situation and enemy intrusion was unexpected and unpredictable. However, in non-war condition such process of supply chain were considered insufficient and the system seems unresponsive. The army recognized these deficiencies in their logistic system and realizes that their system is unreliable and expensive[ CITATION Arg97 l 1033 ]. Therefore, a post war “Revolutionary Military Affair” approach was adopted to make necessary changes to bring revolution in their military logistics. For that various programs were introduced which are discussed below:

Velocity Management Program

The Velocity Management Program was started in 1995 and brought great benefits to the army logistics system. It replaced the traditional mass based system with the modern concept of business based on high velocity processes that help them to meet the fast evolving needs. This velocity management combines different processes like supply chain that provide services to deliver products as well as maintain and provide different equipment and spare parts. Velocity Management made the assessment of system processes faster, better and responsive. In addition, it also reduced the cost spent previously on these projects. Initially this process was focused on fulfilling different orders for wholesale supplies. This Velocity Management program was quite successful in refining the logistic system of army which allowed them to expand this program and utilize it in other functions like financial management, inventory management processes and repair cycle times[CITATION Ame04 l 1033 ].

Distribution Management

According to the rule of the Army Regulation 711-7 (Supply chain management) outlines the term Distribution Management (DM) as; “DM involves different activities related to the efficient and effective transport of resources and material to the required destination. These activities involve warehousing, packaging, material handling, freight transportation, inventory management and information handling. In addition they also include reverse logistics activities[ CITATION Pel12 l 1033 ].”

The function of the activities involve in DM is to optimize the networks that control distribution of goods and achieve the successful and well-organized flow of employees, material and equipment to fulfill military supplies. In Army, distribution management not only involves the movement of goods and materials but they also manage the movement of forces[ CITATION Mye04 l 1033 ]. There were several important agencies within the Defense depart that were critical to the efforts of DM. Among them, the Defense Logistics Agency was the main supply agency in the Defense Department which supply and provide logistics support worldwide for Military missions and for the Unified Combatant Commands. In the US it was responsible for 90% of military food, medical, clothing and workforce management[ CITATION Sol05 l 1033 ].

In short, we can say that distribution is a constituent in supply chain management and initiates after the merchandise is being manufactured and ready to transfer. The supply chain mechanism is discussed below.

Supply Chain Management

In the United States the supply chain management techniques were used from past ten to fifteen years. Its important factors like cost reduction, customer services and integration of latest technology has brought benefits to both the commercial and logistics sector. Usually the logistics processes were carried out in different departments and managed according to their needs without concerning the impact on the rest of chain. These defects were corrected by supply chain management which eliminated the obstacles in the functional areas by taking care of all the links in the chain. It covers all areas from raw material to its manufacturing and its distribution to the final consumer[ CITATION Mac07 l 1033 ].

Supply Chain Management

Source [ CITATION Col02 l 1033 ]

Supply Chain Management possesses the ability to break the obstacles which arise between any functional areas through proper evaluation of all the links present in the chain. These links or areas which are evaluated during these levels include all the links present from buying of raw materials, production, distribution, warehousing and final delivery to the consumer. In any supply chain process all these links and levels are considered which provides the development of a consistent availability of supply and demand plan from the supplier to the consumer. It was recognized by the Defense Department that the application of supply chain management principles on their operations is beneficial hence they started implementing these techniques. Now there are Logistics and material readiness deputy officers who control and manage all these processes and lead their team towards the implementation of modern and integrated supply chain processes. These processes fully support all the military operational necessities. In order to encourage the consumer self-assurance in logistics processes, a cost effective system of supply chain management was established by the military to serve their customers with required services and products[ CITATION Arg97 l 1033 ].

According to that definition, the SCM is the organization and management of all the external and internal logistic processes, functions and information that is essential to fulfill their customer’s needs. It involves the organization of interrelated logistic procedures associated with inventory planning customer responses, transportation and supply management, warehouse management and reverse logistics[ CITATION Gre11 l 1033 ].

The army regulations also describe the organization within the military supply chain that is responsible for weapon system, support, distribution and retail supply activities, integrated material management, transport channels , organic and commercial preservation facilities and many other logistics happenings. They include manufacturing support events, reutilization, analyzing and advertising activities. The army integrates all these processes and links them with their operations to make them more transparent and to make the perspective of the logistics officer broader. In this way they can understand their responsibility and improve their decision making ability that will ultimately affect the entire system. They can also influence the assets that are saved for any uncertainty situation[CITATION Gol15 l 1033 ].

Skills and level of Competency Required by Logistics Officer

There are generally three levels for competency proposed for a distribution and supply chain manager so that he could function effectively. They include technical proficiency; logical capability and a comprehensive understanding of the supply chain model[ CITATION Jam12 l 1033 ]

Technological competency

The use of technology is evident in all processes of distribution and supply chain management. Customers and suppliers communicate with each other through information technology and by using electronic means. The logistics or supply chain manager should be capable to understand and operate all the web based hardware and software systems involved in these distribution processes. His in sufficiency to cope with these technologies can affect the efficiency of these supply chain management programs and processes. In addition, the knowledge of various commination means like radio technology of wireless communication is also necessary so that he will be able to communicate with his subordinates at any stage or at any time[ CITATION Ken13 l 1033 ].

Analytical competency

To interpret metrics and to measure performance analytical and statistical background is also helpful. For adequate analysis of problem areas and trends, the interpretation of data is necessary and the manager or officer in charge should be capable of developing design models to evaluate the whole SHM system. Military combine operations of different organizations like contractors, multinational and host nations and manage their modes of supply and transportation. All such organization constitutes a lot of data that has to be managed and interpreted and then transformed into useful information. Therefore, a good knowledge of analytics and stats is important for the logistics officer to carry out these operations successfully[ CITATION Ken13 l 1033 ].

Broad Understanding of the Supply Chain Processes

The final consideration of all the supply chain process is important and decision made in these areas can positively or negatively affect the entire chain. The knowledge of supply chain management processes like warehousing, inventory planning, maintenance and management of asset and information etc. is crucial for successfully carrying out these logistics operations. Previously in order to complete an order all the directions were converted to that order and the rest of the chain falls down. However, with this management knowledge the logistic officer is capable of carrying out multiple operations and keep in a good pace of all the processes so that the customer’s needs are satisfied as well as maintain the operations[ CITATION Ken13 l 1033 ].

Educational and Training for Army

Today much importance has been given to educate Army personnel for carrying out logistics operation with effective supply chain management. There are many colleges and institutes developed that offer courses for distribution management and logistics management. Courses like “Defense Distribution Management Course” and “Logistics Executive Development Course (LEDC)” are offered that include both transportation management and physical distribution elements in their curriculum[ CITATION Sec09 l 1033 ].

The logistics and management curriculum is now included by different naval or marine colleges for having a clear understanding of these processes. However, at this stage only theoretical knowledge is provided which includes principle and techniques which can be applied while working in practical operational environment. For that the military has established different training programs and workshops which train their officers in the light of previous operations and also educate them with the major problems and also provide their possible solutions. They not only educate army officers but also organize civilian training program so that their participation in such supply chain processes also become meaningful[ CITATION Jam12 l 1033 ].


The report provides information on how the army has transformed from a mass built system to a delivery based system. Especially for the defense related area supply chain management is discussed from both the commercial and military viewpoint. It was found that the knowledge of logistics operations and Supply chain management is necessary for carrying out these activities in cost effective and time efficient manner. For achieving that properly regular training and education should be provided from initial levels while military and civilian education programs should be organized so that they can meet the requirement and expectations of their valued customers.


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