Over the last couple of weeks I have been developing some ideas for ILS training courses to be delivered online. As part of the research I actually sat down and read through Def Stan 00-600 parts 1, 2, and 3, also an old copy of Mil std 1388, but that is another story.
I have had the opportunity to have worked on both sides of the fence within DE&S and in industry, so I have experienced the pressures placed on the MoD ILSM to meet the qovernance and scrutiny set by SEOC and the pressures passed over from MILSM to the Contractor ILSM.
I was looking at the relationship between customer and industry in the context of contracting for ILS on defence programmes. This research has shown up some very interesting issues.
My intention was to discuss the interfaces between the MoD (customer) and the industry (supplier).
I also looked at the changes between the original Mil Std and the Def Stan, this showed that the original contains description of the actual steps with in the ILS process and the expected inputs and outputs.
Someone very wisely said once that “if you prescribe the process you prescribe the price” and I can see that not doing so enabled industry to develop their own processes to provide the required results.
Getting back to the Def Stan 00-600 parts 1, 2, and 3, having read through these weighty volumes, it has become obvious that the required output is not actually described. I have always understood that ILS in the process by which an appropriate and effective support solution is developed. I have also noticed that 00-600 part 1 identifies the following “The contractor shall conduct SA, in accordance with an MOD recognised SA standard. Examples of acceptable standards in order of preference are listed below:
- ASD S3000L
- SAE-TA-STD-0017 (Product Support Analysis)
- SAE-GEIA-STD-0007B (Logistics Product Data)
- Mil Hndbk 502A (Product Support Analysis)”
This was news to me, and I am sure that it will be to many ILS managers in industry.
There is also a problem with aligning the customers’ expectations of output and schedule as there are DE&S internal milestones which the MoD ILSM has to meet to satisfy the governance aspects and the programme schedule which in many cases to not align.
The Supportability Analysis schedule always lags the design schedule, this results in analysis being based on an earlier baseline or lacking detail if the design review baseline is used. This results in a difference in the level of detail of support analysis available at the design reviews to that of the design data.
The customer expectation is that the support solution will be delivered in total by the contractor is misguided. The support solution cannot be delivered solely by the contractor, as there are several stakeholders such as the Front Line Command (FLC) who own and control the support delivery, resources etc. The MoD hold the contractual framework that forms the wider support solution, and other DE&S teams who hold responsibility for interfacing programmes.
A recent programme I was involved in asked the contractor to provide an innovative support solution, which fitted into the current support contract structure. As this support contract was between the MoD and a third party contractor, the opportunity for innovation was both negligible and nugatory as the third party were not interested in another contractor changing their business model.
There is also a misconception that when a “Contractor” is identified in the standard that this a single entity. In the same way that DE&S are divided into acquisition and In service support teams, so is the contractor organisation and there is no recognition that there are handover, events which will be crucial to the successful role out of a support solution. There is a continuous process of explanation and justification build into the ILS process. This returns to the point that the customer during CADM phases is not the same as for ID/T within the CADMID/T life cycle.
Is it not now the time to accept that contractors have an ILS process inherent in their working practices, which does not need to be regurgitated in another set of plans for each project that comes along.
No other discipline has to justify the proposed approach to the contract. Why ILS?
There needs to be more focus on the required output “A Support Solution” rather than the process of getting to the target.
I realise that this will change the way in which the customer gains confidence that the progress of design influence and supportability analysis is developing. There are potential savings as well as the requirements for multiple plan development and updates can be reduced, saving in time and money and allowing the day job of analyses to continue.