If we look at back at the early days of ILS, 2 things always come up.
Logistics has been considered as a Downstream activity in the system life cycle (we will figure out how to support the system once we have delivered it)
Logistics has been considered by many as being unglamorous and not on par with other professional activities. (all you have to do is fix it when it breaks)
However, before it was a “throw it over the Wall” approach where producers would pass on equipment and expect it to be supported. This resulted in support being defined and purchased once the systems were delivered to the field, with the associated delays in provision of training and spares to the end user.
Nowadays we take a life cycle approach. as advocated by SOLE in 1974
“Logistics is the art and science of management, engineering and technical activities concerned with requirements, design and supplying and maintaining resources to support objectives, plans and operations.”
Defence logistics applies a life cycle approach involving the planning, design and integration of various elements of product and the support solution
Support and test equipment
Transportation and handling
Personnel and Training
Interestingly computing resources used to be a major part of this list due to the size of computers and the requirement to transport programme tapes and discs, which now seems a ridiculous problem. This is no longer the issue it was with the advent of powerful portable devices.
An example of this, In the past when a squadron of F14 Tomcat aircraft were deployed to an aircraft carrier, the technical documentation amounted to several tons of paper, now this and more information can be provided either from the cloud or internal servers.
This comes down to the right spare parts with the right people and tools in the right place at the right time.
Now support requirements are planned right from the start of the programme and support is delivered with the systems and ILS is directly involved in the design of the system to minimise the sum of the production and support costs.
Historically spares were only manufactured after the main production run had been completed. this often resulted in spares not being manufactured to the same build standard or being delivered late because of lead times for components or raw materials.
It is important to remember that Logistics is not
There for its’ own sake – it exists for the support the operation of the system and its components.
And logistics is not new, elements of logistics have been in existence for years, but not integrated or treated on a life cycle basis, like it is now.