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A corporation has been awarded a contract to manufacture a particular
product. A program manager has been assigned to supervise this project but has
not included time or money in the project budget for planning logistic
support. As a result, logistics are virtually ignored. With time, certain
contract logistic requirements become due: preliminary technical manuals, LSA
data, training plans, spares lists, and manpower estimates. The customer
begins to ask the program manager for these items, but little or nothing has
been done to produce them. The program manager, not having the answers
himself, finally contacts the logistics manager for help.
At this point, logistics finally starts to receive consideration, but it is
really too late. The various logistic elements are given their assignments and
delivery dates. With some exceptions, the requirements are delivered on time,
but the whole purpose of an integrated approach to logistics support during
product development is lost. Again, logistics has been an
Logistics should be given a role in the development of a new product equal
to that of other program areas of design, test, production, facilities, and
management. For best results, these other program areas must interface with
logistics, and the various elements within logistics must interface with each
other. Program management has the sole responsibility to see that this
interface happens in a smooth and orderly manner.
The logistics manager should provide the means to ensure that the logistic
elements communicate with each other constantly. For instance, the logistics
analysts (the support and test equipment element) must work with the training
and technical manual elements so that the training programs and technical
documentation support each other. Also, the design engineers need to keep the
logistics analysts informed of design changes so the common data base used by
all the logistic elements can be kept up to date.
This coordinated effort requires cooperation and agreement between program
management and logistics management to start and keep the flow of information
This integrated approach to product development and the resulting free
flow of information will produce a product that is well designed, meets
the customer's needs, and is easy to maintain - all at a reasonable
Follow Best Practices
An integrated logistics program is most beneficial when used with best
practices during product design and development. For example:
Timing is essential. Begin each logistic element at the earliest point that
it can be beneficial to the product design program. Note, not all elements
influence the design process at the same point.
Determine the customer's logistic needs and wants before presenting a
product support concept.
Apply the various logistic elements in an orderly manner. Haphazard
logistics is expensive and does not benefit a product design.
Make sure both the customer and the contractor understand and agree on
logistic support needs before development of that support begins.
Properly tailor LSA to obtain pertinent LSAR output information to support
the logistic elements for the most cost-effective and useful program.
- Use and keep current the common LSA data base to inject specialized LSA
information back into the design effort for improved logistic support.
Ensure that design changes are incorporated into all affected logistic
element areas. For example, make sure both training and the support technical
If appropriate, conduct periodic reviews to keep the logistic determination
processes on track.