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Thread: The Future of Logistics

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    Default The Future of Logistics

    I am working on a 2 page paper on 'The Future of Logistics?' I am interested in your opinions on the topic and am looking for any material on this subject. Thank you in advance for your comments.

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    Default Background

    This new member has added some bio details on his profile, which explain his background and why he has made this request (full-time NG). So if curious check there.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Two pages? You need to be a master of compression.

    I envisaged about 15 pages when I thought about such a thing.


    Is your topic of general nature or about the near-term future in your specific service/nation?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEW-BE LOGGIE View Post
    I am working on a 2 page paper on 'The Future of Logistics?' I am interested in your opinions on the topic and am looking for any material on this subject. Thank you in advance for your comments.
    In Army terms, whether the consolidation of MOSs and specialties into the "multifunctional logistician" concepts can actually work, or are critical skills being lost in the individual domains of ordenance, transportation, quartermaster, ect.

    Since you're in Overland Park, contact the CGSC Department of Logistics Operations at Leavenworth lots of experts there. Head to the CARL library website and I'm sure there are tons of MMAS and SAMS theses on the subject for download.

    http://cgsc.leavenworth.army.mil/car...entdm/home.htm
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    Somewhat on topic, is anyone aware of any open-source collection of NSN's, CEOI, BII, AAL, and parts lists from -20 level manuals? Logistics is much simpler at the Company level when this stuff is available. A computer geek like me could make a program that would make change of command inventories, maintenance tracking, LOGSTATs, etc, much easier to manage. The data, last I knew, was available via FEDLOG discs (one NSN query at a time), but that was not very useful to putting together anything with mass amounts of data. I have seen a few websites that have the data, but there's no way to download the information in one shot.

    Just an illustration of what one can do with this - a few years ago, I had a 50MB Access database to track our supply, maintenance, and accountability status - it would spit out the LOGSTAT, tally up the 2406 data, track our PLL and QSS inventories, and (my personal favorite) compare current and recent 5988Es with the DCR, which was a great illustration of the random pencil-whipping that the crews did on their 5988Es. Within 15 minutes of crews turning in 5988Es, I was in their platoon areas, asking "how did this get fixed without the part coming in? And what about this other fault that we got a part for two days ago - did it break again?" I could filter the information on anything according to just about any criteria (PLT, length of time, type of fault, weapon, ammo, anything). While other XOs would spend half a day jumping through their butts to respond to some random RFI from the Bn XO, I could respond in about 5 minutes. It also served the same function as my supply sergeant's ULLS box (other than the ability to enter orders). It was a handy reference on the frequent occasion that his ULLS crashed.

    I don't know about logistics at higher levels, but it could be much simpler at the company level if the data were available to make a program (maybe it's an OPSEC issue?). I had to enter most of the data above manually into a spreadsheet and then import it into the database. It gave me something to do on two days of Brigade Staff Duty, but it sucked and shouldn't need to be that time-consuming - and the information occasionally changes. Programs to simplify the tasks above could be made available if the data were available. They can easily be made for a laptop or for an iPod Touch or similar device. Or has it already happened since I ETS'd?

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    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    See if you can find the Martin Van Creveld book Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton (Cambridge University Press, 2004).

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    Default I know a little bit about that.

    In Army terms, whether the consolidation of MOSs and specialties into the "multifunctional logistician" concepts can actually work, or are critical skills being lost in the individual domains of ordenance, transportation, quartermaster, ect.

    In my time, in small unit, Supply guy reports to commander, spends more time in the ops cell, The 4 shop, and BDE HQ than the supply room. This in order to help anticipate what may be logistically needed.

    Could move from unit to unit and still maintain some support for the other. It's an asset and should find enough to do - always busy and taking action on things before they hit staff call tomorrow.

    The skill set changes too fast through technology and the mission has become too diverse. The optempo is pretty intense and many operations are only done once.

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    Council Member Brett Patron's Avatar
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    Any discussion of logistics in this era probably requires (re)definition of Class X supplies in a more formal way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Two pages? You need to be a master of compression.

    I envisaged about 15 pages when I thought about such a thing.


    Is your topic of general nature or about the near-term future in your specific service/nation?
    Yes, only two pages on the ‘Future of the Logistics Corps’. It’s a Professional Development paper required by the school house I'm reporting to next week. I figured that a Request for Info here would get a hit or two. So far so good.

    Please keep your ideas coming; I consider it valuable and constructive. Thank you in advance for your assistance!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    Somewhat on topic, is anyone aware of any open-source collection of NSN's, CEOI, BII, AAL, and parts lists from -20 level manuals?
    Not specifically what you're looking for, but we use HAYSTACK Gold a lot.

    Another great example, albeit limited, is MSDS Hyper Glossary.

    Just the country codes help us with identifying ordnance. Someone should get this idea/catalog of yours going
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Someone should get this idea/catalog of yours going
    That's what I don't get. It's out there, already compiled. It just isn't available, as far as I know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    That's what I don't get. It's out there, already compiled. It just isn't available, as far as I know.
    "We've got it, but it's classified so you can't have it."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    That's what I don't get. It's out there, already compiled. It just isn't available, as far as I know.
    I used to use the LOGSA tools online as a commander. A great set of tools to find almost anything. Contains FEDLOG and many other useful tools, such as a tracker for all your document # (orders, in civilian terms). It will do Fedex like tracking on your requisitions, telling you when it leaves the DLA source and makes it into your local SSA.

    https://www.logsa.army.mil/index.cfm...home.startSite

    It also prevents the pilferage that occurs in the system, especially with "neat" items. As a commander, I found the NSN for some new Camelbacks for my guys. I ordered them and waited for them to come in. One day, I checked online and found the document marked as received by our SSA (distro warehouse). I sent my supply SGT down to get them. Our SSA claimed they weren't in, and the supply SGTcame back empty handed. I printed the receipt report from online and sent him back, and told him that if they didn't produce I was contacting the SPO (Support Plans Officer) immediately. The SSA suddenly found them. Amazing.

    Later, I trained my XO, Supply SGT, and all my LTs to do the same. Worked on all classes of supply. The tool let me also verify that my supply sgt and PLL clerk were ordering what I requested. As a result, my company was the best supplied in the BCT. Oddly, others weren't too interested in copying us, I found it hard to convince other co's to take the time to do the same. Council member and fellow commander tankersteve had good success with the system too.
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    Neil,

    The information access that you pointed out was what I, too, used as an XO. My supply sergeant was great and I taught him to use it and he routinely did the checks such as those you illustrate. I made several trips to the class II and IX warehouses to demand "WTF?" when one of his checks revealed SNAFUs such as that (with emphasis on the "N").

    My concern is the data access (as opposed to information tracking). If I could get my hands on a spreadsheet or csv or xml file or something that had NSNs, CIICs, UIs, class of supply, for all end items, COEI, BII, AAL, and a listing of authorized -20 class II and IX parts for those end items, then I could match this up with a company MTOE and create a program that would spit out not just hand receipts, but arms room cards and SHRs, bar-coded labels for parts bins, a system to track maintenance, FLIPLs, lateral transfers, new issues, codeouts, 5988E and DCR tracking system, supply and PLL/QSS inventories, etc. I did this with a primitive database as an XO. Now that I am a better programmer and have significantly more free time, I could create something significantly more user friendly that would automate all of that crap, reduce errors, and make it easier to identify when the crews and/or maintenance chief are BS-ing, identify where supplies are being wasted, and a slew of other things. I'm sure others could do even more impressive things. I don't understand why the data isn't available in some form that is easy to obtain. I could do queries into LOGSA or FEDLOG (if I still had access) one query at a time. But that would take about a year.

    Look at all of the Apps that have sprung up for smartphones. Imagine if the Army made some limited data - such as unclassified NSNs - more readily available to facilitate creative individual innovations. Then again - I've been out of a year now - has this stuff already happened?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    Neil,

    The information access that you pointed out was what I, too, used as an XO. My supply sergeant was great and I taught him to use it and he routinely did the checks such as those you illustrate. I made several trips to the class II and IX warehouses to demand "WTF?" when one of his checks revealed SNAFUs such as that (with emphasis on the "N").

    My concern is the data access (as opposed to information tracking). If I could get my hands on a spreadsheet or csv or xml file or something that had NSNs, CIICs, UIs, class of supply, for all end items, COEI, BII, AAL, and a listing of authorized -20 class II and IX parts for those end items, then I could match this up with a company MTOE and create a program that would spit out not just hand receipts, but arms room cards and SHRs, bar-coded labels for parts bins, a system to track maintenance, FLIPLs, lateral transfers, new issues, codeouts, 5988E and DCR tracking system, supply and PLL/QSS inventories, etc. I did this with a primitive database as an XO. Now that I am a better programmer and have significantly more free time, I could create something significantly more user friendly that would automate all of that crap, reduce errors, and make it easier to identify when the crews and/or maintenance chief are BS-ing, identify where supplies are being wasted, and a slew of other things. I'm sure others could do even more impressive things. I don't understand why the data isn't available in some form that is easy to obtain. I could do queries into LOGSA or FEDLOG (if I still had access) one query at a time. But that would take about a year.

    Look at all of the Apps that have sprung up for smartphones. Imagine if the Army made some limited data - such as unclassified NSNs - more readily available to facilitate creative individual innovations. Then again - I've been out of a year now - has this stuff already happened?
    Fully agree! Some of that is coming online as we speak. On a related issue, I'm still waiting for DIMHRS, which will interact with DTMS, and finally eliminate the need for company databases of information the army already knows but is too inept to keep in one place (such as boot sizes, martial status, etc) where it can be accessed without RFIing the companies every day wanting to know how many left handed size 13 right boot wearers on profile there are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    Fully agree! Some of that is coming online as we speak. On a related issue, I'm still waiting for DIMHRS, which will interact with DTMS, and finally eliminate the need for company databases of information the army already knows but is too inept to keep in one place (such as boot sizes, martial status, etc) where it can be accessed without RFIing the companies every day wanting to know how many left handed size 13 right boot wearers on profile there are.
    That sounds like a great start. Now if that system allows an XO or supply sergeant to extract all of the data mentioned in my prior post, then that could allow folks at the user level to create something that more accurately reflects how units operate and the greater number of tasks that can be automated.

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    Default A non-military viewpoint

    Quote Originally Posted by NEW-BE LOGGIE View Post
    I am working on a 2 page paper on 'The Future of Logistics?' I am interested in your opinions on the topic and am looking for any material on this subject. Thank you in advance for your comments.
    From an "armchair" outsider on the 'The Future of Logistics' a lot depends on whether you are considering a conventional campaign (HIC), COIN or expeditionary conflict or being at peace (in garrison)?

    For all manner of reasons commitments to immediate action, whether HIC or COIN, rarely lasts a short time and along comes a far from "light" campaign logistics "tail" - with PMC and host nation(s) help of course. That is what needs to be considered - hard - and clearly presented to decision-makers. Look how long outsiders have been in Bosnia.

    Can a "light" campaign be logistically supported, reliably from regional resources and the "tail" kept small? We know a "hi-tech" war is not logistically "light", just look at the two Gulf Wars.

    If the US / another national defence budget was reduced - like Canada and France did - what capability for logistics is retained? Some idea of the time-scales involved in restoring capability should be in the paper.
    davidbfpo

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    I think that David is on the right track with his discussion of tail.

    And more importantly, you have to link time and logistics. Building up enough supplies for an invasion can take months. The less stuff you take the faster you can act.

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    Default Not a logistician,

    but this document here, although USAF-centric, appears relevant to the discussion at hand.

    I stumbled across it while searching for information on command in the RFC but immediately thought of this thread.

    The only caveat I would put on it is that I am of the belief that the policy for just-in-time logistics (championed in the form of a vignette in this journal) failed to adequately sustain the US ground forces in Iraq, 2003 and was phased out as another over-hyped concept... maybe someone could confirm this?

    However, in terms of historical examples and logistical bywords, I imagine this may be of some help.

    http://www.aflma.hq.af.mil/lgj/old%2...202006_cor.pdf
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    Armour journal or so had a nice article some time ago - something about breaking the tether of fuel. That was a nice start.


    By the way, I've got a question since the membership here is multinational:

    Q: In which countries is it usual to have a detachment of the field unit at field depots to organise, reserve and prepare supplies for the truck convoys of their field units?

    I'm thinking of receiving requests, preparing custom pallets full of spare parts, preparing a map of where the needed supplies are and guiding the truckers to the supplies & assist with loading/unloading?
    I have the impression that this is usually not organic to field units, but rather the job of rather neutral, not so motivated supply clerks of the field depot units.

    Another question:

    Q: How 'normal' are convoy security units internationally?

    As I understand some countries assign scouts, AT Plts and others in makeshift solutions for convoy security.

    That may work half-satisfactorily in COIN, but what's about great, mobile wars?

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