Tuesday, October 16, 2018

CH-53K is running short of spares. Our parts procurement system is broken..bring back the warehouses!!!

via Bloomberg.
Timely delivery of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s $29 billion CH-53K King Stallion helicopter for the U.S. Marine Corps may be jeopardized by a potential shortage of specialized metal components two years after the bankruptcy of a key supplier.

In an illustration of how even the biggest defense contractor depends on its supply chain, the Navy’s aircraft development and acquisition command has assembled a team with Lockheed to assess options for ensuring a steady supply of the parts. General Robert Neller, the Marine Corps commandant, is monitoring the issue.
Story here. 

Is the idea of stocking enough parts at the beginning of a program to ensure that you have enough for the life of a program a bridge too far?

The system as it exists today is based on the "just in time" model that big box stores use to lower costs and prevent spoilage in warehouses.

But the military is a totally different beast.

How many times have we seen the military purchase airplanes, tanks, whatever only to find out after a few years that the companies that produced the parts have gone out of business.

Additionally I have a problem with spreading out manufacturing to a whole host of companies.  All that does is increase vulnerability to supply disruption in my opinion.

If I recall correctly there was a time when everything needed to build widget A was found under the roof of one company and they would build it from beginning to end without including others in the work.

I don't know the answer but its beyond obvious that the current system is fraught with shatter points. 

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