The COVID-19 pandemic taught the world many lessons, but perhaps one of the most important was the need for a dependable supply chain, because delivering items on time, to the point-of-need, is critical.
The Life Cycle Management Commands subordinate to the U.S. Army Materiel Command have experienced first-hand the complexity of managing through supply chain issues during the various stages of the pandemic, and it shined a spotlight on the need for supply chain optimization — to ensure Soldiers have the parts, equipment and materiel they need, when and where they need them.
AMC’s supply chain optimization effort launched in October 2021. It went live Jan. 30 and is expected to be fully operational later this spring, completing an 18-month process.
The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, one of three LCMCs under AMC — was charged with leading the SCO workforce productivity integrated planning team. The team’s priorities were redefining roles, creating a new operation culture, determining a skills matrix for the newly organized positions and baseline system training.
“The supply chain optimization effort is really a focused effort to standardize supply support across the Army, and to all our joint service customers as well,” said Gerry Bates, chief of the AMCOM Logistics Center Support Operations Division. “All of the LCMCs were doing it differently — effective, but different. This will allow us to garner more efficiencies.”
Bates said prior to the effort, the AMCOM functions were all stove piped in different directorates with similar operational missions, such as supply planning for aviation, supply planning for missiles, demand planning for aviation and demand planning for missiles. Now, all of those individuals are under the supply chain optimization directorate.
“We have functionally aligned the duties and also given the workforce the opportunity to cross-train to become totally efficient in each area, creating upward mobility,” he said. “This is one of the most critical pieces of the puzzle, because you can’t do any other function unless you have a properly trained workforce.”
The new SCO process has been live for less than a month, so, while it is too early to see concrete data in terms of success, Bates said the process is moving forward and most importantly, their customers — the warfighters — are seeing uninterrupted support.
“We are good at what we do, but we can be better at it,” Bates said. “This is something that the AMC commanding general felt we needed to look at across all of AMC — how we provide supply chain support to the joint warfighter — because we can always find more effective and efficient ways to perform these functions and that’s the goal of this initiative.”