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Subscribe to our Newsletter Get the latest tips, news, and developments. The phrase supply chain is a business term that has made its way into the popular vernacular—but with many different connotations. The global network used to deliver products and services from raw materials to end customers through an engineered flow of information, physical distribution, and cash. This post explores the physical structure of supply chains, viewing them as echeloned support networks.
Typically, these flows pass through several echelons of supply and maintenance activities. Can We View These Supply Chains as Echelons of Support Networks? While is representative of the supply structure for many items in the Air Force inventory, the structure for other items may be much more complex. So, it does seem that viewing supply chains as echeloned support networks may allow a better portrayal of modern support network complexity. Although externally similar in appearance, the different railcar series share varying degrees of component commonality. Metro-internal overhaul shops or by outside vendors. Car Maintenance operating locations as well as the Metro Supply Facility.
In reality, these echeloned support networks are used by many different industries to sustain technologically complex, high cost, and mission critical end-items. So, what does all this complexity mean for reparable item sparing? Although business analytical tools and capabilities have significantly progressed since the 1950’s, the challenges of managing complex support activities still remain and warrant careful consideration by inventory managers. Actually, efficiently and effectively managing reparable item inventories requires a thorough understanding your supply chain! Often, this necessitates viewing the supply chain as an interrelated series of echeloned support networks. The underlying echelon or network resupply structure will have a substantial impact on the amount of inventory needed. There are clearly many possible structures.
There are many variations on this theme: some systems have many more echelons, some have fewer. Nonetheless, they are similar in structure. In future posts, we’ll expand on this structurally-oriented theme and take a closer look at the asset and information flows within a reparable supply chain. Compendium of Authenticated Systems and Logistics Terms, Definitions, and Acronyms. School of Systems and Logistics, AFIT, Wright-Patterson AFB OH, 1981. Designing and Managing the Supply Chain: Concepts, Strategies, and Case Studies. Analysis and Algorithms for Service Parts Supply Chains.
These loops circulate ammonia outside the station to keep both internal and external equipment cool. Christmas morning we find a new pump module under the Christmas tree on the Space Station. Clearly, the need for a spare part can happen to any system, anywhere, at any time! So, how did ISS engineers know what spare parts might be required to perform an emergency on-orbit cooling system repair?