DoD Programs routinely face a backlog of open cases for parts that are unprocurable owing to obsolescence or DMSMS. Problematic parts range from bolts and valves to complex computer electronics.
When these cases are not quickly resolved, the fallout can be significant, resulting in undermined warfighters’ missions and jeopardized lives. In this critical thought, we’ll discuss the 5 questions every program team must ask itself to ensure it’s doing what’s required to sustain its defense systems.
#1 Do you have an effective DMSMS Management Plan (DMP)?
Without a DMP, DMS can seem like “spinning plates.” A plan outlines how your program and team will manage DMS cases from start to finish. These plans should be dynamic enough to meet the availability needs of your system even when budgets fall short. The right plan will allow teams to triage open cases to avoid scrambles by providing a clearer picture of the DMSMS issues and their relative solution paths.
#2. Have you evaluated every viable option for each DMSMS case?
Program managers want options! This means they want a business case analysis (BCA) to compare the most appropriate resolution options. A good plan of action will start by gathering all the pertinent information or requirements necessary to support the sustainment of application. Requirements differ for each stakeholder of a weapon system, so be sure that all stakeholders have weighed in on what they consider the sustainment requirements to be when building out the process for establishing a BCA.
#3. Is everyone clear on their responsibility in resolving DMSMS cases?
Knowing who has the authority to fund and resolve DMS cases, and who is responsible for pulling together all the information they need to make decisions, will save time and avoid costs. Teams without a clear understanding of the layout of a stakeholder (prime contractor, depots, program office) will lose valuable time when looking to enact a time-sensitive resolution option. Missing an LTB because of a shortcoming in funding is not the same thing as missing an LTB because of confusion concerning who is responsible for funding the LTB.
#4 Do you have the visibility and relationships needed to rebuild broken supply chains?
COVID-19 has brought a lot of attention to the fragility of government supply chains. Electronic components that were once easily procurable are now in short supply, causing a major ripple across multiple industries and sectors. Having visibility and a strong relationship with your n-tier supply chain network (subcontractors, vendors, suppliers, even your supplier’s suppliers) will prove invaluable during a worst-case scenario. Companies that specialize in supply chain visibility and long-term sustainment can be effective guides to navigating multilayer supply chains.
#5. Do you have a DMP to mitigate risks?
DMSMS often feels like a treadmill of parts crises and funding scrambles. Proactive obsolescence management monitors and predicts DMSMS issues so that resolution options can be executed in time to avoid procurement and readiness delays. Strategic plans identify triggers and activities that account for the eventuality of obsolescence. Activities like forming a DMT with stakeholders and DMSMS experts, designing for obsolescence, and overseeing parts management are just a few strategic activities.