Military organisations and their in-service support partners have made big strides towards using software to manage mission-critical weapon systems and IT infrastructures but data collection, analysis and execution are not advancing at the same pace. It’s this data backbone which permeates three key predictions for defence logistics and support in 2022.
It has been well-documented that military operators and defence in-service support providers have modernised their logistics and supply chain processes, accelerated by the pandemic, more connected assets entering operations and the maturity of enabling technologies including augmented/virtual reality, digital twins, 3D printing, AI, among others.
But there is still a digital disconnect at play despite this progress. While tech-enabled workflows, assets and processes have grown rapidly, supporting IT infrastructure has not. The U.S. Government Accountability Office highlighted this in a recent report that cited that the DOD’s data collection and IT development was not matching the speed of technological change with mission critical weapon systems.
As the role of IT infrastructure is put under the microscope, it’s exactly this data backbone that runs throughout the three key military logistics and support developments to watch out for in 2022 and beyond
1. Ensuring military asset outcomes takes precedence over traditional procurement models – resulting in outcomes-based software growth of over 10%
For equipment procurement and support, in recent years, the military has ascended the so-called ‘transformational staircase’ out of the scenario of simply buying and maintaining their own assets and equipment. The risk and availability linked with supporting an asset through its military lifecycle has increasingly involved industry assistance from OEMs or military in-service support providers. Now, performance-based logistics (PBL) is the widely accepted model for the procurement and support of military equipment. PBL strategies work effectively when applied to a specific asset or components but these service-based agreements can even be taken a step further—what is deemed at IFS as “Total Asset Readiness®” in relation to force-wide asset mobilisation and visibility.
This move towards a service-based approach for military asset support is underlined by recent research from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) who examined the cross-industry shifts towards delivering outcomes and, pinpointed servitisation as “the focus of creating and capturing value shifts from one-time sales to long-term partnerships.” It’s therefore no surprise that the BCG report sees the defence sector prioritising the adoption of enterprise asset management (EAM) solutions in the next three years.
My prediction is for the ‘next evolution’ of asset support to be focused on installing a constant and transparent framework across the entirety of a military force, connecting the military operator, OEM and in-service support providers. All separate reporting mechanisms and software systems can be consolidated within a single, all-encompassing solution, giving commanders planning operations a real-time image of each asset at their immediate disposal—tracking asset readiness within the context of the mission they need to complete.