Weapons and ammunition are as such a material type with a wide diversity in terms of complexity and use, for example, a bullet next to the guided missile. These complex items require a real-time transparency of processes and many other specificities as demonstrated in a recent research report by Rand about supply chain for training ammunition.
Throughout this article, we will raise some issues that we think are major and how the ILIAS platform offers an instrument to support weapons and ammunition management.
COMPLEXITY AND UNIQUE SUPPLY-CLASS PROPERTIES
As we mentioned earlier, management and maintenance can be really complex regarding the nature of the item. To cite a few examples, weapons and ammunition require inspection, preventive maintenance, modifications, assembling and conditioned storage and transport where they are under the constraints of export regulations throughout the supply chain.
Given that complexity, an ERP or any other Defense Logistics Information System needs to cover all of the named specificities for a consistent ammunition management and accurate forecasting of a warehouse necessities.
It is undeniable that handling ammunition, weapons and explosives requires a special attention. Also, many procedures and items are potentially hazardous for warehouse and store manager.
Unfortunately, safety responsibilities are not always uniformly designated within military defenses and the harmfulness of some material not well documented which could cause significant damage.
SEVERAL DATABASES AND UNMEASURED COST EFFICIENCY
Complexity also implies the treatment of a huge amount of heterogeneous data, such as types of munitions, serialization, lot number, etc. We noticed that in many cases, the warehouses use different and unconnected databases to capture this data resulting in a non-effective analysis of the workload. Furthermore, this scattered information is acting like a brake now on the measurement of cost efficiency on maintenance, storage or transport of the ammunition.
NO STANDARDIZATION OF WAREHOUSES AND SUPPLY POINTS
The points cited above lead us to a more general observation about the lack of standardization of ammunition warehouses and supply points in the way to capture and treat data. Yet we know that standards and transparency of the information are essential to secure the readiness and efficiency of MOD’s.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND ILIAS CAPABILITIES
Now that the problems have been exposed, let’s have an insight on some of the improvements and see how ILIAS software can definitely help military departments to manage their ammunition from warehouse to operation.
From codification to supply, ILIAS is exclusively made for the military by the military to deal with the diversity, sensitivity and the hazardous characteristics of weapons and ammunition.
Codification and configuration
A very first step would be to capture and treat data into a single integrated system with standardized metrics and codification to allow data transparency and forecast on supplies or maintenance of ammunition and weapon system.
For this purpose, ILIAS Defense platform provides one single reference base for information on the weapons and ammunition based on the NATO codification. Indeed, the NATO Serial Number (NSN) is at the heart of the system and interfaces with NACOMS are provided on a standard basis.
Furthermore, the ILIAS Platform allows managing various item types, matching the diversity of ammunitions and each supporting different material management principles:
- Asset, consumable and repairable;
- Serialized and non-serialized;
- Lot managed;
- Assembly or ‘kit’.
The platform also allows uploading of documentation and drawings of weapon and ammunition that can be consulted by any authorized user.
Hazardous material and security
The ILIAS Platform offer trough the “HazMat” module to complete the materiel with specific data on safety and handling allowing authorized users to consult key information on properties and measures in specific circumstances.
The functionality allows producing a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that accompanies hazardous materials during storage, transport, handling and usage.
This guarantees the correct handling of hazardous materials and assets in order not to endanger Defense personnel the environment.
Inventory, storage and supply
To tackle complexity the MOD’s should procure custom-made software solutions with specific functionalities regarding the ammunition storage and supply.
In this respect, ILIAS includes advanced features like:
- Organization of ammo storage by means of physical (on base) and virtual (in mission, deployed) warehouses linked to units and zones.
- Tracking of ammunition transportation, including detailed information on personnel and/or tooling and packaging, labels, barcodes or special handling instructions.
- The issue method FEFO “First Expired, First out” is applied in order to use and consume in priority the ammunition with the shortest remaining life.
- The ILIAS platform provides advanced functionality for replenishment of ammunition; various algorithms are available, using both ‘push’ and ‘pull’ algorithms
- In-depth obsolescence management functionality for the phasing-out of expired, defective and obsolete ammunition and weapons, that need to be decommissioned according to well defined procedures.
Maintenance, inspections and assembly
To maintain the diversity of ammunition, ILIAS allows store managers to inspect the safety and the compliance of the items with their technical instructions at regular times (as prescribed in the preventive maintenance and inspection schemes). These schemes are managed in the ILIAS Platform and automatically launch the necessary work orders for technicians and inspectors in due time, based on the usage of the items or time based.
During a mission preparation, specific work orders can also be generated to (de)install equipment (e.g. launchers on the asset), (dis)assemble the required ammunition if applicable (e.g. assembly of A/C bombs) and the mounting on a weapon system.
Training and operations
During training and operation, weapons are used and ammunition is consumed. The usage and consumption triggers the processes in the ILIAS Platform for registration of the disposal and the maintenance of the weapon systems.
Thanks to the setup of the system configuration tree, it is possible to define exactly where the weapons are located, or on which asset they are mounted (e.g. on which A/C) using the ‘asset tracking’ functionality.
Finally, providing guidance and special training within warehouses and supply points will become crucial to improve safety, knowledge sharing and transparency. On this last point, the ILIAS platform allows managing competency and currency of technical personnel in order to guarantee efficient task execution according to procedures.
Features supported by the ILIAS Defense platform
If you want to know more about ILIAS NVO do not hesitate to ask for a demonstration: