Over the past 28 years, I have served our Nation as a member of the Armed Forces with great pride. I enjoyed being a Soldier, and continually sought ways to grow as a Soldier and leader. And now, I am honored to join the great team at ProModel! I can think of no better professional fit for my background. I am convinced ProModel understands the challenges Army planners and logisticians face…and have an exceptional product and capable team at the ready to solve the toughest problem sets.
As a career logistician, I always sensed we could do just a little bit better with regard to how we supported customers and cared for the entrusted resources available. The issue was often what we referred to as “brute-force” logistics. We continually employed additive techniques to support a system that often prevented us from fully visualizing our process and anticipating the impacts of certain change.
Whether establishing logistics hubs during major exercises in Thailand or building based camps in Iraq during Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, I intuitively knew we could apply a more scientific approach. We understood the tenants of supply chain management and even specified “anticipation” as a logistics imperative. However, when I served as a National Guard Battle Command Training Program logistics trainer, I always struggled with how to answer the inevitable question of how do we know our log process works and how can we test the impacts of the anticipated change. You see, we had developed a process for what to anticipate, but we had next to nothing to do figure out what the resulting change would mean to readiness.
I can provide countless examples of planning efforts that involved spreadsheets, Post-It notes, and Power Point charts that proved insufficient in supporting the execution. The fog of war was only cleared through the extreme efforts of Soldier logisticians who facilitated our processes and closed the gaps of the unknown. It became second nature to augment our supply chain with additional resources to enhance efficiency. The Army is good at it…
However, as we move forward the technique may out run available resources. In other words, we won’t likely have Soldiers to support such facilitation. Therefore, we have gone back to the drawing board to get smarter. Over the past several years, we learned that if we have a model to track the flow of our supply chain, we can simulate the process and enhance effectiveness and efficiency. The Responsible Retrograde from Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq and the on-going efforts in retrograding supplies and equipment from Afghanistan are examples. While the Army supply chain isn’t fully optimized…the visibility, tracking and understanding of the “why” behind condition changes is much more refined.
The next natural step was to leverage modeling and simulation, coupled with some big data analytic techniques, to vertically integrate the most complex tasks we perform. In my role as Commander, US Army Materiel Command Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA), it was optimizing equipment supply against validated requirements. This was no small feat…
The Army did have a jumpstart on the demand as US Forces Command, in conjunction with ProModel, developed the ARFORGEN Synchronization tool to tell us what units were deploying and when. The next step was to extract a 1 to N demand signal by unique type of equipment. That’s when the work really started. When we applied available supply to prioritized demands and visualized over time the transactional volume was seemingly overwhelming…that is when you look at it in aggregate. When we looked at it in terms of execution, we found the efficiency gained would provide immediate value as it related to Army readiness…And that we could reduce the # of planners by nearly 100.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not to say the Army has been totally deficient in using modeling and simulation in support of our supply chain. Rather, the beauty of this effort was to move from traditional methodology and look at the problem through a new lens. We expanded the aperture…created a new playing field and entered the world of 21st Century supply chain management best business practices.
So, at the corporate level, the Army has developed capability that has value as it relates to facilitating unit readiness. Some value exists at the tactical level, but at the lowest levels, executors don’t have the tools to exploit the real power of modeling and simulation.
That’s why I like ProModel. Sorry for the cliché, but if we consider the possibilities…if we put usable tools…advanced, tailor-able, flexible modeling and simulation capabilities in the hands of those who must make decisions rapidly, then we are clearing their schedule for other more critical tasks. Whether a forward support battalion planner, Lean Six Sigma Black belt or Department of the Army resource analyst, immediately accessible and easily usable modeling and simulation capacity will ensure we make better decisions. Collectively, we need to spend more time analyzing answers and visualizing the opportunities, and less time compiling data into Power Point charts that rarely answer “what happened” much less “why it happened.” I’m convinced ProModel can help Defense customers understand the possibilities in enhancing readiness and inject greater efficiency into our decision cycle.