By Lt. Col. Robert Williams
Today’s Army must maintain a steady state of readiness to respond to missions whenever—and wherever—they arise. Since 2003, the U.S. Army’s Logistics Modernization Program (LMP) has enabled the U.S. Army Materiel Command’s (AMC) readiness through improved business processes and advanced capabilities that track and manage production, maintenance, repair and overhaul orders at life-cycle management commands, depots, arsenals and ammunition plants. Through the expanded capabilities delivered by the recent implementation of LMP Increment 2, the system continues to support the Army’s overall readiness posture by ensuring that equipment is manufactured and repaired more quickly and cost effectively.
What’s the LMP?
The LMP is a powerful and fully integrated commercial-off-the-shelf-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that manages the process of delivering items and equipment from the home front to the field faster and more efficiently than predecessor systems. For example, the LMP has shortened the processing time of maintenance orders from two weeks to two days by automatically capturing labor when a technician performs work. LMP Increment 2 expands on the already deployed operational production baseline to specifically address shop floor automation, automatic identification technology, expanded ammunition requirements, strategic Army business transformation goals and specific DOD directives, such as item unique identification. The expanded capabilities of Increment 2 enable LMP to provide mission-critical information about production activities across the supply chain. The system also delivers needed improvements to outdated or manual processes, updates the other Army ERP systems with relevant information about the Army’s military equipment, and provides the tools to support total asset visibility regardless of the commodity—from ammunition to tank and helicopter engines and parts to gas masks.
The LMP and Army Readiness
The Army’s Sustainable Readiness Model is based on four pillars: manning, training, equipping and leader development. LMP’s principal contributions to readiness focus on the equipping pillar. The LMP supports the model primarily in two ways: It delivers end items back into the fleet more quickly, and it keeps items out of the fleet for less time. By moving equipment and parts through the manufacturing or remanufacturing process more efficiently, depots and arsenals can charge less for end items, freeing up appropriated dollars for use on other activities, including the other pillars in the readiness model.
From its start in 2003, the LMP has transformed the way the Army does business, saving time, money and effort on tracking and delivering materiel to Soldiers where and when they need it. Success through automation is critical for the future Army, and LMP Increment 2 continues efforts to switch from multiple, paper-based legacy systems to an automated, centralized system that improves Army operations. For example, a typical overhaul of an Apache or Black Hawk helicopter requires approximately 30,000 pages of documentation—enough paper to cover 75 football fields end to end. LMP Increment 2 digitizes most of that paper, using handheld tablets that support shop floor automation and automated business processes.
Increment 2 implementation took place in three waves, beginning in January 2014 and ending with the final and most comprehensive wave in May 2016. That brings the total number of LMP users to 30,000 at more than 50 locations around the world, with a primary focus on delivering shop floor automation to the AMC organic industrial base (OIB).
Since Wave 3 limited fielding in June 2015, several sites already are experiencing successes that contribute to Army readiness. For example, for the first time in the last decade, Corpus Christi Army Depot in Texas, McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in Oklahoma and the Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing Technology Center in Illinois met or exceeded all schedule goals outlined in the AMC OIB budget submitted to DA and DOD. Additionally, the three facilities exceeded planned revenue goals of $375 million by $21 million.
The system software requires more in-depth development of proper documentation to route assets through the production floor process. As a result, preparing for Increment 2 increased AMC’s ability to forecast materiel requirements by 20 percent, which will ensure that sites have the right materiel available to support mission requirements. In addition to more accurately estimating materiel requirements, TACOM and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Management Command have improved item forecasting rates by 6.5 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively. While the percentages seem small, the multiplier is the hundreds of millions of dollars these commands use to manufacture and remanufacture tanks, helicopters and other equipment.
These benefits are just the beginning of what the expanded LMP system is expected to bring to the AMC’s operations and, in turn, the Army’s overall readiness posture. Combined with its nearly 15-year history of proven efficiencies, the LMP is poised to further support the Army’s Sustainable Readiness Model by optimizing force readiness through enhanced equipment tracking and management and balancing the Army’s steady-state missions, contingency response capability and available resources, all of which rely on the equipment and materiel managed and tracked by the LMP.
The completion of the LMP Increment 2 brings full circle what the LMP set out to do nearly 15 years ago: provide world-class logistics for warfighter support. Building on that legacy, the LMP will continue to make significant contributions to sustaining readiness and further strengthening the strongest Army in the world.
Lt. Col. Williams is the product manager for the Logistics Modernization Program within the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems.