Jun 21, 2008

The "Civilian" Military Supply Chain

A road-map into the future?

A brief look at history tells us that the indispensable supply chains of today that are such a happening topic in today's corporate world, had their humble roots like any other radical invention - they were born out of necessity. Not that the criticality of supply requirements of thehistory military matches that of the current business environment. But still we plan assuming that to be the case so that we derive maximum efficiency of the supply chain. The history of the supply chain really dates back to the two World Wars when the term "Logistics" actually started becoming a part of common speech.

During World War I and even into World War II, countries were still using animals to transport. So it was critical that they planned supplies at the right times and got them to reach on time. Many of the logistical marvels of today have their roots in battlefields only to find themselves move slowly but surely into the boardrooms of today. Thank goodness though, that there are no mules being used now. :)

Considering the fact that many companies were looking at retired men from the army to handle their logistics, things are not too bad i guess - guys like me are getting a chance as well. Into the Second World War, logistics played a major part. And after the war had stopped, the fever called logistics had just about begun to haunt the world. This stemmed from the challenges faced in handling of parts involved in manufacturing complex weapon equipment. This was when the first predecessor of today's all-too-common "Distribution Center" was built.

So what we can conclude is that military logistics was the driving force behind today's civilian logistics industry - and still is - in many countries. But just as a passing thought - does it take a lot of time for the tables to turn? Does it take a lot of time for the drivers to become the driven? Take for example this article written early this month in Forbes. It refers to a recent deal made by the U.S. Department of Defense with Menlo Worldwide Government Services which could amount to in excess of a-billion-and-a-half dollars for cargo management. Well the article indicates that the army believes that it is greatly benefiting by incorporating outsourcing into their strategy.

Even completely ignoring the implications in terms of sensitive military information going into the hands of civilians, I cannot but stop and wonder if this is the road-map to the future. Is the sun (in the picture) rising or setting? The army thinks that making itself leaner (even if it translates into "sans innovation") is the way to go but I somehow would feel more safe in the hands of a beefier army.

Jun 21, 2008

The "Civilian" Military Supply Chain

A road-map into the future?

A brief look at history tells us that the indispensable supply chains of today that are such a happening topic in today's corporate world, had their humble roots like any other radical invention - they were born out of necessity. Not that the criticality of supply requirements of thehistory military matches that of the current business environment. But still we plan assuming that to be the case so that we derive maximum efficiency of the supply chain. The history of the supply chain really dates back to the two World Wars when the term "Logistics" actually started becoming a part of common speech.

During World War I and even into World War II, countries were still using animals to transport. So it was critical that they planned supplies at the right times and got them to reach on time. Many of the logistical marvels of today have their roots in battlefields only to find themselves move slowly but surely into the boardrooms of today. Thank goodness though, that there are no mules being used now. :)

Considering the fact that many companies were looking at retired men from the army to handle their logistics, things are not too bad i guess - guys like me are getting a chance as well. Into the Second World War, logistics played a major part. And after the war had stopped, the fever called logistics had just about begun to haunt the world. This stemmed from the challenges faced in handling of parts involved in manufacturing complex weapon equipment. This was when the first predecessor of today's all-too-common "Distribution Center" was built.

So what we can conclude is that military logistics was the driving force behind today's civilian logistics industry - and still is - in many countries. But just as a passing thought - does it take a lot of time for the tables to turn? Does it take a lot of time for the drivers to become the driven? Take for example this article written early this month in Forbes. It refers to a recent deal made by the U.S. Department of Defense with Menlo Worldwide Government Services which could amount to in excess of a-billion-and-a-half dollars for cargo management. Well the article indicates that the army believes that it is greatly benefiting by incorporating outsourcing into their strategy.

Even completely ignoring the implications in terms of sensitive military information going into the hands of civilians, I cannot but stop and wonder if this is the road-map to the future. Is the sun (in the picture) rising or setting? The army thinks that making itself leaner (even if it translates into "sans innovation") is the way to go but I somehow would feel more safe in the hands of a beefier army.