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Teamcenter enables UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to transform, streamline and optimize logistics processes through Design Repository
The lifetime cost of supporting defense equipment can exceed the cost of its initial procurement. When that cost is more than £10 billion per year, there is clearly a lot at stake, which is why the United Kingdom (UK) Ministry of Defence (MoD) turned to the current Defence Standard for Integrated Logistics Support (ILS), or 00-60, as the mechanism to manage this cost and influence equipment design for maintainability – both in selecting equipment and delivering effective support for equipment in the field.
As part of that initiative, the MoD is engaged in transforming the current complex web of logistics processes and systems into a streamlined, optimized, agile and effective end-to-end logistics support chain, fully integrated with the front line and industry. Operating within Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the Logistics Network Enabled Capability (Log NEC) Programme is providing a framework for logistics information services, programs and applications to facilitate greater coherence and communication between the MoD and its providers, as well as to ensure commonality and interoperability between separate logistics information systems. The Log NEC Programme is utilizing Teamcenter® software to support its Design Repository (DR) capability as a key component of its overall architecture.
Within the MoD, DE&S manages resources for the UK’s armed forces for current and future operations. DE&S has responsibility for Her Majesty’s (HM) Naval Bases, the Joint Support Chain and British Forces Post Office (BFPO). Employing approximately 22,500 people, with an annual budget of £13 billion, DE&S acquires equipment and provides through-life support and services for it. Primary equipment/support services cover ships, aircraft, vehicles, weapons, information systems and satellite communications. DE&S also provides sustainment of ongoing requirements, including food, clothing, medical supplies and temporary accommodations. DE&S utilizes its Defence Storage and Distribution Agency (DSDA) arm for storage, maintenance, processing and distribution of materials.
The Log NEC Programme manages a range of engineering and logistics applications used across defense, from equipment failure reporting systems to those managing engineering information. During the creation of what was then called the Support Chain Programme, in the early 2000s, it became clear there was significant systems overlap and duplication within the portfolio of over 400 logistics systems. These arrangements were complex, resource-intensive to manage and made it difficult to provide the information needed to transform the logistics operation. In a move to resolve and rationalize part of this application footprint, the Log NEC Programme re-examined the User Requirement for systems managing engineering and ILS data and chose the DR as the application of choice to best invest in what would become known as the Log NEC Defence Reference solution. The DR was created to provide a single secure location for the complete management of all key project data and complex technical documents, ILS data, logistics support analysis records (LSAR) and through-life management plans (TLMPs). In essence, DR provides the Joint Support Chain with a single Defence Reference solution.
In DR, all appropriately authorized users can see exactly the same comprehensive and up-to-the minute accurate data, including TLMPs, Tech publications, parts lists, BOMs, specifications and tenders, engineering changes, workflow definitions, etc. – throughout the life of the equipment. In the early stages of a project, the supplier makes a data drop of relatively immature LSAR information sufficient for initial provisioning. As the project matures into the assessment phase, there is a second drop with more detail. The data drops are validated in Omega PS LSAR software, and the top-level LSAR data is then loaded into Teamcenter. DR provides an equipment configuration capability that manages the functional and physical structures in the equipment breakdown structure. LSAR data is highly complex, but with DR, LSAR or Omega PS expertise is not needed.
DR has specific capabilities for TLMP, providing a potential home for DE&S Whole Life project information. DR provides a collaborative working environment, offers a single DE&S TLMP repository, allows sharing of best practices and enables the history of TLMP to be viewed and maintained throughout the whole life of a project. All project teams are now required to produce a TLMP for each project. If the project is then managed in DR, it offers TLMP visibility to all stakeholders, encourages data storage in a single location and permits publication from a single location.
In addition, DR provides support for ASD S1000D, the International Specification for Technical Publications used by the MoD for procuring and producing technical publications. In the future, DR will also provide a home for interactive electronic technical manuals (IETMs) and interactive electronic technical publications (IETPs), which means that through publications with embedded videos and 3D images, engineers can see explicitly how to carry out a service task or repair.
The current focus in DR is on TDOL, which means making more than 50,000 technical manuals available electronically and creating a ‘one-stop shop’ for technical publications, including an online index of what is available. This has proved to be a massive step forward and offers the biggest short-term benefits – given how much equipment there can be in theatre, how many manuals would be needed, how much space they would take up and how difficult it would be to find what is required. There could be thousands of books, all of which must be kept up to date so everything can be repaired or maintained to the highest standards in the minimum time.
Log NEC Programme staff confirm a huge reduction in hard copy printing and now there is no longer any need for project team hard copy libraries. Originally, industry used to supply hard copy books that would be passed to a printer to provide enough copies to meet estimated demand. The books would be stored off site and dispatched when needed to wherever they were needed as required. There has been a huge saving in printing costs and the time it takes to access the information has been reduced from days to minutes. Some 10,500 books are available online whereas some 15,500 hard copy books were kept in storage. Valuable storage space has been released for other purposes.
Then there is the issue of data integrity. DR-TDOL is secure and permission-based. It has inherent version- and status-configuration management, making the latest releases of technical publications available over the Restricted LAN Interconnect (RLI). Teamcenter performs the configuration management and allows for the first time identification of the document owners so that the responsibility of keeping them up-to-date can be assigned.
Suppliers use Teamcenter to create the information and Teamcenter is used to manage that data, to maintain a record of it and to make it available during the life of the equipment. Teamcenter now tracks every single change throughout the life of the equipment and provides full control over all of the information. There are 50 read-only Teamcenter users who can view the latest version of the data, usually to support the print process. There are also 175 full licensed users of Teamcenter who are responsible for inputting the data to maintain the technical publications. In addition, British troops all over the world can access Teamcenter by using a web viewer written by HPES. This allows access to the latest version of the information requested, ensuring troops have the most up-to-date information when they need it, where they need it.
The DR architecture is tremendously cost effective as it uses the existing MoD network infrastructure. In principle DR is accessible to all UK Defence Fixed Telecommunications Secure LAN interconnect (DFTS-RLI)-enabled suppliers and sites. The front-line commands, industry (with controlled access), the DE&S procurement arm, print contractors and the storage division in Bicester all sit on the RLI as do the project teams responsible for the data. The Design Repository is working well and all equipment – current or future – requiring a hard copy output, is likely to be managed in it. There are now more than 10,000 Army Equipment Support Publications (AESPs) and more than 500 Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Regulations (EMERs) available online. Already, some 40 integrated platform teams are managing their AESPs online. And soon, with the addition of air publications (APs) in 2010, there will be over 30,000 books online. There have been over 850,000 searches since April 2008, saving a significant amount of time and cost in comparison with the way it used to be done.
With DR, an end-to-end process has been developed where industry is actually involved in delivering and taking ownership of the data directly in Teamcenter. In effect, the MoD just becomes a viewer of the data once approved. Storage real estate has been dramatically reduced as there is no longer a need to store massive amounts of books. The process for getting electronic information from the source has been reduced from weeks to potentially hours and more than 5,000 obsolete publications have been identified and removed from storage. DR users are now certain they are looking at the definitive, most up-to-date publications because all technical information is now transparently sponsored.
The successful implementation of enterprise systems such as DR is about managing business change and winning the commitment of stakeholders and Siemens has provided extensive support to (FLIS) through effort, commitment and investment into this program. With Siemens’ help, the Log NEC DR team ran a number of road shows that demonstrated the system capabilities, winning stakeholder commitment as early as possible by explaining the benefits to them. The functional needs of DR are influencing core Teamcenter development too, benefitting both DR and other potential users in the defense sector worldwide.
The Design Repository, based on Teamcenter, is a key component in the Log NEC Programme and is a major step forward for the MoD in the way it manages tech information and has support throughout DE&S. DR is ensuring that technical and product information is readily available throughout the life of all the equipment. This reduces the lead time for the engineer to get the specific data he needs and reduces repair times. This leads to increased fleet availability and plays a part in reducing the costs of overhaul and maintenance. DR is already playing its part, along with other systems and disciplines – such as Logistics Support Analysis – that the MoD is using to increase performance and reduce costs in this area.
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The Ministry of Defence equips and supports the UK’s armed forces for current and future operations.
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