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A Review of Availability Contracting in the Uk Mod Attac

Essay by   •  December 6, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,986 Words (8 Pages)  •  868 Views

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This study seeks to examine the consideration of logistics engineering and management applied to the Availability Transformation Tornado Aircraft Contract (ATTAC), and to comment on the success of the resultant support solution. It should be noted that the solution is being examined based primarily on the information presented within the MSSE Case Study on ATTAC and the UK National Audit Office (NAO) review of this and similar contracts titled "Transforming logistics support for fast jets". These documents may not be exhaustive in describing the actual solution, the process used in solution development or the results achieved, especially given the NAO report was published in July 2007.

The case study relates primarily to the award and implementation of the ATTAC availability contract between the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and BAE Systems (BAE) as one of two Prime Service Providers (PSPs). The support outcomes have been largely driven by a combination of financial constraints, changed operational environments and utilisation requirements, and include the fundamental outcome of increased operational availability along with significant reduction of support costs, including cost per flying hour.

The case study material indicates the solution has been thorough in addressing the various elements of logistics management and support. Careful management of the support solution is evident in the prototype approach to contracting demonstrated through incremental pilot contracts leading up to the award of ATTAC Phase 2 - full service delivery. This phased approach is said to have aided in managing solution risks and resulted in substantial improvements realised in the final implementation .

In logistics, the nonhomogenity of functions and the diversity of personnel backgrounds and skills necessitates a well-integrated, highly interdisciplinary, controlled team approach (Blanchard, 2004). This was obviously recognised in development of the solution and actioned through the establishment of a combined MoD and industry Integrated Project Team (IPT). The importance of the relationships between members of the IPT is noted as critical to success , particularly with respect to project security outcomes. With respect to these relationships, the communications requirements are extensive not only within the PSP's organisation, but must be established both upward from the PSP to the customer and downward from the PSP to its suppliers (Blanchard, 2004). The importance to the ATTAC solution of customer engagement and communication is clear throughout the case study. Interestingly, engaging supply chain partners is cited as one of the two key elements of capability developed for the solution in response to capability gap analysis .

Logistics and maintenance support planning is demonstrated in the Prime Service Provider's (PSP) new service culture which prescribes long term planning. Aircraft capability upgrades are now planned to coincide with maintenance activities under the Combined Maintenance and Upgrade (CMU) contract. Planning tools are integrated across many disciplines and distributed throughout the solution. These include functions such as business planning, asset management and tracking services, integrated asset management and fleet sustainment planning.

The significant issues associated with support personnel have been addressed and are demonstrated through successful collocation arrangements, combined industry-MoD maintenance teams and compliance with TUPE constraints. Further personnel constraints include the concept of nominated persons for continuing airworthiness and certification as a Maintenance Approved Organisation. Under Australian Defence contracting standards, the Commonwealth often retains the right under Nominated Key Persons clauses to request the removal of personnel and to review the suitability of replacements for nominated personnel. It is not clear from the case study material if similar conditions apply under ATTAC, however these would impose further support personnel constraints if included.

Training is noted as also being addressed and further demonstrates the successful integration of BAE and external personnel. BAE are responsible for training all Tornado maintenance staff, including Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel, at the Tornado training school at RAF Marham. Specialised training of BAE flight crew is provided through the negotiated use of the RAF's simulator facility. BAE also runs a RAF familiarisation course for its personnel on the RAF's military role and culture. It is expected in this joint effort environment, this training would be as important to the support outcomes as technical maintenance training.

Supply support has been streamlined from the perspective of the MoD. Complex support arrangements have been rationalised to see BAE leading supply chain management. The material states that BAE designed a highly responsive supply chain for better performance at significantly lower cost and that lower tier suppliers were brought into the performance contracting regime under which BAE was held accountable. It is not clear from the material presented how this was achieved or what the corresponding results were.

Other logistics elements such as computer resources, technical data and documentation, maintenance and support facilities, handling and warehousing all appear to have been addressed in the design of the support solution. Of particular note is the extensive effort expended in the IT infrastructure upgrade, the use of existing software (such as Exostar) and the development of custom applications to address project specific requirements. These include the Enterprise Performance management tool developed by Accenture and the FleetSim fleet planning package developed in conjunction with Aerogility.

With respect to results, the case study material provides details of the substantial cost savings achieved. Surprisingly, the case study does not explicitly describe the success or otherwise of the support solution in relation to availability. There is much discussion of the nature of availability contracts, and statements regarding the supplier within an availability contract framework guaranteeing prescribed levels of availability, however the material fails to state what these are for ATTAC and whether or not they have been met. The NAO report indicates there had been a decline in operational availability of Tornado aircraft which pre-dated ATTAC, and that since the Contract and introduction of the pulse line at RAF Marham, there has been a steady improvement in availability with the target being met from December 2006. So in terms of the primary objective of the contract, maximum aircraft availability

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