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How the Department of Defense’s DMSMS Management Mitigates Obsolescence and Material Shortages

Introduction:

Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) pose significant challenges for industries worldwide, and the Department of Defense (DoD) is no exception. As a major procurer and user of advanced technologies and equipment, the DoD faces the constant risk of obsolescence and material shortages. However, the DoD has implemented a robust DMSMS management strategy that has proven effective in mitigating these challenges. In this article, we will explore how the DoD’s DMSMS management efforts have helped address obsolescence and material shortages, ensuring the readiness and reliability of military systems.

 

What is Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS)

Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) refers to the decrease in the availability of certain materials or components used in the manufacturing of a product. This can occur due to a variety of reasons, such as the discontinuation of a product line by a supplier, the obsolescence of a particular technology, or a natural disaster disrupting the supply chain.

 

A Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) issue is the loss, or impending loss, of manufacturers or suppliers of items, raw materials, or software. The Department of Defense (DoD) loses a manufacturer or supplier when that manufacturer or supplier discontinues production and/or support of needed items, raw materials, or software or when the supply of raw material is no longer available.

 

DMSMS issues can be caused by many factors—such as low-volume market demand, new or evolving science or technology, changes to detection limits, toxicity values, and regulations related to chemicals and materials—that significantly affect the DoD supply chain and industrial base. Another aspect of DMSMS is when an item, although still available commercially, no longer functions as intended because of hardware–electronic and MaSME items, software, and/or requirements changes to the system. This is often referred to as functional obsolescence.

 

While traditionally thought of as applying to electronic items, it is important to be cognizant that a DMSMS issue can arise regarding any item within a system, including software and nonelectronic components—materials and structural, mechanical, and electrical (MaSME) items.

 

DMSMS is a multifaceted problem because there are at least three main components that need to be considered. First, a primary concern is the ongoing improvement in technology. As new products are designed, the technology that was used in their predecessors becomes outdated, making it more difficult to repair the equipment.

 

Second, the mechanical parts may be harder to acquire because fewer are produced as the demand for these parts decreases. Third, the materials required to manufacture a piece of equipment may no longer be readily available.

 

DOD DMSMS Challenge

 

Because Department of Defense (DoD) system life cycles are longer than technology life cycles, Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) issues are inevitable. No system or program is immune from DMSMS issues; they are inevitable. They affect short- and longlived systems; repairables and consumables; space-based, air-based, ground-based, and sea-based equipment (including support and test equipment); and so on.

 

DMSMS issues are not confined to piece parts or devices; obsolescence may occur at the part, module, component, equipment, or system level. DMSMS issues are also not limited to defense-unique items; commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) items represent a significant obsolescence problem, because such items are most susceptible to market forces.

 

Any of these situations may endanger an ongoing production capability and/or the life-cycle support of a weapon system or any training, support, or test equipment already in the field.

DMSMS can present a significant challenge for manufacturers, as it can lead to increased costs, production delays, and a lack of availability of certain products.

Ultimately, DMSMS issues affect materiel readiness and operational availability, which, in turn, affect both combat operations and safety.

 

Materiel readiness is an immediate and urgent concern for the warfighter. Missions are affected if equipment cannot be supported; either the equipment is not available for the mission, or it cannot be sustained throughout the mission. DMSMS issues can negatively affect supportability if the items needed to repair a system are not available or are in scarce supply. It is unacceptable for a system to be nonmission-capable due to a DMSMS issue.

 

Companies often implement strategies to mitigate the effects of DMSMS, such as diversifying their supplier base, increasing inventory levels, or redesigning products to use alternative materials.

For in-depth understanding on DMSMS technology and applications please visit: The Ultimate Guide to Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS): Strategies, Solutions, and Future Outlook

DMSMS Management Process

DoD cannot afford to be reactive in this area—reactivity may lead to a combination of schedule delays, readiness degradations, and higher cost. Consequently, robust DMSMS management is needed. DMSMS management is a multidisciplinary process to identify issues resulting from obsolescence, loss of manufacturing sources, or material shortages; to assess the potential for negative impacts on schedule and/or readiness; to analyze potential mitigation strategies; and then to implement the most cost-effective strategy. DMSMS management has been most closely associated with electronics. However, DMSMS management also should be concerned with materials, mechanical items, and software.

The DMSMS management process is straightforward.  it has five steps:

Prepare. Develop the DMSMS strategic underpinnings (e.g., vision and focus) and a DMSMS management plan (DMP) to implement the strategic underpinnings for the program. Form a DMSMS management team (DMT) representing all stakeholders. Establish, document, and
resource DMSMS management processes for the DMT to execute the DMP. Identify. Secure access to logistics, programmatic, and item data and to monitoring and surveillance tools. Identify items with immediate or near-term obsolescence issues.

Assess. Considering the population of problem items, identify and prioritize the items and assemblies most at risk for current and future readiness or availability impacts.

Analyze. Examine the problem items with near-term readiness or availability impacts first. Develop a set of potential DMSMS resolutions for the items and their higher-level assemblies.

Determine the most cost-effective resolution.

Implement. Budget, fund, contract or arrange for, schedule, and execute the selected resolutions for the high-priority items.

Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) Fundamentals Executive Summary An Executive Overview of SD-22: A Guidebook of Best Practices. - ppt download

Each of these steps applies throughout the life cycle, from early technology development through sustainment. Although it is best to begin these activities early in the life cycle, they may be initiated at any point in the process. Robust DMSMS management is a dynamic process that never ends. Once a program solves one issue, it should move on to the next. When a program has gone through its list of issues, it should start again; something will have changed. A program should repeat this process until its system retires. Ultimately, the DMSMS management process constitutes DMSMS risk management.

 

Role of the PM and SE

The Program Manager (PM) should incorporate a technology management strategy into design activities as a best practice to reduce DMSMS cost and readiness impacts throughout the life cycle. The PM and Systems Engineer should develop a technology management strategy for maintaining insight into technology trends and internal product changes by the manufacturer, and testing the effects of those changes on the system when necessary. This insight into technology trends could potentially:

  • Result in seamless upgrade paths for technologies and system elements.
  • Provide a timetable for replacing system elements even if they are not obsolete.

The Systems Engineer should be aware of and consider DMSMS management during system design. Following are several practices that the program should consider to minimize DMSMS risk throughout the life cycle of the system:

  • Avoid selecting technology and components that are near the end of their functional life.
  • During the design process, proactively assess the risk of parts obsolescence while selecting parts.
  • When feasible, use a Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) to enable technology insertion/refreshment more easily than with design-specific approaches.
  • Proactively monitor supplier bases to prevent designing in obsolescence; participate in cooperative reporting forums, such as the Government-Industry Data Exchange Program (GIDEP), to reduce or eliminate expenditures of resources by sharing technical information essential during research, design, development, production and operational phases of the life cycle of systems, facilities and equipment.
  • Proactively monitor potential availability problems to resolve them before they cause an impact in performance readiness or spending.

DOD strategies

  1. Proactive Obsolescence Management:

The DoD’s approach to DMSMS management is proactive and focused on preventing obsolescence issues before they arise. Through rigorous supply chain monitoring and intelligence gathering, the DoD identifies potential obsolescence risks early on. By staying ahead of technology advancements and market trends, they can take preemptive measures to address obsolescence, such as designing systems with technology insertion points, leveraging open architectures, and maintaining robust technology refresh cycles. This proactive approach minimizes the impact of obsolescence on military capabilities and reduces the risk of material shortages.

  1. Robust Material Forecasting and Planning:

To mitigate material shortages, the DoD employs advanced forecasting methodologies and planning strategies. Through close collaboration with industry partners, the DoD collects and analyzes data on material availability, market trends, and supplier capabilities. This enables them to accurately forecast material demands, identify potential shortages, and develop contingency plans. The DoD also maintains strategic stockpiles of critical materials, ensuring a reliable supply in times of scarcity. By optimizing their procurement processes and diversifying sourcing options, they can mitigate the risks associated with material shortages.

  1. Collaborative Partnerships:

The DoD understands the value of collaboration in addressing DMSMS challenges. They actively engage with industry, academia, and government agencies to share information, best practices, and lessons learned. Collaborative partnerships enable the DoD to access cutting-edge research, leverage expertise, and collectively develop solutions for obsolescence and material shortages. By fostering a collaborative ecosystem, the DoD strengthens supply chain resilience, reduces duplication of efforts, and promotes innovation in DMSMS management.

  1. Technological Innovations:

Embracing technological advancements is another key aspect of the DoD’s DMSMS management strategy. They leverage advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation to enhance their supply chain visibility, optimize material sourcing, and improve decision-making. Through the implementation of digital platforms and data-driven approaches, the DoD can proactively identify potential material shortages, monitor supplier performance, and optimize inventory management. These technological innovations significantly enhance their ability to address obsolescence and material shortage challenges effectively.

 

A Total Systems Approach Solves and Mitigates DMSMS Problems Before U.S. Naval Fleet Feels Impact

The Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) Code 315, Provisioning and Supply Support Branch, plays a critical role in addressing Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) issues within U.S. Navy Hull, Machinery, and Electrical (HM&E) systems and equipment. To proactively mitigate the impact of DMSMS throughout the program life cycle, NSWCPD implements a Total Systems Approach with the support of Life Cycle Engineering (LCE).

LCE works closely with NSWCPD to perform proactive and reactive obsolescence management for designated HM&E systems. This includes program management, issue evaluation and resolution investigation, status reporting, vendor surveys, and supportability analyses. LCE actively participates in ongoing projects and provides timely resolutions to emergent issues, such as identifying correct replacements for obsolete components and recommending Form-Fit-Function (FFF) replacements. They also collaborate across platforms to identify solutions, ensuring compliance with Navy regulations.

This Total Systems Approach, in place since 2004, has yielded significant cost savings for the U.S. Navy. By proactively addressing DMSMS challenges and implementing effective obsolescence management, the Navy has avoided costs exceeding $297 million. The partnership between NSWCPD and LCE showcases the importance of a comprehensive approach to DMSMS management, ensuring the readiness and reliability of naval fleet systems while minimizing financial impacts.

 

BAE Systems to provide DMSMS support to USAF supply chain reported in Jan 2021

BAE Systems has been awarded a $66.6 million contract by the US Air Force (USAF) to provide diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages (DMSMS) support. The contract, valid for five years, is with the 429th Supply Chain Management Squadron at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma, USA. BAE Systems will deliver its advanced component obsolescence management (AVCOM) tools and services to pre-emptively lower mission capability impacts during the lifecycles of weapons systems and other assets.

The AVCOM suite, a cloud-based technology, will enhance predictive analytics for the USAF. It includes a web-enabled obsolescence management tool with a database that grants access to over 100 million parts. The tool helps users forecast when a part will become obsolete or too expensive to procure. BAE Systems’ AVCOM solution has been recognized as the USAF’s preferred DMSMS tool annually since 2001, highlighting its effectiveness in addressing obsolescence and material shortage challenges for the Air Force.

 

U.S. Navy asking Lockheed Martin Corp. to set up a program to mitigate the obsolescence of electronic components over the lifetime of the nation’s fleet F-35 combat jets.

reported in Dec 2023

The U.S. Navy has requested Lockheed Martin Corp. to establish a program to mitigate the obsolescence of electronic components over the lifetime of the nation’s fleet of F-35 combat jets. Diminishing Manufacturing Sources (DMS) refers to the rapid obsolescence of electronic components such as computer processors, FPGAs, power supplies, and databus interface chips. These components become obsolete much faster than the weapons systems they are integrated into, necessitating proactive planning for the integration of modern parts as obsolescent parts become increasingly difficult to obtain.

Under the order, Lockheed Martin will conduct a thorough review to identify actual and potential DMS issues in components, parts, materials, assemblies, subassemblies, and software items related to the F-35 aircraft. They will then recommend solutions to mitigate these issues, ensuring the availability of spare electronic parts throughout the F-35’s operational life.

Having a reliable supply of spare electronic parts is crucial for systems integrators like Lockheed Martin, as redesigning electronic subsystems with the latest generations of parts is a more expensive and time-consuming alternative. Redesigning complex electronic subsystems not only takes a significant amount of time but also requires rigorous certification for safety and performance. By proactively addressing DMS issues and ensuring the availability of spare parts, the Navy and Lockheed Martin can maintain the operational readiness and performance of the F-35 fleet without the need for costly and time-intensive subsystem redesigns.

 

Conclusion:

The Department of Defense’s DMSMS management efforts serve as a model for effectively mitigating obsolescence and material shortages. Through proactive obsolescence management, robust material forecasting, collaborative partnerships, and technological innovations, the DoD ensures the readiness and reliability of military systems. Their comprehensive approach demonstrates the importance of proactive planning, collaboration, and embracing technological advancements in managing DMSMS challenges. By adopting similar strategies and best practices, industries outside the defense sector can also navigate the complexities of DMSMS and ensure the availability of critical materials for their operations.

 

References and Resources also include:

https://www.militaryaerospace.com/computers/article/14287097/obsolescence-electronic-parts-combat-jets

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