Training in commercial logistics practices to improve inventory management in the Navy
Randle, David J.
Fields, Paul J.
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The Department of Defense (DoD) has repeatedly been accused of needlessly holding large inventories. In comparison, the commercial sector has drastically cut its inventories over the last twenty years through such practices as Just-In-Time (JIT) and cycle time compression. Some defense analysts have suggested that training in commercial logistics would change the culture of DoD inventory management and promote similar efficiencies. This thesis examines that idea in the context of inventory management of secondary items in the Navy. It describes Navy inventory structure and it examines the causes of excess inventory. It then discusses current training for Navy and DLA item managers and active duty Navy personnel, and how that training is applied at inventory control points and in the fleet. The thesis then looks at commercial practices and the factors necessary for their implementation. It concludes that training in commercial logistics practices would not improve Navy inventory management for several reasons. First, the causes of excess inventory are unrelated to training. Second, the factors necessary to implement commercial logistics practices are not present in the Navy. Finally, training is not a principal agent in cultural change since it is better suited to conforming personnel to an existing culture. The author recommends increased emphasis on Joint Total Asset Visibility as a foundation for improved DoD inventory management.
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