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Driving defense logistics productivity through predictive insights

Delivering Public Service for the Future

Overview

It’s a new world for defense organizations around the globe—one in which, more than ever, cost reigns. The rapid advances in defense technology come at a cost that stretches even the most generous of defense budgets. The dilemma is a world of desirable military options—mostly out of practical reach.

Meanwhile, enduring fiscal pressures have significant and long-term implications for securing nations.

The changing defense environment brings into sharp relief the need for defense organizations to shift their response—namely to shift the ratio of the positive outcomes they can achieve from the money available to achieve them. Optimizing efficiency and effectiveness have significant implications for militaries required to do more than ever with less.

Accenture’s Delivering Public Service for the Future: Navigating the Shifts research highlights the criticality of governments making fundamental structural shifts in the way they approach public service design and delivery. Among the shifts highlighted, the concepts of shifting from being reactive to insight-driven and then using that insight to drive mission productivity have particular relevance for defense organizations grappling with how to do more with less.

Background

Although insight has long been a critical capability for defense, in a more complex, connected and digital world there will be a growing explosion of information, as well as ever-more advanced ways of capturing and analyzing this information.

Certainly becoming insight-driven will mean being able to put more relevant information into the hands of the warfighter on the ground, but insight-driven has another, broader meaning for operational support as well.

Better insight will not only enable smarter, more proactive approaches to mitigating security threats, but also will allow for closer collaboration between defense organizations and industry to help drive down sustainment costs whilst improving operational effectiveness and outcomes.

Analysis

How will it work? To begin, defense organizations have masses of data available. Tying that data together, and applying sophisticated statistical measures, can enable predictive analytics for supply chain management.

For example, predictive analytics can optimize demand forecasting— helping improve the picture of what will be needed when, and where, and then allowing defense organizations to plan inventory accordingly—to ensure the lowest possible inventory level that will still (above all) ensure the right level of service.

Or defense organizations can use spend analytics to drive unnecessary costs out of the supply chain—in other words, generating the insight into where and why failures occur in the supply chain and which of those failures drive the most financial and operational costs. Armed with that insight, industry can then collaborate with defense to make step-changes in how both the mission and support systems operate and perform, targeting design and support system changes that have the biggest impact.

Recommendations

For too long, not only in defense but also in agencies across government (and in the private sector as well), people have mistakenly equated keeping busy with productivity. Now, long-lasting fiscal realities are forcing militaries to really focus on their core competencies, and they will increasingly look to data-based, insight-driven performance management and performance budgeting to achieve more with less.

Without a doubt, as agility and speed increasingly define a strong defense force, defense agencies will have to become increasingly streamlined. In all aspects of defense operations, the question “what is mission critical?” will predominate.

The answers will come from defense organizations getting the right data and then using that data to inform all decisions—so they can be confident that what they are doing really does align with mission priorities.