We all love a solution that saves money. But wouldn't it be great if it could in addition save lives and shed some light on the possible futures? Sound too good to be true, right? Wrong. After years of imagining the possibilities to test your military stock against even large, multinational, joint scenarios, technology is finally agile, mature, and cost-efficient enough to get more value out of your data and make those daydreams a reality.  

As we know, all military operations require a wide range of logistical sustainment. There are no dress rehearsals, and all foreseeable situations must be accounted for. A breakdown or even a delay in the logistics chain poses a potential threat to the operation's success. Whereas simulations of military operations, or synthetic collective exercises, are widely used to train and plan for real action, minimising risk later down the track, logistics are often omitted from these simulations. 

To upskill on the different types of training environments enablable by digital twins, check out our blog Mirrored World where we dive into the detail.

Have you ever thought about what could be achieved by including the logistical simulations into the operative simulations?

If we take it back a step, the reason logistics simulations are omitted from combined simulations comes from a fundamental disconnect between the armed forces' enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and their synthetic training environments. These two siloed worlds are often unable to talk to each other effectively due to data incompatibilities. In simulated scenarios, the behaviour of the logistical supply chain, as provided by the real operational ERP, cannot be incorporated. Vital cooperation and interaction between frontline forces, the logistical units, and supply chains that sustain them thus do not reflect the real world.

Bridging this gap is simple: full integration of the logistics ERP and simulation systems – enabling the wide-scale simulation of logistics operations as an integral and vital part of a collective exercise. With this integration, you can test what is needed to keep the on-the-ground forces fully supplied and supported, identifying any potential bottlenecks or weaknesses. 

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Bringing together the distinct worlds of ERP and operative simulation environments unlocks new value for military trainers and planners.

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How would it work? 

In simple terms, a full Live, Virtual, and Constructive (LVC) battlefield simulation is put next to the logistical sustainment platform on the military ERP. The two 'talk' to each other in a common language and create a comprehensive, integrated synthetic simulation environment providing logistics simulation capabilities needed in a typical synthetic battlefield. 

When running a simulation, the ERP keeps track of the materials being consumed – ammunition, fuel, food, or other vital supplies – and realistically simulates their replenishment while continuously updating its records of materiel stocks. The simulated logistics scenarios are not limited to typical training scenarios. They can easily include complex arrangements such as the rapid mobilisation of pre-positioned supplies located in different countries across the globe.

Digital: defined for defence

For the armed forces we work with, this approach has been a game-changer. Bringing together the distinct worlds of ERP and operative simulation environments unlocks new value for military trainers and planners – bringing ERP to the core of the mission and uncovering what are the real capabilities.

Imagine if you could create a simulation of the mobilisation of wartime reserves. This is an exercise that would involve a massive logistical effort encompassing trucks and warehouses that would be hard to hide from the eyes of adversaries if carried out physically at scale, not to mention the cost. Why stop there? In this risk-free environment, you could test a full range of operational and crisis scenarios.

Undoubtedly, the main benefit of integrating the ERP logistics platform and the simulated battlefield is armed forces that are better prepared and have peace of mind of being ready for future action – whenever, wherever, and in whatever shape it happens. 

That's how we save money and lives – while also gaining an understanding of what might actually happen in the real world. The next question I am sure you have is how exactly do we go about doing that. Reach out directly, and let's start that conversation.

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Timo Levo

Managing Director – Public Service, Defence, SAP, Europe

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