While reading the Rutner article I like how he compares FedEX and USTRANSCOM’s mission statement as they are similar. Commercial and military operations are similar in the sense that both sides want to complete the job and make the customer happy. I believe both sides have deadlines and tight time constraints. Rutner puts it out there that the military is about supporting the war fighter and war and this is what drives logistics (Stephen Rutner, 2012). Limited budgets can affect the military and then the military has to use what they have to get what they need done (Stephen Rutner, 2012). Logistics have to deal with civilian sectors to get what they need and they have to do great research on this part with who they deal with (Stephen Rutner, 2012). The military is unique in this sense that they can do what they can with their budget and be flexible (Stephen Rutner, 2012). The environment and things change all the time that is important to have the leaders to help with change. This may lead to the military to look closer at their processes and adjust where they need to. With the growing demand in todays world I would believe that commercial parties need to look at their areas and improve where they need to. People need to keep up pace and it is important to look at your processes. This can help with the growing demand and the tight time constraints that may be out there. I think overall military and civilian sectors work well together when need be.
This week’s reading was right up my alley after being in logistics for over 15 years in the Air Force and doing it for 17 years of my life, I’m able to really relate to this topic. The reading was very interesting and what stuck out most was about Strategic Logistics planning (Stephen Rutner, 2012). This is huge in both the civilian and military sector. The Third Party Logistics (3PLs) providers are something that are often sought after in order to solve constraints, expand current logistic distribution and sustain current logistics supply chains (Stephen Rutner, 2012). For example the military could use 3PLs more often as we are seeing a drop in our own transportation due to funding and other constraints. These can also be used when the normal uses of the supply chain are not available.
In regards to the Managerial side of logistics, from an outside perspective equipment and personnel have moved in and out of theater to execute a mission but that does not mean that it was excellent (Stephen Rutner, 2012). There are still many flaws in the military logistics system that are being worked out on a regular basis from tracking equipment to how it moves within the theater. The more resources that are invested into the logistics and supply chain the more time and resources that should be invested to the people that manage the systems to move them.
Analyzing this article was a pleasure as I both agree and disagree (mostly) with some of their assumptions and critiques. “Organizational vision is positively linked to the organizational strategy implemented (Rutner et al, 2012, p. 104)”. This quote above is the overarching theme of this paper in my opinion and they interestingly pick on USTRANSCOM as the litmus test for military logistics, holistically. This in my opinion is the first and most obvious assumption made in the article. This is illustrated when the author’s wrote that the evidence supporting a unified effort is “exemplified by the military’s current reliance on private sector for logistics solutions” (Rutner et al, 2012, p. 106).
This is a misleading statement because USTRANSCOM has always utilized civilian contracting for the militaries logistical needs, a fact that is clearly articulated on the front page of their website. The authors attempted to paint UPS has a company that has a mission statement that enables them to be agile and proactive, while the military (USTRANSCOM) does not process such thought-processes. However, I would argue that by utilizing both military and civilian sources USTRANSCOM is vastly more flexible then UPS, if not for no other reason then, UPS has to rely on UPS.
This can easily be depicted by the Gulf War, when USTRANSCOM sent some 500,000 service members to the Middle East in a span of weeks and a ridiculous 3.7 million tons of cargo. Yet the authors seem to feel like USTRANSCOM is inept. I also did not agree when the author’s stated that USTRANSCOM is only used in war and that the standing-up of the command was not a success because individual units and combatant commanders where still doing their own logistical task.
I believe that the author’s addressed this issue when they stated that decentralization creates a more agile and flexible operation. If USTRANSCOM was the single point of focus, as the author’s state, then how does the individual MV-22 Osprey Squadron get mission critical parts in a war zone if they have to use a middle man?
I did agree with them when they wrote that there is a lot of red tape and the process is very long for getting contracts done but, it is a bit of a stretch to say that USTRANSCOM is not innovating or evolving. Unlike the civilian sector, some technologies and strategies do not work when operating in the Fog of War and when people’s lives are on the line. Additionally, civilian sectors work off of orders placed at that moment. The military works on deployment schedules that are forecasted out years in advance when not at war or reacting to a current event, so it is misleading to say that they are not agile enough when you’re handcuffed by a deployment cycle and regulated to a specific date on a calendar.
Rutner, S. M., Aviles, M., & Cox, S. (2012). Logistics evolution: a comparison of military and commercial logistics thought—the International Journal of Logistics Management.
After reading the article, what assumptions in the report need to be validated in order for the conclusions to be true? For example,
what need to be true for operational goals to be be linked to organizational strategy?