Research and Innovation

LMI’s Approach to Improving Government Supply Chains

July 30, 2022

LMI Staff

Port with crane

By: Dr. Thomas Lang, Kerry McCarthy, and Matt Peterson


Supply chains are rapidly changing. Knowing how to make supply chains efficient and effective is more important than ever, but sometimes the challenge is knowing what to focus on and which practices to implement.

Integrated Performance Assessment (I-PASS®) Analysis Approach

LMI developed the I-PASS® method to provide a structured approach for evaluating and improving public sector logistics and supply chain operations. Using our experience and I-PASS®, we identify, adapt, and apply commercial best practices to be implemented in government supply chains. I-PASS® is a standardized set of tasks, inputs, and outputs that we use to quickly evaluate government supply chain operations. It’s a scalable process that can be used from the enterprise level (complete supply chain) to the tactical level (warehouse operation, etc.). It helps reduce costs while improving the performance, reliability, and flexibility of government supply chains and provides a bridge between commercial and government practices.

I-PASS® uses a three-phased approach with an optional implementation support phase, allowing for careful project management and ensuring that output, conclusions, and recommendations are based on sound analysis and research. First, during the diagnostic phase, we collect data using document review, data calls, research, and virtual and in-person stakeholder interviews. Second, in the assessment phase, we evaluate the supply chain processes and data and compare them to commercial and government best practices, metrics, and benchmarks to generate improvement opportunities. Third, in the recommendations phase, we focus on the future, converting the improvement opportunities into an actionable plan to improve logistics capabilities and assessing the benefits and risks involved. With this approach, LMI can deliver a rapid, thorough review of supply chain operations to recommend a time-phased and prioritized strategic improvement plan. LMI has a robust set of tools and capabilities that we can leverage throughout the process and apply to any supply chain challenge. During the optional implementation support phase, we will help implement recommendations. This may include developing training materials and conducting training as well as updating process and information technology documentation.

Supply Chain Process Framework

We use the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model as the structure for our supply chain analysis. The SCOR model, owned by the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), is the most widely used commercial supply chain process framework. The SCOR model ensures that all essential activities will be covered in the process review, even if those processes are not covered by current operating procedures or other documentation. The SCOR model’s process structure includes links to information inputs and outputs for each process activity as well as leading practices for improving process performance and metrics for measuring performance. LMI is a leader in applying the SCOR model to public sector operations to build more robust analysis with faster process mapping and definition.

Partnerships with Industry and Academia

We collaborate with industry and academia to ensure we are bringing up-to-date supply chain best practices to our clients. For example, LMI has sponsored the Pennsylvania State University Center for Supply Chain Research (CSCR) for more than 20 years. Penn State’s CSCR is one of the nation’s leading institutions dedicated to research and education in supply chain management. As a part of the internationally ranked Penn State Smeal College of Business, CSCR connects students, academics, and professionals from leading organizations in a community to shape the future of the supply chain discipline. This collaboration between industry and academia allows us to address an evolving list of our client’s supply chain challenges. LMI and Penn State supply chain faculty and students have worked together on over 40 research projects. These projects furnish academic rigor for LMI prototype and offering development that support our defense, national security, health, and civilian agency clients. In addition, LMI serves on the Supply Chain Risk Leadership Council. The Council is a collection of top organizations that discuss and share best practices among members to help build more resilient supply chains. It includes members from various industries, such as Johnson and Johnson, John Deere, Boeing, and Cisco.

Amtrak Process Review and Software Selection

We deployed our I-PASS® method to conduct business process reengineering for Amtrak’s maintenance and IT department. We conducted onsite visits and generated Visio business process flows that included interactions with IT systems. We also generated user stories and high-level functional requirements and guided Amtrak’s warehouse management system selection process using the I-PASS® analytical hierarchy process that identifies the best solution to meet functional and technical needs and costs. LMI technical teams also supported Amtrak’s IT acquisition, technology evaluation, mobile asset management, and point-of-sale system evaluation. We developed acquisition strategies and procurement documents and recommended ways to improve the software development process.

 

DLA Industrial Plant Equipment (IPE) Process Improvement

LMI used I-PASS® to identify opportunities to improve the DLA IPE maintenance organization’s operations across multiple focus areas (performance, workload, workforce, material, and data). The effort was conducted at the onset of COVID-19 restrictions. We were able to deliver actionable recommendations, revised process flows, and IT system alternatives with only a single site visit. Working collaboratively with DLA personnel, we developed and documented as-is process maps and user stories. Using the information, our team translated identified needs to support commercial market research for a low-cost maintenance and warehouse IT solution. This included reaching out to potential vendors to identify how well market solutions met DLA requirements. LMI developed revised to-be process maps, and identified a variety of quick wins, short-term projects, and long-term investments as part of a broader business improvement roadmap.

 

Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

LMI also recent used I-PASS® to help the VHA address concerns over warehouse utilization and safety stock quantities raised by Congressional leadership. In 2020, the VHA faced significant shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic because it relied on a Just-in-Time (JIT) supply chain. VHA stood up a series of interim warehouses to store additional personal protective equipment (PPE), enabling VHA to support its over 170 hospitals and 1,112 outpatient healthcare facilities in addition to other Fourth Mission partners. This success demonstrated the need for an enduring approach to materiel readiness and a regional readiness center (RRC) concept.

The goal of the RRC concept is to ensure VHA’s medical supply chain is resilient and ready to support large-scale and sustained health emergencies and disasters, such as pandemics, by proactively mitigating future materiel unavailability caused by demand surges and global supply disruptions. In doing so, VHA will help ensure the continuity, accessibility, and safety of its healthcare services. However, on December 7, 2021, Congressional leadership raised concerns about VHA’s approach during COVID-19 and its long-term sustainability and benefits.

LMI’s team of supply chain and data analysis experts effectively engaged in an extremely condensed timeline. Although these types of projects typically take months to execute, the VHA desired initial findings within a week and final recommendations within 30 days. LMI rose to the challenge and applied its I-PASS® approach to quickly assess the RRC concept. Our findings enabled VHA to respond to Congress, provide recommendations for improving readiness and resiliency across the VHA supply chain, and demonstrate the value of right-sizing the RRC concept.

 

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