01 November 2001 | Robin Parker
Old-fashioned attitudes are blocking the modernisation of supply chains for military spending, senior members of the Ministry of Defence's logistics arm have warned.
Wing Commander Nigel Stevens of the Defence Logistics Organisation's (DLO) corporate strategy team told delegates to the Logistics Forum, which met recently on the Oriana cruise liner, of the difficulties involved in delivering requested savings of £1.38 billion by 2005.
"The attitudes we have to overcome defy logic if we want to deliver change," he said. "Every project is under review. We've spent months trying to deal with this and no one's come up with an answer yet."
The DLO was set up last year to improve defence logistics and meet the cost target set by the MoD's strategic defence review in 1998. Stevens said that, though the DLO was broadly on target after significant up-front expenditure, open channels of communication are vital be- cause of the tight time frame.
He appealed to private-sector logistics professionals to share their advice on best practice and the lessons they had learned in making supply chains efficient.
"It's a totally opposite strategy we've had to develop," Stevens said. "The MoD is used to being adversarial with industry and now we're having to incentivise suppliers to do better. Costs and lead times can only be reduced with effective partnering."
Squadron Leader Polly Perkins said the bureaucracy involved in revamping supply processes highlighted the wide gulf with the private sector.
"Industry is becoming far more e-enabled than the MoD," she told delegates. "We need to inject an incredible sharpening of focus and quickening of pace into our e-business plans. We're having to learn by our mistakes."
Perkins added that the complexity of improving supplier relationships was forcing senior management to do little more than justify their spending.