Executive Briefings

A Talk With the Navy's Supply Chain Commander

Rear Admiral Mark Heinrich, commander of the Naval Supply Systems Command and chief of the Supply Corps, reveals what it's like to oversee one of the world's most complex and critical supply chains.

The mission of the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) is vast and wide-ranging. The organization is responsible for integrating the Navy's entire supply chain. It maintains a network of fleet logistics centers, provides manpower, and orders and loads what's needed aboard ship. A command center in Mechanicsburg, Pa., manages inventory control for both ships and aircraft. In addition, the command overseas the Navy Exchange, which takes care of the needs of sailors through a chain of 300 stores. "We are very multi-disciplinary," says Heinrich.

Even with its huge resources, NAVSUP must deal with budgetary concerns, especially in the current, slowly recovering economy. "We have to make every dollar count," says Heinrich. "Our goal is to ensure that we know as commanders where money gets spent."

Last year, NAVSUP implemented a new enterprise resource planning system. As with many private companies that install complex ERP applications, the task was a difficult one, spanning four years. Completed in August 2012, it now is available to some 4,000 users around the world.

As if internal integration weren't hard enough, NAVSUP must coordinate its supply efforts with other branches of the military. Heinrich says the agency needs an efficient means of sharing equipment and parts. It's especially crucial to work closely with the Defense Logistics Agency, which manages around five million items.

Also on NAVSUP's list of responsibilities is keeping sailors fed. It maintains performance-based contracts with vendors around the world, says Heinrich.

Recent environmental efforts include the purchase of biofuels and assorted biodegradable materials, as well as the running of plastic-waste processors aboard ships.

To view video in its entirety, click here


Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, Navy supply chain, inventory management, inventory control, global logistics, transportation management, warehouse management, supply chain systems, supply chain planning, supply chain risk management

The mission of the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) is vast and wide-ranging. The organization is responsible for integrating the Navy's entire supply chain. It maintains a network of fleet logistics centers, provides manpower, and orders and loads what's needed aboard ship. A command center in Mechanicsburg, Pa., manages inventory control for both ships and aircraft. In addition, the command overseas the Navy Exchange, which takes care of the needs of sailors through a chain of 300 stores. "We are very multi-disciplinary," says Heinrich.

Even with its huge resources, NAVSUP must deal with budgetary concerns, especially in the current, slowly recovering economy. "We have to make every dollar count," says Heinrich. "Our goal is to ensure that we know as commanders where money gets spent."

Last year, NAVSUP implemented a new enterprise resource planning system. As with many private companies that install complex ERP applications, the task was a difficult one, spanning four years. Completed in August 2012, it now is available to some 4,000 users around the world.

As if internal integration weren't hard enough, NAVSUP must coordinate its supply efforts with other branches of the military. Heinrich says the agency needs an efficient means of sharing equipment and parts. It's especially crucial to work closely with the Defense Logistics Agency, which manages around five million items.

Also on NAVSUP's list of responsibilities is keeping sailors fed. It maintains performance-based contracts with vendors around the world, says Heinrich.

Recent environmental efforts include the purchase of biofuels and assorted biodegradable materials, as well as the running of plastic-waste processors aboard ships.

To view video in its entirety, click here


Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, Navy supply chain, inventory management, inventory control, global logistics, transportation management, warehouse management, supply chain systems, supply chain planning, supply chain risk management