Analyst Insight: Applying supply chain practices to the process in which federal civilians are deployed overseas, improves our nation's ability to deliver the counterintelligence, military logistics, and stabilization services needed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Federal organizations understand that efficiencies can be realized in the human capital elements of civilian deployment, but higher service levels can be achieved when leading supply chain practices are leveraged across deployment operations, or what we term as "the deployment chain."
- Jim Lee, senior manager, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Federal departments and agencies face a wide range of issues when engaging in civilian deployment to war zones. Through Deloitte research and case studies of various Defense, Intelligence, and Foreign Policy organizations, we review the common challenges experienced and supply chain techniques employed to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of their deployment chains.
• Plan Requirements
Too often, organizations find themselves lacking an accurate deployment plan, impairing the ability to effectively deliver the right services, to the right customer, at the right time. One particular agency had been using static requirements to estimate the type and quantity of services required. By applying a demand planning concept to the current capacity of civilians, the agency was then able to develop a dynamic 18-month demand forecast of future civilian deployments based on the skills required to deliver the service.
• Source Skills
Finding qualified civilians who are willing to deploy is an ongoing struggle due to the inherent dangers of living in a war zone. Consequently, organizations often lack an adequate pool of resources, instigating the need to hire externally. This is often a time consuming government process that discourages qualified individuals from applying. By establishing a sourcing requirements process and database, a federal department was able to counter this challenge by increasing their sourced fill rate by nearly 40 percent.
• Prepare Deployment
Training activities can be ineffective in readying civilians for the work required overseas. At one particular agency, only 55 percent of the courses that were offered reflected the actual work performed. Ultimately, the quality of services delivered is largely dependent upon the quality of training provided. Case in point: by applying Six Sigma techniques, a federal department was able to establish a more effective civilian deployment training program that reflected the actual requirements and needs of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Iraq and Afghanistan.
• Deploy Services
Manual processes can cause deployment scheduling activities to become overly complex and time consuming, creating lengthy lead times that can delay service delivery dates. One agency's operations had spent 70 percent of its time in the manual scheduling of these activities. In stark contrast, another agency was able to reduce the same cycle times by 50 percent through process automations enabled by the implementation of an enterprise system to manage and track all scheduled deployments.
The requirement for deployed civilian services will endure. President Obama declares the active need for a civilian expeditionary workforce and State Department officials see the need for it to persist for at least another 5 to 10 years. Federal organizations will find that they may be better equipped to address this enduring demand if they look to leading practices outside of the human capital realm, such as supply chain management.
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