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Agile—the Pros and Cons—the Pros and Cons2018-07-01T16:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass34EC643F4B204E7E800A34A99D7DC6B9">There is a movement within the Department of Defense (DoD) acquisitions community to become more “Agile” and to field capability more quickly. Achieving this goal requires that the defense acquisition community become more risk tolerant.<br> <br> Currently, there is a disconnect between the leadership of the DoD and the rest of the acquisition community. That is, DoD acquisition leadership desires to field capabilities more quickly and with more agility, but the middle ranks of the acquisition community seem resistant to the Agile paradigm shift. This disconnect creates a dangerous path to travel for those in the DoD acquisition community trying to plan and execute projects in a more streamlined and agile framework.<br> <br> But what causes this disconnect? Let’s explore some observations from the perspective of a project lead engineer working on a U.S. Air Force (USAF) sustainment contract for Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) on several Agile projects. The project experience is drawn from software-centric, 1- to 2-year efforts involving 10 to 20 technical staff members—the ideal project category for a mainstream Agile methodology.<br> <br> <strong>Why Go Agile?</strong><br> The Agile methodology offers numerous advantages over the traditional “waterfall” approach to development. The primary weakness of the traditional approach to development is the assumption that, after the requirements are specified and the project is planned, nothing will change. The traditional development process has no inherent mechanism for dealing with uncertainty. Even worse, the project requirements, schedule and budget are all cemented in place when we know the very least—at the beginning of the project or before it begins—and there is no effective mechanism for accommodating these inevitable changes.<br> <br> One way to deal with the inevitable uncertainty and change associated with engineering development is to embrace the change. That is, to admit that change is inevitable and to structure the development methodology and framework to and team to accommodate those changes. This is what Agile development does that traditional processes do not. Agile methods acknowledge that requirements will change and timelines and budgets often shrink. The Agile methodology is structured to accommodate these changes by having the flexibility to modify scope to meet these changes. This allows the Agile project to field capability—possibly less capability than initially expected—despite changes to the requirements, cost or schedule. It usually is preferred to deliver partial capability after a financial investment rather than the “all-or-nothing” approach in the traditional process.<br> <br> <strong>Two Definitions of Discipline</strong><br> Interestingly, the major strengths of Agile are also among the reasons that it meets resistance in the acquisition community. Often, acquisition managers are not trained on Agile methods and are not comfortable with ambiguity associated with potentially frequent scope changes. To compound the problem, Agile often de-emphasizes formal verification, endless planning, comprehensive documentation and formal processes. That is, Agile methods de-emphasize aspects of the traditional process that the traditional DoD acquisition approach was built around. This change in emphasis is often interpreted and critiqued as having a lack of discipline. This concept of “discipline” has been a major focal point in the debate between so-called Agilists and traditionalists.<br> <br> However, this disagreement is somewhat of a miscommunication. Traditionalists believe that the lack of formal methods and process adherence is a fatal flaw in the Agile methodology. On the other hand, Agilists believe that formal processes and documentation de-emphasize the self-discipline required for engineering development. That is, one side describes discipline as “process discipline” and the other side describes discipline as “self-discipline.” In reality, both are needed for effective engineering development. Agile methodologies are not absent of process and process discipline, they just use a different approach. Reviews, for example, are conducted on Agile projects, they are just pushed lower in the organization and are accomplished more organically. In fact, many Agile practitioners are process zealots and are fanatical (including the author) about the processes used on their project.<br> <br> <strong>Organizational Limitations </strong><br> There are two aspects of the organization that cause disconnects between the DoD acquisition leadership and the people in the program offices that execute defense acquisition work. The first cause for this disconnect is so-called “organizational inertia.” In other words, the organization resists change. One reason for this is that the processes and guidance that exist within the organization are built around the current way of doing business. For example, current organizational guidance has specific instructions for performing System Requirements Review (SRR) and then controlling the requirements baseline after through a disciplined change control process. This process is deliberately established to prevent the sort of scope flexibility that Agile methodologies strive to achieve. In some ways, Agile methods contradict the existing way of doing business. Advocates of the existing approach therefore have precedence over the advocates for process change—it’s too radical in some ways. It’s also a bad idea in some cases. However, the existing DoD framework is inflexible and does not condone the concept of Agile.<br> <br> The second organizational cause of disconnects between DoD acquisition leadership and their program office staff is the organizational structure of many of these organizations. The paperwork-based, process-oriented, traditional waterfall model of engineering development fits nicely into bureaucracies. Bureaucratic organizational cultures notoriously lack innovation and are often at the other end of the culture spectrum of team-oriented, organic organizations that most Agilists operate within. These organic cultures are somewhat foreign to the DoD. Organic culture does not mean wearing flip-flops, playing ping-pong and bringing your dog to work. An organic culture means decentralized decision making, less adherence to a chain of command, more autonomy at the worker level, less task specialization and more focus around self-discipline than process discipline.<br> <br> The DoD has been in the acquisition business a long time—the acquisition workforce has organized itself in a specific way, establishing process and guidance around the traditional waterfall engineering model and creating an organizational culture that working as a whole creates a formidable amount of friction in implementing Agile processes. Perhaps the most difficult obstacle is the radically different organizational culture established in most Agile commercial organizations and the DoD. For example, adherence to the chain of command is accepted without question in the DoD. Two side effects of the existing DoD culture that stifle the adoption of Agile methods—and innovation in general—are that the punishment for failure outweighs the reward for success in many of our organizations and that this results in a severe aversion to taking risks.<br> Striving Toward Predictability<br> <br> Most bureaucracies, including the DoD acquisition community, have established a culture that strives for predictability. Bureaucracies endeavor to improve efficiency and optimize the steady-state. This goal for efficiency and predictability is a reason why the waterfall model is so appealing. The waterfall model fixes the scope, baselines a project plan and then executes as closely as possible to that plan. Indeed, this process discipline often leads to better cost and schedule control on a project.<br> <br> However, this never-ending quest for efficiency comes at a price—well several prices, actually. First, improving costs and schedule control is accomplished by slavishly following a plan and predetermined scope. Often, requirements change because the project team misunderstood the user needs in the beginning and/or the user changed its mind as the project progressed or the operational environment changed during the project. Regardless of that, the requirements very often changed for a good reason. Therefore, failing to change them degrades the quality or usefulness of the product being developed. Agile methods are one approach to deal with these inevitable changes.<br> <br> Perhaps more important, the drive for efficiency hampers innovation. That is, innovation involves taking calculated risks. We must try new things in order to innovate. Trying new things requires the possibility of failing. Optimizing the steady-state, by definition, discourages change. Change is not predictable. Therefore, optimization of the steady-state increases competitiveness over the short term at the expense of innovation. Over the long term, organizations driven by efficiency increasingly become obsolete by failing to evolve due to lack of innovation.<br> <br> Striving to maximize efficiency puts the emphasis on predictability rather than innovation. In this organizational culture, little value is placed on innovation. In some ways, it is more desirable to fail predictably then to succeed unpredictably. Bureaucratic organizations often punish failure more than they reward success. Therefore, in order to innovate, one must take great personal risk to their professional reputation and credibility within their organization.<br> <br> <strong>Contracting Constraints</strong><br> Regardless of how innovative program offices become, they will be limited by the rules under the Federal Acquisition Regulation. No matter how innovative and Agile organizations become, they will still be bound to execute to contracts that include a statement of work with a fixed scope that the contractor is required to meet—a scope that cannot be easily modified. This also is intended to drive predictability into the process. However, it can serve to stifle project Agility by limiting the flexibility of programs to execute projects.<br> <br> If the DoD desires to become more innovative and Agile in its methods, the programs’ contracting rules need to be updated. Contracting mechanisms and incentives should examined with a view of maximizing capabilities delivered to the warfighter rather than maximizing predictability in the acquisition process. This is what it means to be truly Agile.<br> <br> <strong>Conclusion</strong><br> Many DoD acquisition leaders call for their programs to become more Agile and innovative. They want to deliver capabilities to the warfighters more quickly and cheaply. They wish to take more risk and are willing to accept less-than-perfect solutions. This allows more rapid feedback and provides opportunities to improve through incremental capability enhancements.<br> <br> To achieve this goal, however, leaders must be willing to take action beyond proclaiming “we are going to adopt Agile.” Leaders must be willing to look deeper. They must be willing consider their definition of discipline and evaluate their processes and regulations and be willing to change their organizational structure and help their staffs overcome inertia built into the DoD acquisition system. Leaders must be willing to take a hard look at the organizational culture established in the program offices they lead and decide if they provide employees with enough incentives to innovate. Do they seek to optimize the steady state or to innovate and push the envelope? Are they willing to take more risks? Are they willing to look at the contracting process and be innovative regarding how contractors are incentivized to maximize capability to the warfighter?<br> <br> In order to become truly Agile, we must seek to encourage organizational change and incentivize those early adopters and project innovators to evolve the DoD acquisition process without having to put their own careers on the line. This involves accepting greater risk and the possibility of failure. Agile methods are not for the faint of heart; they involve ambiguity and uncertainty and are not predictable. They are often less efficient. But they often are faster and more effective than traditional processes. They often provide great value for those who are willing to embrace the culture change and seek innovation over predictability. Making the Agile movement more than just a fad in defense acquisitions is the required culture shift. The question is: Can we take the leap? <hr />Nicholson is the chief engineer for a weapon system program in Colorado Springs and a Ph.D. candidate at University of Alabama, Huntsville.<br> <br> The author can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>.</div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Agile—the-Pros-and-Cons
How To Be an Effective Military Innovation Champion To Be an Effective Military Innovation Champion2018-07-01T12:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClassF863E94061BB433E9AD428E0686B1D13">The U.S. military is working to enhance its methods for fostering technological innovations, particularly disruptive or “game-changing” innovations that can alter the character of military operations and provide sustained advantages over potential adversaries. However, no technological innovation is inherently disruptive. A military technology can only achieve disruptive impact after it achieves institutional support and is combined with complementary innovations in military doctrine, organization, training and other supporting areas. Many studies of military innovation have found that the difference between an innovation that achieves revolutionary impact and a promising invention that languishes in obscurity is often the engagement of an effective military champion.<br> <br> <strong>A Unique Role</strong><br> Effective military innovation requires many factors, including supportive processes, resources and leadership. Effective innovation champions are only one factor, but one that is timeless and within the power of many acquisition professionals to help provide.<br> <br> A military innovation champion is a leader, at any level, who takes it upon him- or herself to help build the institutional support for an innovation and catalyze the supporting activities needed to advance it from a concept to a fielded military capability. It’s rarely an assigned role. There is little formal training. Many emerge from acquisition positions, where exposure to new technologies may be greatest. But champions also may step forward from positions leading operations, on Service or joint staffs, or other functions. They are self-selected, and their actions usually are “above and beyond” their formal duties. A formal role as a program manager, innovation officer or other official can help—but it doesn’t make a champion. The essential qualifications of champions are possessing the vision to accurately see how an emerging technology could revolutionize military operations as well as the passion to ensure that the United States captures the potential advantages.<br> <br> Typically, the military champion is a uniformed officer with technical training. In some cases, the role is performed by a Department of Defense (DoD) civilian. In either case, the champion is technically competent enough to understand the innovation and military missions, procedures and organizations well enough to orchestrate translating the innovation into practice.<br> <br> Military champions include such famous names as Gen. Billy Mitchell, the “Father of the U.S. Air Force,” and Adm. Hyman Rickover, the “Father of the Nuclear Navy.” However, champions are needed at every level. Victor “Brute” Krulak was a 24-year-old lieutenant in the Marines in 1937 when he hit upon the idea of a landing craft with a square bow that serves as a retractable ramp. When his sketches and recommendations were ignored by the Navy, he built a scale model on his own and demonstrated it to the Marine general in charge of amphibious training. His idea was embraced by wooden boat builder Andrew Higgins who used his own funds to build prototypes of such a vessel. When World War II broke out, the Higgins Boat championed by Krulak was built in the thousands and became the iconic landing craft responsible for all the U.S. amphibious operations in the war. Whether you’re a junior officer like Brute Krulak, a midgrade officer in acquisition or field operations, or a senior leader, your role often is as critical as the inventors’ in determining whether a promising innovation achieves its potential impact. But how can one be an effective military champion for an innovation?<br> <br> <img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jul-Aug2018/article1_table1.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:393px;height:287px;" /><strong>A Concise Framework</strong><br> Above all, championing an innovation requires initiative and a sense of ownership. It’s fundamentally about being a change agent. Within the military community, the champion’s name may be the one most often associated with the innovation, whose personal investment of energy and reputation helps overcome the inevitable obstacles. As an effective champion, you may need courage and dedication. You need to be the hero of the story.<br> <br> Happily, the activities required of a military champion are simple to summarize. Studies of military innovation have analyzed the contributions of past champions. Studies of business innovation provide further support. The role is analogous to that of a large corporation’s internal innovation leader or “intrapreneur” who must create and champion a business model and go-to-market strategy to convert a new technology into a business.<br> <br> The key activities of the military innovation champion are synthesized here into a new, simple and easy-to-remember framework, CAPE for “Connect, Advocate, Protect and Envision” (Table 1). A more detailed explanation follows:<br> <br> Connect: A technological innovation effort often starts far removed from the military “customers” who ultimately will use it, the funding and contract authorities that can support it, the developers of the doctrine and other complementary innovations needed to implement it, and the senior stakeholders whose support is needed to drive the required changes. This is especially true for the increasing numbers of technologies that arise outside of military programs, within the commercial or academic worlds. A champion is responsible for making those connections. He or she must identify stakeholders and complementary functions, solicit feedback from potential users and help bring together the pieces of a solution.<br> <br> Advocate: This is the most visible activity of a champion. It includes educating others about the innovation, building networks of support, and turning others into advocates, including senior leaders and operational stakeholders. Advocacy goes beyond securing initial funding for development. It may include one-on-one meetings, speaking at technical or operational symposia or conferences, writing articles and news releases, and organizing influential events like operational demonstrations. Advocacy may need to continue, and evolve, over the life of the effort.<br> <br> Protect: Acquisition project managers know that even “routine” projects often are buffeted by changes in budget, schedule and requirements. For potentially disruptive innovations, the waters can be even choppier. For instance, the temptation can be great for higher headquarters to take resources from innovative projects seen as “long term” or “risky” to cover the needs of more established programs or support current operations. The military champion must try to protect the effort from adverse programmatic decisions where appropriate, and help ensure the availability of needed resources.<br> <br> Envision: The most creative and intellectually rewarding part of being a military champion includes developing the vision for how the innovation could be applied to military missions in the future. As earlier military champions drove thinking about how the airplane could impact warfare through control of the air, or envisioned how night vision equipment could enable U.S. military forces to “own the night” with round-the-clock operations, a present-day champion can help the military community understand the implications and applications of the new innovation. The champion’s thought leadership should connect the technology to future concepts of operation (CONOPS) and a new path to mission success. This vision, and feedback from receptive stakeholders, can influence the direction of the technical effort in a virtuous cycle.<br> <br> The four activities are mutually supporting. A compelling vision of military utility helps in advocating for the innovation, a strong network of connections and potential users helps the champion protect the innovation project, and so on. By devoting time and attention to these four activities, a champion can maximize the chances of success for a worthy military innovation.<br> <br> <img alt="Col Joe Davis, USAF, a decorated Korean War attack pilot, demonstrated the role of an effective military innovation champion by envisioning and driving the development of the first laserguided bombs." src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jul-Aug2018/article1_photo1.jpg" style="margin-left:4px;margin-right:4px;float:right;width:307px;height:279px;" /><strong>An Example in Action</strong><br> Military champions are found throughout military innovation history. For instance, visionary junior and mid-grade military officers within the Army Signal Corps were critically important to the adoption of the Wright brothers’ airplane and its further development into a military capability. An example a bit closer to home may illustrate the role and impact of a champion on a modern military innovation.<br> <br> In 1965, Col Joe Davis, USAF, was the Vice Commander of the Armament Development and Test Center at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. He witnessed a demonstration of one of the few laser illuminators in the world at that time, and heard a presentation from engineers at Texas Instruments (TI) regarding exploratory work on using laser illumination to guide a missile. Having flown F-84 attack jets in the Korean War, he envisioned using a laser spot to guide a gravity bomb to destroy a hard-to-hit point target, such as the bridges in Vietnam that were massively and repeatedly bombed in raids that incurred many aircraft losses. He pictured a laser guidance package that could be attached to bombs already in the inventory. After discussing the idea with the TI engineers, he used a rapid funding authority to provide $100,000 for development of prototype hardware. The TI engineers developed a radical low-cost approach using a “shuttlecock”-shaped laser seeker nose and tail fins. Despite skepticism within the Air Force and TI leadership of the workability of such a concept, seemingly derived from a science fiction novel, Col Davis advocated for more funding from the Air Force’s Aeronautical Systems Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. He often gave presentations together with the TI experts. In 1968, he used his flying experience to lead the live bombing tests of the prototype laser-guided bombs in Thailand and Vietnam. The end result was the Paveway series of precision guided munitions that provided revolutionary capability during the 1991 Gulf War. Col Davis’ passionate and sustained effort as a champion was critical to taking this technology from the research lab to the battlefield.<br> <br> <strong>Lessons for Application</strong><br> Most innovations aren’t once-in-a-generation breakthroughs with obvious potential to upend existing military warfighting techniques, but every potentially valuable innovation can benefit from the efforts of a military champion. The likelier that the innovation could be disruptive or “game changing,” even within a specialized domain, the more critical the role of the champion. Four additional observations can help potential champions further enhance their effectiveness.<br> <br> <em>Tailor the Role to the Situation. </em>Customize the role and activities to your circumstances. For a junior-level project manager at a laboratory or warfare center, building awareness of the innovation and developing connections between the project and more influential stakeholders and gatekeepers could have the greatest impacts. For a more senior leader, protecting the innovation from adverse budgetary and political forces and using his or her network to align support from leaders across the Services and DoD could be the most valuable contribution. Like Davis, the champion should leverage unique knowledge and experience.<br> <br> <em>The Champion Role Is Portable.</em> It can take a significant time to build support and momentum for a disruptive innovation, and military assignments can be short. The champion role can continue after leaving the assignment. If the innovation is important to the military, it will continue to deserve your effort, and your new position may provide unique opportunities to help. For example, in the earliest days of carrier aviation before World War II, the first aviation admirals helped place their proteges in follow-on assignments elsewhere in the Navy where their advocacy could help institutionalize carrier aviation as a core warfighting capability.<br> <br> <em>Do the Homework.</em> It’s important to back up a vision and advocacy with facts. A champion must be armed with knowledge as well as passion and be ready to question his or her assumptions and evolve positions over time as new information becomes available. This will make that champion more credible and effective, and ensure that he continues to push in the right directions.<br> <br> <em>Political Skills Are Important.</em> It’s possible to overplay the champion role and end up hurting the cause. Mitchell, for instance, let his frustration with the slow adoption of aerial bombing boil over into public statements that led to his famous court-martial. Effectiveness sometimes requires patience, and the political savvy to win over opponents gradually. Thinking about each stakeholder’s interests can help tailor the message to address their priorities and concerns.<br> <br> <strong>Future Evolution</strong><br> The military Services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense are designing and implementing enhanced innovation management processes and systems. As illustrated by the most consistently innovative private companies, well-designed innovation management processes help immensely in smoothing the road from idea to working prototype and then to fielded capability or marketed product. However, disruptive innovations may never occur solely via a standardized process. Vision and initiative, such as exhibited by Brute Krulak and Joe Davis, are likely to remain essential factors. With the future success of the DoD’s innovation initiatives, the role of military innovation champion will become easier, but it will always be in demand.<br> <br> <strong>Summary</strong><br> The contributions of military innovation champions have been critical to disruptive military innovation through the decades, and may further increase in importance in the years ahead. Despite its importance, it’s a role that is difficult to formally assign and isn’t emphasized in acquisition training. Someone who has a technically informed vision and chooses to step forward could leverage the simple framework and guidance presented here to follow in the footsteps of many other champions and help bring a future possibility to light.<br> <br> With luck, any reader of this article could be the hero of the next military innovation story. <hr />Dougherty is the Senior Adviser to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology, and Engineering at the Pentagon. He has previously served as interim Military Assistant for Emerging Capability and Prototyping in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and as the senior military leader of two Directorates of the Air Force Research Laboratory.<br> <br> The author can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>.</div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/How-To-Be-an-Effective-Military-Innovation-Champion
Where Do We Go From Here? Do We Go From Here?2018-07-01T12:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass0F9B99349FAE48D9872CB96FD7909651">During 2008 and 2009, a working group from the military Services, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), industry, and academia performed an assessment of Department of Defense (DoD) product support, and identified eight major areas for improvement. The DoD Senior Steering Group endorsed the consortium’s report, which subsequently was published in November 2009. One of the recommendations of the Product Support Assessment report was the development of a new Product Support Business Model (PSBM), which included the new Product Support Manager (PSM) role.<br> <br> The PSBM was characterized as a game changer that would help to align and synchronize “operational, acquisition, and sustainment communities … to deliver required and affordable warfighter outcomes.” The PSM was seen as “crucial to the delivery of not only system-level, but also portfolio- and enterprise-level capabilities across the spectrum of defense resources.”<br> <br> <strong>Elevating the PSM Role</strong><br> At the time of the Product Support Assessment report, each of the military Services had personnel serving as lead logisticians, with various Service function titles: Assistant Program Manager for Logistics, Deputy Program Manager for Logistics, System Sustainment Manager, etc. These personnel typically came from the life-cycle logistics (LCL) career field but did not consistently demonstrate the needed leadership and technical competencies.<br> <br> In order to build on the existing lead logistician role, the need to elevate the PSM was identified as part of the goal to improve the achievement of desired product support outcomes. Draft language to public law was introduced via Section 805 of Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (Public Law 111-84) in October 2009. It tasked DoD “to issue comprehensive guidance on life-cycle management and the development and implementation of product support strategies for major weapon system” and established the requirement for PSMs: “The Secretary of Defense shall require that each major weapon system be supported by a product support manager… .” (Figure 1, on page 10). <div style="text-align:center;"><img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jul-Aug2018/article2_figure1.jpg" style="margin:4px;width:784px;height:464px;" /></div> <div><strong>It’s the Law! </strong><br> The FY 2010 NDAA language was subsequently codified into statute (10 U.S.C. Section 2337). This<br> section is titled “Life-Cycle Management and Product Support,” and tasks the Secretary of Defense to “issue and maintain comprehensive guidance on life-cycle management and the development and implementation of product support strategies for major weapon systems” and to “require that each major weapon system be supported by a product support manager.” Nine specific responsibilities for the PSM were called out, with a 10th being added in Section 803 of the FY 2014 NDAA.<br> <br> <strong>Amplifying Guidance </strong><br> In addition to Title 10 U.S.C. Section 2337, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD[AT&L]), also released Decision-Type Memorandum (DTM) 10-015 titled “Requirements for Life Cycle Management and Product Support” in October 2010. Its goal was to implement and institutionalize the requirements of Section 805, with the intention of incorporating these policy requirements into various other DoD instructions. The DTM was slated to expire on April 4, 2011, but was continued by several subsequent extensions. (Note: The issuance of the Interim DoD Instruction (DoDI) 5000.02 in November 2013 officially rescinded DTM 10-015.)<br> The DTM articulated additional requirements regarding the PSM, as well as important amplifying information regarding the role’s implementation. Major requirements were:</div> <ul> <li>Component Acquisition Executives (CAEs) shall identify and assign a PSM within every ACAT (Acquisition Category) I and ACAT II program, prior to but no later than program initiation and to former ACAT I/II programs that are post- initial operating capability (IOC) or no longer have program managers (PMs) reporting to CAEs.</li> <li>The position of PSM shall be performed by a properly qualified military Service member or full-time employee of the DoD. (Note: Subsequently captured in Title 10 U.S.C. 1706, “Government performance of certain acquisition functions.”)</li> <li>The PSM will be designated as a key leadership position (KLP) for all Major Defense Acquisition Programs and major weapon systems and designated a critical acquisition position (CAP) for all other major weapon systems.</li> <li>The PSM will be an integral part of the program management team and will report directly to the PM.</li> </ul> Additional PSM resources developed in the 2010–2014 timeframe as a result of the November 2009 Product Support Assessment, including the Product Support Business Model (PSBM) tool, are listed in the sidebar on the next page. The special issue of the Defense AT&L magazine in March–April 2012 included multiple articles on PSM implementation such as “The Product Support Manager: A Catalyst for Life Cycle Management and Product Support Success” and “Professionally Developing World-Class Product Support Managers.”<br> <br> <strong>Mandatory Training Requirement</strong><br> In support of the 10 U.S.C. Section 2337 requirement, the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness (ODASD[L&MR]), acting in the role as LCL Functional Leader, tasked the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) to develop an executive-level course to specifically train PSMs in February 2014. This 2-week course, originally titled LOG 365, “Executive Product Support Manager Course,” was developed to fulfill assignment-specific training requirements. Subsequently renumbered LOG 465, the memo stated that the course is mandatory for all assigned DoD PSMs for all ACAT I, ACAT II programs, former ACAT I/II programs that are post-IOC or no longer have a PM reporting to a CAE. And, while not mandatory, ACAT III program PSMs may attend if endorsed by their senior executive. The ODASD(L&MR) memo was superseded by memo in February 2016. It clarified that the course was also mandatory for PSMs of ACAT IA Major Automated Information Systems programs and for defense acquisition workforce members who have been prequalified by the LCL PSM KLP Joint Qualification Board.<br> <br> The LOG 465 Executive PSM Course is offered quarterly at DAU’s Fort Belvoir, Virginia campus. It includes a wide range of DoD, Service and industry guest speakers, as well as executive-level case studies that challenge PSMs with real-world sustainment scenarios. Students develop and defend creative and comprehensive solutions within their dedicated cohorts.<br> <br> LOG 465 has been widely praised by the PSMs, and has been granted three graduate credit hours in product support management or business management by the American Council on Education (ACE).<br> <br> <strong>Government Accountability Office Studies</strong><br> Study Number 1—2014<br> Four years after enactment of the PSM law, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) performed an audit to examine (a) the steps that the DoD and the military Services had taken to implement PSMs for major weapon systems and (b) the extent to which DoD has evaluated how PSMs are affecting life-cycle sustainment decisions. Their findings were mixed.<br> <br> They noted that: <ul> <li>The military Services had assigned PSMs to almost all (98 percent) of their major weapon systems.</li> <li>DoD and all of the Services have taken some steps to develop a comprehensive career path and associated guidance to develop, train and support future PSMs, but at that time there was no plan to implement and institutionalize a comprehensive PSM career path.</li> <li>DoD’s PSM implementation guidance was not centralized and product support personnel “may be hindered in their ability to easily access and implement such guidance.”</li> <li>DoD guidance lacked detail and contains a potentially unclear provision, and personnel may confuse the responsibilities of PMs and PSMs.</li> <li>The Army had not yet adequately clarified the roles and responsibilities of certain product support personnel who support PSMs for the sustainment portion of the life cycle.</li> </ul> <br> GAO noted the second and third items listed above because Interim DoDI 5000.02 did not discuss PSMs at the same level of detail as the DTM 10-015, stating specifically that the responsibilities of PSMs were not listed in the new guidance. They clarified that the new instruction discusses the roles and responsibilities of the PM at length, but only alludes to the responsibilities of PSMs, citing Section 2337 of Title 10, U.S.C. Service representatives consistently stated that the guidance at that time was not sufficiently clear regarding product support and the implementation of PSMs.<br> <br> As a result of the GAO report, ODASD(L&MR) released a memo in May 2015, titled “Product Support Manager Career Development Roadmap” (Figure 2, next page).<br> Additionally, Army officials worked to clarify the roles and responsibilities of sustainment personnel in order to enable PSMs to effectively perform their duties while simultaneously providing sustainment support to the Army’s weapon systems’ life cycles.<br> <br> It should be noted, however, that the PSM assignment and reporting requirements from DTM 10-015 ultimately were not incorporated into either DoDI 5000.02 or the July 2017 revision of DoDI 5000.66. This information resides in Appendix D of the PSM Guidebook–PSM Training, Certification and Experience Requirements. As a guidebook, this information remains guidance, rather mandatory/policy. In essence, the requirements outlined in the original DTM have never been ensconced into DoD policy. <div style="text-align:center;"><img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jul-Aug2018/article2_figure2.jpg" /></div> <div>Study Number 2—2017<br> Three years later, GAO performed a follow-up study to review DoD’s progress in implementing PSMs and integrating them in the life-cycle management of major weapon systems, to describe factors that PSMs identified as critical to their ability to influence sustainment-related decisions during weapon system development and to identify problems for their ability to influence these decisions. GAO also tracked DoD’s progress on implementing recommendations from its 2014 report.<br> <br> GAO executed its audit via seven focus groups with PSMs from all the Services. They found that enabling factors for PSMs included teamwork and collaboration, early implementation of the PSM position, and organizational support and emphasis on sustainment. The PSMs specifically noted that the information and training provided by DAU were “excellent,” and that DoD’s annual PSM conference was a helpful forum for networking with other PSMs. The PSMs stated that they were generally able to perform their PSM duties, but they identified major challenges relating to resource constraints, competing priorities, and differing approaches to institutionalizing the PSM position as hindrances to their ability to influence sustainment-related decisions.<br> <br> GAO also noted that DoD and the Army had implemented two of the five recommendations in their 2014 study. They remarked upon DoD’s comprehensive PSM career path and associated development and training guidance, and the Army’s revised guidance to clarify the Army-wide roles and responsibilities for the sustainment portion of the life cycle of major weapon systems. They also stated that additional steps were still needed to implement the remaining three recommendations:</div> <ul> <li>DoD has not fully implemented GAO’s recommendations to systematically collect and evaluate information on the effects, if any, that PSMs are having on life-cycle sustainment decisions.</li> <li>DoD has not issued clear, comprehensive, centralized guidance regarding the roles and responsibilities of PSMs.</li> <li>The Army has not fully implemented a recommendation aimed at ensuring that PSMs have visibility over sustainment funding.</li> </ul> While no official recommendations were made as an outcome of the 2017 report, GAO did note that these three items above, if fully implemented, “could further institutionalize the role of PSMs and thereby help to increase their influence on sustainment-related decisions.”<br> <br> <strong>What’s Next?</strong><br> The recent organizational change from Office of the USD(AT&L) to the new Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment likely will add emphasis to the importance of sustainment and related product support efforts—including focus on the logistics workforce in general and the PSM in particular. Furthermore, the Section 809 Panel, created in FY 2016, is tasked with finding ways to streamline and improve the defense acquisition process.<br> <br> In order to cover every aspect needed to improve the defense acquisition process, the Section 809 Panel is broken up into teams that analyze specific topics. Team Ten is addressing the workforce and considering “statutory and regulatory reform that would foster a culture of authority and accountability in the acquisition process, enable the workforce to serve the mission free of unnecessary obstacles.” In the coming months, the panel will partner with Congress, the DoD and industry in support of further efforts to streamline acquisition to better enable DoD to meet its strategic warfighting goals. This will include the workforce issues being tackled by Team Ten, which will, presumably, include critical PSM issues. As the “catalyst for life cycle management responsibly” (as stated by the former ODASD[L&MR]), better enabling this key member of the workforce would be a true force multiplier.<br> <br> <strong>Listening to PSMs</strong><br> While no official action items were identified from the 2017 GAO study, the three most significant challenges identified by the PSM community are worthy of more focused attention. As Learning Director, former PSM and instructor responsible for LOG 465, DAU’s Executive PSM Course, I have shared the classroom with more than 200 PSMs over the last few years, and the comments below are deeply resonant.<br> <br> Resource Constraints: PSMs stated that funding and personnel resource constraints hindered their ability to influence sustainment-related decisions during weapon system development. Participants from all the Services gave examples where they couldn’t address all PSM functions due to lack of resources—often because constrained resources were applied to solve current acquisition issues. While resource constraints during the acquisition process affect everybody, it is still too easy to trade-off investments in design improvement or in analytical tools that could better inform the decision-making process. We must be better at making the needed investments in our collective future.<br> Competing Priorities: PSMs told the GAO that PMs did not strongly emphasize the sustainment portion of a program’s life cycle, because it was focusing on performance in the near-term—even though DoDI 5000.01 clearly states that “The PM shall be the single point of accountability for accomplishing program objectives for total life-cycle systems management, including sustainment.” The PSMs noted that this is because a program’s success is not measured by sustainment. Again and again, PSMs state that program management often has a near-term focus when managing a program. PMs are in the job for 3 or 4 years and then move on. As a result, decisions are made to meet short-term goals. This makes it very difficult for PSMs to successfully advocate for long-term sustainment considerations and justify the value of this approach. While DoD has taken some actions to improve these longstanding systemic issues, feedback from PSMs indicate that these problems persist.<br> <br> Differing Approaches to Implementing PSMs: The PSM position has been implemented in a wide variety of ways, based on differing understandings of PSMs’ roles and responsibilities. Some PSMs were moved into these positions but were still responsible for other related, but different, logistics’ responsibilities. Other PSMs talked about their responsibility for a portfolio of programs, such that they were challenged to provide adequate oversight for all of them. Another common theme that was shared is that PMs often do not understand the PSM’s roles and responsibilities. Additional training of the PMs was recommended, as was continued advocacy by the PSM community, and more centralized communication of PSMs’ implementation guidance. This communication should include factors previously addressed in the rescinded DTM 10-015, such as the enabling requirement that the PSM report directly to the PM. It has been proven that a direct reporting construct helps promote healthy and open relationships, build stronger bonds of trust, and more clearly articulate the PM’s support of sustainment efforts.<br> <br> <strong>Recommendations</strong><br> In this era of acquisition streamlining and the Section 809 panel, we must think boldly. To truly empower this indispensable member of our workforce, permit me to posit a list of potentially transformative recommendations. These opinions are my own, and not necessarily those of either DoD or DAU: <ul> <li>Incorporate PSM implementing and assignment information that currently resides in the PSM Guidebook into the next update to DoDI 5000.66. This should include the previous PSM-to-PM direct reporting requirement.</li> <li>Perform a thorough resource analyses of PSM assignments in accordance with approved DoD and Service manpower requirements development processes to determine the need to add/reallocate PSMs. As part of the analysis, assess duties PSMs may be performing in addition to statutory requirements and help determine appropriate tasking. There may be areas (such as Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness [FIAR] endeavors for example) which may be placing a disproportionate burden on the PSM community.</li> <li>Determine if the right skills are being applied relative to life-cycle requirements. Are there sufficient numbers of PSMs assigned during the early stages of systems life cycle, for example, with the requisite design interface and logistics engineering experience? Are there an adequate number of PSMs in the Operating and Support phase with sustainment contracting and sustaining engineering experience? Also determine whether PSM subspecialty certifications under the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) would be prudent in these and other critical areas.</li> <li>Determine whether PSMs have sufficient budget visibility and accountability. This includes funding for logistics products (i.e., technical data, training, maintenance plans, etc.), as well as analytical tools and program-specific subject-matter expert support.</li> <li>Consider extending DAWIA Level I life cycle logistics certification training requirements (LOG 100 Life Cycle Logistics Fundamentals, LOG 102 System Sustainment Management Fundamentals, and LOG 103 Reliability, Availability and Maintainability) to the Systems Engineering, PM, Contracting, Business Cost Estimating and Financial Management career field members assigned to ACAT level I/II programs.</li> <li>Develop sustainment baselines based on Independent Logistics Assessments (ILAs) as executed in accordance with DoDI 5000.02 and Service-level requirements. Track, report and review these baselines as well as improvement plans at the CAE or other appropriate Milestone Decision Authority level.</li> <li>Expand upon and strengthen the senior logistics roles currently captured within the program executive offices and/or commanders of systems, logistics, or materiel commands. Ensure that those leaders with logistics management and oversight responsibility for programs and PSMs within their organization’s portfolio are fully empowered and accountable to attain program sustainment milestones and system sustainment requirements. This includes reviewing/approval/tracking of Life Cycle Sustainment Plans/Capability Support Plans/ILA baselines to ensure proactive design influence activities and fielded hardware, software, and life-cycle support effectiveness, and serving as their PSM community’s functional lead.</li> </ul> <strong>Conclusion</strong><br> PSMs provide a potent and critical means for helping ensure that DoD delivers affordable readiness to our warfighters. The PSM is entering a new phase, and after 8 years, can no longer be considered “new.” A renewed focus on streamlining processes and eliminating obstacles is needed in order to “foster a culture of authority and accountability” in the PSM community. DoD can unleash the power of our PSMs by providing them the resources, tools and authorities they need to be successful. And PSMs need to be emboldened to fight for long-term sustainment considerations. PSMs are mandated by law; let’s continue to work to maximize their potential, while developing, fielding and sustaining capable, affordable, supportable and available weapon systems in support of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. <hr />Lederer is Logistics Learning Director at the Defense Acquisition University.<br> <br> The author can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>.</div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Where-Do-We-Go-From-Here
The Changing World of Supplier Management Changing World of Supplier Management2018-07-01T12:00:00Z Images/DATL_July_Aug2018-article3.jpg, Images/DATL_July_Aug2018-article3.jpg Images/DATL_July_Aug2018-article3.jpg<div class="ExternalClassBA7B27CCEDF24B43A8B9E38D870A64C3">Over the last two decades, outsourcing more and more has become a foundational strategic component of business models used by the prime contractors supporting naval aviation.<br> <br> Twenty years ago, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) prime contractors were airframe/platform centric providers making on average about 60 percent of their product in-house and buying (subcontracting) about 40 percent. Today, primes are more of a “system solution” provider making approximately 20 percent and buying approximately 80 percent (Figure 1). Due to this significant change, NAVAIR made it an imperative to understand the impacts of prime contractors shifting their efforts, knowledge, data, labor, costs, risks and opportunities to their subcontractors. Active insight into supplier performance can be key to the ability of a program manager (PM) to successfully plan and execute his or her program. Therefore, it is important for the government to understand and mitigate the inherent risks posed by a prime contractor’s outsourcing strategies.<br> When NAVAIR followed the money in this rapidly changing landscape of supplier management, it quickly became clear why outsourcing has become more prevalent. A prime contractor’s outsourcing decisions largely are based on its overall business strategy and the industry’s technical capabilities. Primes have widely adopted outsourcing as a method to reduce investment costs, distribute associated risks, increase return on invested capital, and leverage sub-tier supplier capabilities that, in turn, have expanded to accommodate the increased demand.<br> <br> However, from the government’s perspective, understanding a prime contractor’s supply management strategy and the impact of their strategies on a program’s cost, schedule and technical performance must be considered when assessing a program’s plan and the associated execution risks. While prime contractors are responsible for overseeing and managing the supplier network that provides a product and/or service, government program officials provide oversight and contract surveillance duties on Department of Defense (DoD) prime contracts to ensure that the prime contractor performs adequate subcontractor management.<br> <br> A clear contribution to this shift was the substantial consolidation of defense contractors occurring during the 1990s. Examples include Northrop Aircraft acquiring Grumman Aerospace in 1994, creating Northrop Grumman; Martin Marietta merging with Lockheed Corporation to form Lockheed Martin in 1995; and McDonnell Douglas merging with Boeing in 1997. This heavy consolidation coincided with a period in which prime contractors strategically increased the degree and complexity of effort that was outsourced—effectively transitioning the contractors from airframe and platform-centric providers to the system solution providers of today. Ongoing budget reductions, perceptions of declining defense procurement demand, and uncertain prospects for new major programs re-enforce the contractors’ strategy of improving efficiency and reducing investment risk exposure through such changes as: <ul> <li>Moving product or process from make to buy</li> <li>Changing, consolidating, or acquiring suppliers</li> <li>Adjusting the products or processes a supplier provides</li> <li>Expanding the scope of what is outsourced to include sourcing technical design, buying systems, etc.</li> <li>Changing the processes and equipment suppliers use on programs</li> <li>Moving supplier product or processes from one location to another</li> </ul> <br> These changes have significantly impacted program cost, schedule and technical performance, requiring additional consideration when assessing the program plan and associated program execution risks. Multiple opportunities exist to improve performance on programs through risk identification and mitigation. Government PMs must leverage available tools to meet program cost, schedule and technical goals and objectives.<br> <br> <strong><img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jul-Aug2018/article3_figure1.jpg" style="margin-left:4px;margin-right:4px;float:left;width:593px;height:465px;" />Leveraging Earned Value Management to Assess Risks</strong><br> Weapons systems acquisition is a complex business complicated by the motivations of the customer (government) and the market (contractor). Government PMs are obligated to the warfighter and must deliver the right capability on time while meeting their fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer to control cost growth.<br> <br> On the other hand, contractors are obligated to their shareholders and must enhance wealth by meeting financial performance objectives (i.e., sales, profits, revenue growth, cash flow, etc.). To illustrate this point, compensation data for the top five executives (publicly available in 2013 company filings with the Security Exchange Commission filings) reveal that Customer Satisfaction is 2 percent of Executive Incentive Award Criteria while Financial Metrics and Stock Price are 61 percent and 27 percent, respectively. Clearly, this reveals divergent priorities that do not align in a number of areas (such as cost/schedule control, shareholder return, rewards, risk management, etc.), and makes it extremely challenging to find common goals.<br> <br> Fortunately, many tools are available to DoD PMs to help them proactively manage programs. Since the early 1960s, Earned Value Management (EVM) is one of those tools used for program management by the DoD, the rest of the federal government and the commercial sector. It is a program management technique for objectively measuring program performance and progress. Because PMs ultimately are responsible for the cost, schedule and technical performance of their programs, an EVM System (EVMS) integrates these parameters for optimum program planning and control. For DoD programs, use of EVM is required on all cost or incentive contracts of $20 million and more. As a widely accepted industry best practice prescribed in the Electronic Industries Alliance Standard-748 EVMS (EIA-748), EVM provides a number of tools that help government and industry PMs assess cost, schedule and technical progress. Two of the EVM tools assess program risk, specifically the Integrated Baseline Review (IBR) and the Schedule Risk Assessment (SRA). When planning and performing these reviews or assessments, it is important that IBR and SRA assessment criteria, process steps and questionnaires include specific measures to access the impact of company supplier sourcing and management strategies.<br> <br> Required by DoD policy when EVM is determined to be applicable on a contract, IBRs are reviews of contractors’ Performance Measurement Baselines (PMBs). It is crucial that the PMB captures all contracted work scope and the IBR is the primary tool for helping the government PM make that determination. The objectives of the IBR are to gain insight into the cost, schedule, technical, management processes and resource risks associated with a project. PMs are required to conduct an IBR within 6 months of contract award, or exercise of options, and major modifications. These timeframes are essential in identifying program execution risk early in order to minimize cost, schedule and technical risk. Also, this timing allows the IBR to provide management and staff personnel a continuous method to develop and maintain an understanding of the project objectives, the PMB, the management processes, and the project risks and opportunities. At NAVAIR, IBRs are conducted using a five-step process: <ul> <li>Joint Government/Prime Management Systems Training</li> <li>Prime Management Systems Assessment</li> <li>Subcontractor IBRs</li> <li>Schedule Risk Assessment</li> <li>Total Contract IBR</li> </ul> <br> The Total Contract IBR (the fifth step above) typically is conducted onsite at the contractor’s facility and is focused on discussions or interviews with contractor Control Account Managers (CAMs) who are responsible for all work required to meeting contractual requirements. These discussions are not unlike a grade school “show and tell” where the CAMs demonstrate through explanation and documentation that they have captured the contract scope of work and are executing appropriate project management controls within the budget and resources they have been allocated. The government officials lead the discussions using questionnaires developed prior to the IBR that include questions associated with risks in five areas (cost, schedule, technical, management processes and resources). Based upon the outcome of the discussions, the government program officials make an assessment of risk in the five areas using a set of risk criteria presented in Table 1.<br> <br> It is very important that both the questionnaires and risk criteria consider the contractor supplier management strategy. For example, at NAVAIR we included the following selected questions: <ul> <li>Are subtier suppliers on contract?</li> <li>How is supply chain managed?</li> <li>Have critical suppliers been identified and evaluated?</li> </ul> <br> <img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jul-Aug2018/article3_table1.jpg" style="margin-left:4px;margin-right:4px;float:right;width:594px;height:321px;" />It should be apparent that negative responses on any of these three questions could result in potential significant risk to program cost, schedule and technical objectives—a risk that would need to be mitigated. Analysis of the NAVAIR IBR Findings Database reveals that 29 percent of IBR findings/risks are associated with supplier management issues.<br> The foundation for an effective EVMS is the Integrated Master Schedule (IMS). A program’s IMS is a powerful planning, control and communications tool that, when properly executed, supports time and cost estimates, opens communication among personnel involved in project activities, and establishes a commitment to project activities. The IMS is required when EVM is placed on DoD contracts and typically also is required on most other contracts when EVM is inapplicable. The IMS’ purpose is to provide a communication tool to improve the execution of a project, coordinate work efforts, assist in identifying and mitigating risks, and capture opportunities for decision makers.<br> <br> The IMS should represent the discrete effort for entire project and be the focal point in the program management’s business rhythm. Program teams use the schedule as a tool to communicate and coordinate their tasking identifying what, when, and how things might occur and who will perform them.<br> <br> The SRA helps PMs effectively use the IMS and understand prime contractor outsourcing strategies. The SRA is a tool and process that identifies technical and programmatic opportunity and/or risk in a program. It uses statistical techniques to identify and quantify technical, programmatic and schedule risks in a program and quantify the impact of those risks on the program’s IMS.<br> <br> When conducting SRAs, government program officials must ensure that SRA criteria, process steps and questionnaires include specific measures to assess the impact and risks of company supplier sourcing and management strategies. For example, the SRA Risk Analysis Discussion Form used at NAVAIR includes 145 discussion questions, 73 of which focus on the prime contractor’s management of its suppliers.<br> <br> Note that as with the previously discussed IBR questionnaire, negative responses to these selected questions could pose significant risk to meeting program cost, schedule and technical objectives.<br> <br> Table 2 shows areas of interest that were very useful in planning for NAVAIR IBRs and SRAs and provides examples of areas to focus attention to properly determine the impact and risks along with ensuring the prime contractors manage programs effectively. We encourage all government program teams to use it when conducting IBRs, SRAs, as well as during periodic program reviews with the prime contractor.<br> <br> Outsourcing management cannot be considered effectively unless one correctly establishes acquisition reporting requirements in order to receive the information needed to effectively manage EVM work flow (such as Integrated Program Management Reports (IMPRs) and IMS. The requirements may be tailored based on program risk and the PM’s specific needs. Incorporating requirements and changes after contract award is typically more challenging and expensive as contractors resist scope growth and typically advocate scaling back requirements as much as possible.<br> <br> <img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jul-Aug2018/article3_table2.jpg" style="margin-left:4px;margin-right:4px;float:left;width:555px;height:400px;" />DoD budget cuts (e.g., the Budget Control Act of 2011, etc.), and inaction by Congress in the form of routine Continuing Resolutions in the place of comprehensive fiscal year spending bills, have resulted in inefficiencies and added risk to weapon system acquisition programs. Now more than ever, government PMs need to take advantage of any opportunity available to avoid program cost and schedule growth. Understanding and addressing contractor supplier management strategies is one of the opportunities that PMs should maximize.<br> <br> Contractor supplier management strategies vary from one company to another because of various factors that ultimately promote and benefit their financial success. A host of tools and support personnel are available to government PMs to help them manage their programs within the framework of the principles of project control and have an absolute responsibility to do so on behalf of the warfighter and taxpayer. <hr />Lang leads the NAVAIR Supplier Analysis and Management Support effort. She has 26 years of experience providing Earned Value Management support to acquisition programs. Goodman is assigned to the NAVAIR Cost Estimating and Analysis Department. He has 41 years of Department of Defense experience in audit and acquisition functions.<br> <br> The authors can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a> and <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>.</div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/The-Changing-World-of-Supplier-Management