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Logistics Issues in the CAF/DND

Halifax Tar

Army.ca Fixture
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For context the entire DMarP side is insanely understaffed, with high turnover and a lot of shortages. A lot of them come in, learn the ropes, realize they have the workload of 3 or 4 people, and quickly realize they can do the same job at another department with a reasonable workload and get poached. We have a hiring freeze at the moment as well.

I'm sad to see them go but happy for them; the expectations are insane and they need to look after themselves first.

We're now at the point where we go to a section head for a procurement officer, and frequently it's the actual section of sub section head working on it because everyone else is already way over the limit.

And on top of that, there is a budget crunch for normal NP funds, so if it's C113 money for the SAF there is a big pile being triaged, and fighting against basic things like DWPs and EDWPs.

Generally if they aren't answering things promptly it's because the 'to do' pile is huge, and even the most productive person in the world will fall behind. At least with the WFH if people need to stop for a mid day cry and 1000 yard stare they can do it somewhere other than the office.

I'm tired of hearing the understaffed cry from those working from home in non operational positions. Do your job. Contribute to the battle space or find something else to do.

Now that my rant is over, we should probably delegate some of the CFSS filling power to the coasts for the RCN. Let the BLogs fill their zero stock NSNs, where possible, and leave you folks in Ottawa to do major and capitol buys.
 
Now that my rant is over, we should probably delegate some of the CFSS filling power to the coasts for the RCN. Let the BLogs fill their zero stock NSNs, where possible, and leave you folks in Ottawa to do major and capitol buys.
I'd love for Blog to buy more, but their delegation limit is $25k, which doesn't do much of anything, and from talking to them about doing more local buys, they don't have staff either (and their local PSPC support is also limited). We've been SAFing money and giving thumbs up where ever we can to local units to buy things but that doesn't work for a $50k part, or they don't have people either. And then they still have the same issues with long lead times, suppliers not delivering, or that there is no tech data from when the widget was bought 30 years ago and we need to figure it out from scratch.

No one is crying about it, it's just context. The two critical bits in buying stuff is funding for it, and staff to jump through the hoops, and we're short across Canada on both. And when a capitol project delivers a ship with no spares and missing a lot of initial equipment (without telling anyone it's supposed to be government supplied) and it wipes out the equivalent to 5 years of normal in service spares, the system isn't helping itself.

The people leaving the procurement side are the high flyers, doing exactly what you suggest (which is basically the old 'if you don't like it, leave'). The bins for the things we're specifically responsible for where I'm at are in the best shape they are in years due to the sheer number of buys we've been doing, but we still a 30 year hole, but we've gone through 5 procurement officers who have all gone to greener pastures.

The RCN could help by stop adding to it by doing stupid things that aren't allowed on a warship, or wanting to pimp out the CO's cabin like a 16th century hunting lodge with full wood paneling (which wouldn't be allowed on a fishing boat). That eats up time that would otherwise be spent trying to figure out what exactly the items that were only catalogued with the identical and descriptions and no detalis (Like 'hose, non-metallic', or 'gauge') are supposed to actually be and cursing at people who cut corners 30 years ago.
 
The people leaving the procurement side are the high flyers, doing exactly what you suggest (which is basically the old 'if you don't like it, leave'). The bins for the things we're specifically responsible for where I'm at are in the best shape they are in years due to the sheer number of buys we've been doing, but we still a 30 year hole, but we've gone through 5 procurement officers who have all gone to greener pastures.
I know a few people working in other departments that have benefitted from that exodus of talent.
 
I'd love for Blog to buy more, but their delegation limit is $25k, which doesn't do much of anything, and from talking to them about doing more local buys, they don't have staff either (and their local PSPC support is also limited). We've been SAFing money and giving thumbs up where ever we can to local units to buy things but that doesn't work for a $50k part, or they don't have people either. And then they still have the same issues with long lead times, suppliers not delivering, or that there is no tech data from when the widget was bought 30 years ago and we need to figure it out from scratch.

No one is crying about it, it's just context. The two critical bits in buying stuff is funding for it, and staff to jump through the hoops, and we're short across Canada on both. And when a capitol project delivers a ship with no spares and missing a lot of initial equipment (without telling anyone it's supposed to be government supplied) and it wipes out the equivalent to 5 years of normal in service spares, the system isn't helping itself.

The people leaving the procurement side are the high flyers, doing exactly what you suggest (which is basically the old 'if you don't like it, leave'). The bins for the things we're specifically responsible for where I'm at are in the best shape they are in years due to the sheer number of buys we've been doing, but we still a 30 year hole, but we've gone through 5 procurement officers who have all gone to greener pastures.

The RCN could help by stop adding to it by doing stupid things that aren't allowed on a warship, or wanting to pimp out the CO's cabin like a 16th century hunting lodge with full wood paneling (which wouldn't be allowed on a fishing boat). That eats up time that would otherwise be spent trying to figure out what exactly the items that were only catalogued with the identical and descriptions and no detalis (Like 'hose, non-metallic', or 'gauge') are supposed to actually be and cursing at people who cut corners 30 years ago.
Who sets the delegation levels? Is that Treasury Board or is it an Act of Parliament?
 
I guess where I am going with this is that is within the control of the bureaucracy to make purchasing easier.
 
I'd love for Blog to buy more, but their delegation limit is $25k, which doesn't do much of anything, and from talking to them about doing more local buys, they don't have staff either (and their local PSPC support is also limited). We've been SAFing money and giving thumbs up where ever we can to local units to buy things but that doesn't work for a $50k part, or they don't have people either. And then they still have the same issues with long lead times, suppliers not delivering, or that there is no tech data from when the widget was bought 30 years ago and we need to figure it out from scratch.

DOAs can be amended and changed. But its up to DND (Both the civil and mil sides) to articulate that to our political overlords and convince them.

No one is crying about it, it's just context. The two critical bits in buying stuff is funding for it, and staff to jump through the hoops, and we're short across Canada on both. And when a capitol project delivers a ship with no spares and missing a lot of initial equipment (without telling anyone it's supposed to be government supplied) and it wipes out the equivalent to 5 years of normal in service spares, the system isn't helping itself.

Yup that's a problem. Is that how the GoC and DND negotiated that capitol project ? If so we should be firing people. If not we should be putting that builder on the naughty list and not buying from them further.

But we will do neither so here we are.

The people leaving the procurement side are the high flyers, doing exactly what you suggest (which is basically the old 'if you don't like it, leave'). The bins for the things we're specifically responsible for where I'm at are in the best shape they are in years due to the sheer number of buys we've been doing, but we still a 30 year hole, but we've gone through 5 procurement officers who have all gone to greener pastures.

High flyers don't leave because things are busy, they leave because there is no opportunity for advancement and/or the environment sucks. Both of which are under the institutions control to fix.

But will they ? No, so here we are.

The RCN could help by stop adding to it by doing stupid things that aren't allowed on a warship, or wanting to pimp out the CO's cabin like a 16th century hunting lodge with full wood paneling (which wouldn't be allowed on a fishing boat). That eats up time that would otherwise be spent trying to figure out what exactly the items that were only catalogued with the identical and descriptions and no detalis (Like 'hose, non-metallic', or 'gauge') are supposed to actually be and cursing at people who cut corners 30 years ago.

Agreed. I have been forced to stop operational support and buy things like green pens and sodas streams (just two examples of many) just to appease a persons inflated sense of importance.

I guess where I am going with this is that is within the control of the bureaucracy to make purchasing easier.

Empires my boy, empires.

And thats a big one.
 
@SeaKingTacco, it would give them the ability to buy more expensive stuff, but there are also some additional requirements that kick in above $25k that take a bit more work. Also, if you delegate down more workload locally to units without increasing their capacity, all it really does is shift personnel shortages to the unit level procurement side from the national side, without actually fixing it, and also you may end up with 30 local purchases instead of 1 national purchase, so it's really inefficient The LOE for a million dollar RFP isn't much more than for a $50k RFP when you are talking about buying a whack of widgets that meet some NSN tech specs for spares.

@Halifax Tar it seems to be a budget thing for AOPs and JSS, where they are only getting initial 6 month provisioning, and arbitrarily set a lot of things as GSM. PMO AOPs did that without giving a heads up to the LCMMs/SAs for common equipment (and still doesn't have a list of GSM for initial provisioning after years of asking PMO, DNav Log etc). JSS is at least talking to us about what will be GSM, but likely will be drawing it from the in service stores as well. Because AJISS doesn't do initial provisioning by the contract terms, that means normal supply system meant for the rest of the fleet. Ironically this was flagged 10 years ago when we drafted the AJISS RFP, met with the PMO to avoid it, and then with postings/retirements etc the project ended up doing a 180 and doing specifically what we were trying to avoid to try and cut costs. BLog is doing a lot of the buys for boring stuff like utensils and kitchen equipment, but things like TICs (about $16k each) are way outside their spending limit for a ship set.

PMO CSC is setting up a staffed buying cell which will do the GSM procurements, which is awesome, but will wait and see if that actually happens in a decade as inflation/delays eats into the actual budget. The plus side is a lot of the equipment won't be common to what we have (a lot of it is carry over from requirements of the 1960s or earlier) so gives us a chance to actually modernize some basics.
 
DOAs can be amended and changed. But its up to DND (Both the civil and mil sides) to articulate that to our political overlords and convince them.
Agreed but I am willing to bet the CAF already has more flexibility than most departments. Not sure there would be an appetite from higher. My solution is to have a separate procurement agency for defense with its own act.
Yup that's a problem. Is that how the GoC and DND negotiated that capitol project ? If so we should be firing people. If not we should be putting that builder on the naughty list and not buying from them further.

But we will do neither so here we are.
Would that not be a Project management issue though?
High flyers don't leave because things are busy, they leave because there is no opportunity for advancement and/or the environment sucks. Both of which are under the institutions control to fix.

But will they ? No, so here we are.
Strangely for whole opportunities to advance at the PG level were really good. So much so that we were poaching from other groups. But (and I’ve mentioned this before). DRAP caused a major issue with that that as well as causing major problems training PGs (the policy Center let things go stale so much so that courses for PGs were being stopped causing a big trickle effect). I’m not sure the organisation recovered. Culture is probably the biggest culprit.
Agreed. I have been forced to stop operational support and buy things like green pens and sodas streams (just two examples of many) just to appease a persons inflated sense of importance.



Empires my boy, empires.

And thats a big one.
Ugh.
 
Agreed but I am willing to bet the CAF already has more flexibility than most departments. Not sure there would be an appetite from higher. My solution is to have a separate procurement agency for defense with its own act.

There is a precedence for a Military Supply and Procurement department. Much of that was squeezed into the RCOC and the RCN and RCAF equivalents were then further compressed into the now RCLS.

Would that not be a Project management issue though?

If it is, and then they negotiated that, fire them.

@SeaKingTacco, it would give them the ability to buy more expensive stuff, but there are also some additional requirements that kick in above $25k that take a bit more work. Also, if you delegate down more workload locally to units without increasing their capacity, all it really does is shift personnel shortages to the unit level procurement side from the national side, without actually fixing it, and also you may end up with 30 local purchases instead of 1 national purchase, so it's really inefficient The LOE for a million dollar RFP isn't much more than for a $50k RFP when you are talking about buying a whack of widgets that meet some NSN tech specs for spares.

What's more inefficient is not having the part in stock. I prefer the decentralized approach.

@Halifax Tar it seems to be a budget thing for AOPs and JSS, where they are only getting initial 6 month provisioning, and arbitrarily set a lot of things as GSM. PMO AOPs did that without giving a heads up to the LCMMs/SAs for common equipment (and still doesn't have a list of GSM for initial provisioning after years of asking PMO, DNav Log etc). JSS is at least talking to us about what will be GSM, but likely will be drawing it from the in service stores as well. Because AJISS doesn't do initial provisioning by the contract terms, that means normal supply system meant for the rest of the fleet. Ironically this was flagged 10 years ago when we drafted the AJISS RFP, met with the PMO to avoid it, and then with postings/retirements etc the project ended up doing a 180 and doing specifically what we were trying to avoid to try and cut costs. BLog is doing a lot of the buys for boring stuff like utensils and kitchen equipment, but things like TICs (about $16k each) are way outside their spending limit for a ship set.

PMO CSC is setting up a staffed buying cell which will do the GSM procurements, which is awesome, but will wait and see if that actually happens in a decade as inflation/delays eats into the actual budget. The plus side is a lot of the equipment won't be common to what we have (a lot of it is carry over from requirements of the 1960s or earlier) so gives us a chance to actually modernize some basics.

Remember provisioning and material support to a ship isn't an exciting and cool evolution. So its to be ignored. :)
 
@Halifax Tar, I agree, but there is probably a happy medium. Long lead time items (especially with high dollar value) makes most sense centrally, as long as you get info on when it's actually needed. Low dollar value, readily available items makes more sense locally.

Our actual maintenance routines don't include a bill of materials (BOM), so we can't actually predict from DRMIS what the supply demand will be if PM is called up and completed. We can do it manually from the PM routines themselves (which we do on occasionnaly; it's painful). The issue with doing it decentralized is it's basically on demand, so when PM gets called up, unless it's easy to get, the lead time means you don't have it in time regardless of who does the buy, so then you get into end of life

Using the usage rates makes sense in theory, except it's based on some assumptions, like the PM actually getting done. Some PM completion rates are in the single digits/low double digits (sometimes due to lack of material, sometimes because you can't do PM on broken kit, sometimes just lack of people), so it can mean that you can try and order 3 years worth, and have it emptied out in a week as soon as people see it's available.

For some things, we've been ignoring usage rates, and just stacking on enough for a few ships (especially items failing at end of life).

Basically everything is a case by case basis, and expect at some point if we start buying large quantities we'll get pushback again about warehouse space, as there is still an institutional push to reduce warehousing footprint. So it's complicated, with a lot of different orgs having competing direction but all somehow feeding into the general supply chain.

The amount of weird things in depots across the CAF is nuts though; just disposed of some old lockers off the 280s that were sitting in Edmonton for some reason that got missed during the disposal of the class. The fun thing is that depending on how does the DRMIS pull, there are lots of different access levels that can mean some depots get missed. For instance, I can see stock in the coasts, partial access to the ships, and some inland depots, but there are army/airforce units using kit I on my TA code that I can't actually see what they have because it's a Navy LCMM account. Gets even weirder for deployed CJOC unit.
 
@Halifax Tar, I agree, but there is probably a happy medium. Long lead time items (especially with high dollar value) makes most sense centrally, as long as you get info on when it's actually needed. Low dollar value, readily available items makes more sense locally.

Our actual maintenance routines don't include a bill of materials (BOM), so we can't actually predict from DRMIS what the supply demand will be if PM is called up and completed. We can do it manually from the PM routines themselves (which we do on occasionnaly; it's painful). The issue with doing it decentralized is it's basically on demand, so when PM gets called up, unless it's easy to get, the lead time means you don't have it in time regardless of who does the buy, so then you get into end of life

Using the usage rates makes sense in theory, except it's based on some assumptions, like the PM actually getting done. Some PM completion rates are in the single digits/low double digits (sometimes due to lack of material, sometimes because you can't do PM on broken kit, sometimes just lack of people), so it can mean that you can try and order 3 years worth, and have it emptied out in a week as soon as people see it's available.

For some things, we've been ignoring usage rates, and just stacking on enough for a few ships (especially items failing at end of life).

Basically everything is a case by case basis, and expect at some point if we start buying large quantities we'll get pushback again about warehouse space, as there is still an institutional push to reduce warehousing footprint. So it's complicated, with a lot of different orgs having competing direction but all somehow feeding into the general supply chain.

The amount of weird things in depots across the CAF is nuts though; just disposed of some old lockers off the 280s that were sitting in Edmonton for some reason that got missed during the disposal of the class. The fun thing is that depending on how does the DRMIS pull, there are lots of different access levels that can mean some depots get missed. For instance, I can see stock in the coasts, partial access to the ships, and some inland depots, but there are army/airforce units using kit I on my TA code that I can't actually see what they have because it's a Navy LCMM account. Gets even weirder for deployed CJOC unit.
Or going into a depot and seeing a big stack of WWII Flimsy's
 
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Or going into a depot and seeing a big stack of WWII Flimsy's
The stuff we disposed of on the navy side when we scrapped the 280s and AORs was crazy; there was a bunch of combat equipment removed from the steamers 'just in case it was needed for the 280s', even though it was broken when it was taken off and never properly preserved, and all kinds of other odds and ends from ships that have been gone for 60 years. Some of the bits were cut off and sent for museums or displays, and the pre-Trump missile setup from the sisters of the space age is sitting near the mess hall at CFB Connaught here in Ottawa (the crazy hydraulic one that came out of the covered bay and then pointed outwards).

We had to fight with people to not retain obsolete equipment from the 280s as well 'just in case' someone wanted it for CSC. I think the 76mm guns were sold back to Otto melara at slightly above scrap value, as they could use a lot of it after an R&O for someone else (after they 'de Canadianized it), but we loaded it all up onto the ships and included it in the scrap value. I think it was in the hundreds of tonnes of random crap that wasn't any good.

Still cost us money to demil and do the enviro cleanup, but just the raw scrap value helped off set it quite a bit.

Can you imagine though spending $5B on a brand new CSC, and getting a janky VLS launcher off an old 280 on it? It's basically just a tube with electronics, that all would have to be replaced, and the metal was all fatigured anyway. Just madness, and the storage cost alone would have been more than a brand new VLS tube at delivery.
 
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Just madness, and the storage cost alone would have been more than a brand new VLS tube at delivery.
The issue is that the people deciding to store material don't have to worry about storage costs. Warehousing costs are divorced from the EPMs who are the ones that decide on retention of material.

Trying to get folks to get rid of material that has sat for 20+ years or have 25+ years of consumption sitting on the shelves is a fun exercise and they're is no real controls.
 
The issue is that the people deciding to store material don't have to worry about storage costs. Warehousing costs are divorced from the EPMs who are the ones that decide on retention of material.

Trying to get folks to get rid of material that has sat for 20+ years or have 25+ years of consumption sitting on the shelves is a fun exercise and they're is no real controls.
I've decided if I can't easily figure out what the item is from the NSN, and it hasn't moved in 5-10 years, to just authorize disposal whenever someone at a depot flags it as inactive. When I can figure out the NSN, unless it's for a current ship, and in good condition, also dispose of it. That seems to get rid of 90% of it, and for the remaining 10% if it can't be sent for R&O or otherwise still used, scrap as well.

Maybe someone will curse me as an idiot in 5 years but whatever.
 
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