Keeping the planes flying, faster.

U.S. Military procurement often takes a rap for inefficiency — true or not — but here’s evidence the brass are trying to “smarten up” their supply chain. According to Boeing, the U.S. Air Force has signed a master supply contract with Boeing that covers purchases for spare parts at all three Air Force repair facilities. Find the release here.

Negotiating a master agreement reportedly saved months of time and will create efficiencies delivering spare parts to fix or rebuild military aircraft. Of course, if these three operations have all been working on Boeing aircraft since the Air Force started buying from Boeing, one might reasonably ask, “what took so long to figure out one contract for all Boeing supplies was better than three?”

I expect the process was a lot more complicated than it might appear. These are huge operations in three different parts of the country that are responsible for about a dozen different kinds of transports, bombers and fighters deployed around the world. So we should give the Air Force it’s due — especially in this week when we honor our veterans. But it does beg the question for all of us – what obvious inefficiencies do we have in our own supply chains that we have lived with, ignored, perhaps whined about, but never addressed head-on, regardless of how intractable it might seem?

No matter what what it is, perhaps it’s time now to finally tackle that “elephant in the room.” Or perhaps we should say “C-130.”

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