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Integrated logistic support (ILS) is an integrated and iterative process for developing materiel and a support strategy that optimizes functional support, leverages existing resources, and guides the system engineering process to quantify and lower life cycle cost and decrease the logistics footprint (demand for logistics), making the system easier to support. Although originally developed for military purposes, it is also widely used in commercial product support or customer service organisations.
In general, ILS plans and directs the identification and development of logistics support and system requirements for military systems, with the goal of creating systems that last longer and require less support, thereby reducing costs and increasing return on investments. ILS therefore addresses these aspects of supportability not only during acquisition, but also throughout the operational life cycle of the system. The impact of ILS is often measured in terms of metrics such as reliability, availability, maintainability and testability (RAMT), and sometimes System Safety (RAMS).
ILS is the integrated planning and action of a number of disciplines in concert with one another to assure system availability. The planning of each element of ILS is ideally developed in coordination with the system engineering effort and with each other. Tradeoffs may be required between elements in order to acquire a system that is: affordable (lowest life cycle cost), operable, supportable, sustainable, transportable, and environmentally sound. In some cases, a deliberate process of Logistics Support Analysis will be used to identify tasks within each logistics support element.
The most widely accepted list of ILS activities include:
Decisions are documented in a life cycle sustainment plan (LCSP), a Supportability Strategy, or (most commonly) an Integrated Logistics Support Plan (ILSP). ILS planning activities coincide with development of the system acquisition strategy, and the program will be tailored accordingly. A properly executed ILS strategy will ensure that the requirements for each of the elements of ILS are properly planned, resourced, and implemented. These actions will enable the system to achieve the operational readiness levels required by the warfighter at the time of fielding and throughout the life cycle. ILS can be also used for civilian projects, as highlighted by the ASD/AIA ILS Guide.
It is considered common practice within some industries - primarily Defence - for ILS practitioners to take a leave of absence to undertake an ILS Sabbatical; furthering their knowledge of the logistics engineering disciplines. ILS Sabbaticals are normally taken in developing nations - allowing the practitioner an insight into sustainment practices in an environment of limited materiel resources.
ILS is a technique introduced by the US Army to ensure that the supportability of an equipment item is considered during its design and development. The technique was adopted by the UK MoD in 1993 and made compulsory for the procurement of the majority of MOD equipment.
The ILS management process facilitates specification, design, development, acquisition, test, fielding, and support of systems.
Maintenance planning begins early in the acquisition process with development of the maintenance concept. It is conducted to evolve and establish requirements and tasks to be accomplished for achieving, restoring, and maintaining the operational capability for the life of the system. Maintenance planning relies on Level Of Repair Analysis (LORA) as a function of the system acquisition process. Maintenance planning will:
Supply support encompasses all management actions, procedures, and techniques used to determine requirements to:
Support and test equipment includes all equipment, mobile and fixed, that is required to perform the support functions, except that equipment which is an integral part of the system. Support equipment categories include:
This also encompasses planning and acquisition of logistic support for this equipment.
Manpower and personnel involves identification and acquisition of personnel with skills and grades required to operate and maintain a system over its lifetime. Manpower requirements are developed and personnel assignments are made to meet support demands throughout the life cycle of the system. Manpower requirements are based on related ILS elements and other considerations. Human factors engineering (HFE) or behavioral research is frequently applied to ensure a good man-machine interface. Manpower requirements are predicated on accomplishing the logistics support mission in the most efficient and economical way. This element includes requirements during the planning and decision process to optimize numbers, skills, and positions. This area considers:.
Training and training devices support encompasses the processes, procedures, techniques, training devices, and equipment used to train personnel to operate and support a system. This element defines qualitative and quantitative requirements for the training of operating and support personnel throughout the life cycle of the system. It includes requirements for:
Embedded training devices, features, and components are designed and built into a specific system to provide training or assistance in the use of the system. (One example of this is the HELP files of many software programs.) The design, development, delivery, installation, and logistic support of required embedded training features, mockups, simulators, and training aids are also included.
Technical Data and Technical Publications consists of scientific or technical information necessary to translate system requirements into discrete engineering and logistic support documentation. Technical data is used in the development of repair manuals, maintenance manuals, user manuals, and other documents that are used to operate or support the system. Technical data includes, but may not be limited to:
Computer Resources Support includes the facilities, hardware, software, documentation, manpower, and personnel needed to operate and support computer systems and the software within those systems. Computer resources include both stand-alone and embedded systems. This element is usually planned, developed, implemented, and monitored by a Computer Resources Working Group (CRWG) or Computer Resources Integrated Product Team (CR-IPT) that documents the approach and tracks progress via a Computer Resources Life-Cycle Management Plan (CRLCMP). Developers will need to ensure that planning actions and strategies contained in the ILSP and CRLCMP are complementary and that computer resources support for the operational software, and ATE software, support software, is available where and when needed.
This element includes resources and procedures to ensure that all equipment and support items are preserved, packaged, packed, marked, handled, transported, and stored properly for short- and long-term requirements. It includes material-handling equipment and packaging, handling and storage requirements, and pre-positioning of material and parts. It also includes preservation and packaging level requirements and storage requirements (for example, sensitive, proprietary, and controlled items). This element includes planning and programming the details associated with movement of the system in its shipping configuration to the ultimate destination via transportation modes and networks available and authorized for use. It further encompasses establishment of critical engineering design parameters and constraints (e.g., width, length, height, component and system rating, and weight) that must be considered during system development. Customs requirements, air shipping requirements, rail shipping requirements, container considerations, special movement precautions, mobility, and transportation asset impact of the shipping mode or the contract shipper must be carefully assessed. PHS&T planning must consider:
The Facilities logistics element is composed of a variety of planning activities, all of which are directed toward ensuring that all required permanent or semi-permanent operating and support facilities (for instance, training, field and depot maintenance, storage, operational, and testing) are available concurrently with system fielding. Planning must be comprehensive and include the need for new construction as well as modifications to existing facilities. It also includes studies to define and establish impacts on life cycle cost, funding requirements, facility locations and improvements, space requirements, environmental impacts, duration or frequency of use, safety and health standards requirements, and security restrictions. Also included are any utility requirements, for both fixed and mobile facilities, with emphasis on limiting requirements of scarce or unique resources.
Design interface is the relationship of logistics-related design parameters of the system to its projected or actual support resource requirements. These design parameters are expressed in operational terms rather than as inherent values and specifically relate to system requirements and support costs of the system. Programs such as "design for testability" and "design for discard" must be considered during system design. The basic requirements that need to be considered as part of design interface include:
The references below cover many relevant standards and handbooks related to Integrated logistics support.
The ASD/AIA Suite of S-Series ILS specifications