Integrated Logistic Support
Air Niugini DASH-8 - Kiunga PNG
Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) is a structured approach used to ensure that a given system is available for use. Originally developed for the military, it is now being applied to assist with civilian projects as well. ILS plays a major part throughout the life of the system; this includes the design phase, development, operation and eventually disposal. ILS involves a large number of disciplines including:
- Maintenance Planning
- Supply (Spare part) Support
- Support and Test Equipment
- Manpower and Personnel
- Training and Training Support
- Technical Data / Publications
- Computer Resources Support
- Packaging, Handling, Storage, and Transportation
- Design Interface
Collectively, these disciplines form the Logistics Support Analysis (LSA) and the data generated is captured in a Logistics Support Analysis Record (LSAR).
All too often, systems are designed with only their functionality in mind. That is fine as long as it continues to work but eventually, it is going to require some form of maintenance. To minimise the amount of downtime, careful consideration needs to be given to how the system is going to be supported. Designers need to take into account the ease of obtaining parts, their cost and how difficult they are to service or replace. For example, in one vehicle system I was involved with, replacing the alternator was a relatively simple task that took less than an hour. To get to it however, maintainers needed to remove the entire power pack. This kept the vehicle unavailable for a full day. ILS practitioners analyse the system to determine what maintenance tasks are required and what parts, tools and consumables are required to support the system throughout its life.
It is important to ensure that the supply chain is capable of supporting the maintenance actions for the system. ILS staff must to consider factors such as the following:
Type of spares During the maintenance task analysis, the spares required to support a particular system are determined. These are the only items that should be stocked. If there is no maintenance task, they are not needed.
Quantity of spares For economic reasons, it is beneficial to keep the minimum number of spares on hand. ILS staff will determine this based on factors such as the expected frequency of tasks, the lead time for delivery of the parts, the space and facilities needed to store the parts, the cost of the parts, their shelf life, the number of systems in operation and their locations.
Cataloguing In military operations it is often necessary to consider interoperability with other forces, as is the case with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces. Often, original parts can not be sourced however parts can be found that have the same fit, form and function. Spare parts in NATO systems are catalogued using a NATO Stock Number (NSN). Maintainers can be assured that any part with the same NSN can be safely used in their system.
Support and Test Equipment
As well as the spares needed to maintain the system, there may also be specialised equipment, including:
- Lifting and handling equipment
- Calibration equipment
- Automatic test equipment (pressure, electrical etc)
Regardless of the system, people will always play an important role throughout its life. It is essential that operators and maintainers with appropriate skills are sourced and engaged. Designers also need to be aware of human factors engineering. The system must be designed with ergonomics, health and safety, ease of operation and ease of maintenance in mind.
Training and Training Devices
Throughout the life of a system, many different training programs will be developed and delivered including:
- Production training
- Operator training
- Maintainer training
- Training to handle HAZMAT material
- ILS training
- Support and Test Equipment training, including simulators etc
The training may be ‘train the trainer’ programs or it may be delivered directly to the personnel who will be handling the equipment. It may be simply in-house training, or it may need to be accredited training which will need the use of qualified trainers.
Technical data is all the scientific and technical information needed throughout the life of the system. It is created during the ILS process, particularly during the design and LSA phases. The data is used for the development of technical documents such as:
· System installation procedures
· Operating and maintenance instructions
· Inspection and calibration procedures
· Overhaul procedures
· Modification instructions
· Facilities information
- Technical drawings
- Spare parts catalogues
- Training material
- Reliability, availability and maintainability reports
- Lifecycle costing data
- Support and test equipment lists
- Packaging, handling and transportation data
Such data not only covers the prime mission equipment but support and test equipment, packaging, handling, storage and transportation, training equipment and facilities. The required data is captured during the LSA and published either as a paper manual or an Interactive Electronic Technical Publication using a standard such as S1000D. This is an international specification for the procurement and production of technical publications. This has been developed by the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) and the Aerospace Industries Association of America.
Computer Resources Support
Increasingly, computer support has become a major part of any project. ILS practitioners will need to manage any computing equipment or software needed to support the system. This could be for:
- Diagnostic purposes
- Technical documentation
- System control
Systems need somewhere to operate and somewhere to be maintained. Careful planning is required to ensure that appropriate facilities are provided to suit the requirements of the systems and operators. Factors to be considered include:
- Work Health and Safety
- Access / transport routes
- Suitability for purpose
- Room for expansion
- Environmental impact
Packaging, Handling, Storage, and Transportation (PHS&T)
As part of the LSA, any special handling, preservation, packaging, transportation and storage requirements for not only the system but also the support ant test equipment. Items may be required to be:
- Prepared for transport by air
- Prepared for transport by land
- Prepared for transport by sea
- Stored for extended periods
- Transported to harsh environments
Correct PHS&T procedures will help extend the life of the system and ensure availability.
In any project, ILS must start during the design phase. It is not enough for a system to function; it must do so as a part of a wider structure. There are many factors that must be considered including:
The benefits of ILS
Not all projects will be complex enough to warrant a full-blown ILS analysis but all can benefit from at least applying the basic principles. By paying attention to the 10 disciplines briefly described above when planning your venture, you are going a long way to ensuring that:
- Your system will be fit for purpose
- All support activities are in place
- Procedures and processes are designed and recorded
- Costs are kept to a minimum
- Waste is eliminated
- All training and documentation is available
- The right personnel are engaged
Try this Hub for more information on technical publications
- S1000D: The international specification for technical publications
S1000D is an international specification that aids a project store, share and manage its technical data.