For the want of a horseshow nail: Winning the challenge of defence supply chains

In his essay, The Way to Wealth, Benjamin Franklin wrote:

“For want of a nail the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost; being overtaken and slain by the enemy, all for want of care about a horse-shoe nail.”

One of the most overwhelming characteristics of defence supply chains is the shear magnitude of the inventories concerned.  A recent assessment of the UK Ministry of Defence landscape identified some 500 million SKUs, a large proportion of which (compared to other sectors) are deemed to be critical spares.  That represents an awful lot of warehousing personnel, processes and procedures, and therefore cost, to manage.

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