October 12, 2011

Rough waters ahead

Budget considerations are leading the U.S. Navy to seek efficiencies and improve logistics processes.

By Steve Geary

In the "Leadership of Military Supply Chain Matters" session at CSCMP's Annual Global Conference, Rear Admiral Mark Heinrich spoke of turbulent times ahead for the United States Navy, including changes that will have profound implications for the organization's supply chain.

"The challenging budget environment doubtless means reduced expenditures on new weapons, which likely will mean belt tightening on all jobs ahead supporting the Navy," Heinrich said. A cutback in weapons systems isn't the only thing that will cause a reduction in footprint, though. "Just last week the Navy's 2nd Fleet sailed into the sunset, disestablished," Heinrich noted. The Navy is experiencing "turbulent times," he said, quoting the new Chief of Naval Operations. "We have a dynamic environment, which will create significant leadership challenges."

Comparing his challenges to those faced by the private sector, Heinrich explained, "A lot of our challenges are the same as yours. We're going to find efficiencies and take risks in order to balance our budgets, and we're going to leverage process improvement to ensure we have effective logistics processes. The particular challenges may be different," he concluded, "but the way leaders get it done is the same. When you are in command, command!"