The Value of the Military Skill Set – Part XI

April 1st, 2005 by xformed

Part XI – The Military’s Supply System

Index to the Series:
Part I: Initiative, marketing, sales, project planning and program management skills
Part II: Auditing Skills
Part III: Operations 24/7/365
Part IV: “Point Papers”
Part V: Collateral Duties
Part VI: The “Git ‘er done!” Factor
Part VII: “Total Care”
Part VIII: Communications in the Workplace
Part IX: “Give a smart person with potential a chance”
Part X: Process Engineering, Continuous Improvement, Total Quality Management, Total Quality Leadership, or what ever you call it. The bottom line title: Making “it” better
Part XI: The Military’s Supply System
Part XII: “Red Blood or Red Ink”
Part XIII: Constructive Plagiarism

For most non-commissioned officers and above, pretty much everyone on on the ship had to interact with the supply system in detail. I have good and bad sea stories regarding the actual supply officers I worked with, but for the most part, while we didn’t like the thought that they didn’t have watches to stand at sea, they were a professional bunch, with only a few radical bean counters in the bunch.

If you needed something, there were ways to look up exactly what it was, and then a form to order it with. While it seemed like a pain in the butt for a pad of paper, it was pretty handy when you turbine front frame attached gear box failed, and you needed another one in order to put that engine back in service.

We all learned it wasn’t a wild, wild west out there, with easy access to the storerooms, but a structured system, which accounted for useage and made sure the next one got on order to be able to keep the authorized spares in place.

My point is that military person in front of you understands the need for a large, seemingly cumbersome logistics network, and how, in fact, it really does make life easier.

The requisition form goes to the supply petty officer, he logs it in the division’s records and it begins it’s journey to the chain of command. The chief or leading petty officer usually has a grasp on the budget and knows if it’s a go or not, so they can justify it to the division officer, if it’s not a part of the planned, budgeted process.

You won’t need much to educate an ex-military person about your system, because the basic concepts and operation are already a part of what they have done. Show them the forms and tell them were to go to submit them and when and where to expect a delivery.

I ended up becoming very connected to training issues in my career. In the outside world, I was a skydiving instructor for about 15 years. I always found the quickest way to get someone into the “program” was to use correct analogies, that drew on their past experiences. When you see their eyes light up in a few minutes, and they are saying words indicating they “get it,” you’re on the way and probably saved many hours of classroom time with your new employee. This post was to provide an analogy that may be useful for just this situation, when you bring someone into a large corporation, with an extensive logistics system.

This entry was posted on Friday, April 1st, 2005 at 4:13 pm and is filed under History, Military, Supporting the Troops. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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