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—Gideon Grudo

Lockheed Martin is going to keep its partnership grasp on three USAF air logistics complexes for at least five more years.

On Friday, the Defense Logistics Agency chose Lockheed as USAF’s industrial product-support vendor (IPV) for the service’s third generation logistics program. The major focus of the agreement is managing rapid replenishment of consumable parts—from rivets to nuts to bolts to screws—so maintainers can access the components they need when they need them.

The contract, valued at $750 million over the five-year span, is the second time Lockheed beat out competitors to be IVP. In 2005, it did the same thing for a three-year contract with options, which turned into a 10-year agreement. While DLA ran its RFP for the next IVP, Lockheed held onto the “bridge” contract for an 11th year.

This IVP contract, as well, will have options set at the end of it, according to Neal Tomblyn, Lockheed’s director of strategy and business development. As it stands, there will be a three-year extension option at the end of five years followed by a two-year extension. Tomblyn told Air Force Magazine this IPV is DOD’s largest currently.

The agreement is between Lockheed and three bases: Hill AFB, Utah; Tinker AFB, Okla.; and Robins AFB, Ga. The company has been working with these complexes for over a decade, most recently with the second generation of its system.

The third generation system automates a lot of the process, resulting in what resembles a  “jukebox” for a maintainer, says Tomblyn.

When a technician using the second gen system needed a rivet, for example, he or she would:
  1. Walk over to a computer
  2. Looks up the part number and find the designation for the necessary bin
  3. Walk over to the bin
  4. Reach in and grab, for example, 15 rivets
  5. Get to work
Other than being time-consuming, this system had two major issues. For one, did the technician really grab 15 rivets, or maybe 14 by accident? Little mistakes like this make keeping track of how many rivets are left in the bin an arduous task. By extension, the second issue is forecasting how to keep these bins full in as efficient a manner as possible.

When a technician using the third gen system needs a rivet, he or she will:
  1. Walk over to the workstation
  2. Key in a part number and desired amount (for example: rivets, 15)
  3. Get 15 rivets delivered there and then
  4. Get to work
Not only does this third gen system save the tech time, Tomblyn explains, but the system knows it provided 15 rivets and automatically keeps score, using that data for forecasting and replenishment. Using this system, Lockheed touts a 99.78 percent bin fill success rate, which measures whether a technician gets what he or she needs when reaching into a bin, and a 99.99 percent quality success rate, which measures whether the bin is stocked with the right parts and that the parts themselves work correctly.

According to Tomblyn, integration of the third gen system has been deployed both experimentally and operationally as early as 2015.

Lockheed’s previous IPV contract with USAF circulated 89,000 consumable parts spanning about a quarter of a million bins over its lifetime.