Sustainment Technologies for Aircraft Depot Maintenance (S-Physics)

KBSI is developing a roadmap for depot information integration and situation based planning, scheduling, and control system support.  KBSI is taking a scientific approach, studying the MRO environment, its fundamental nature, the underlying physics of MRO operations and processes-planning, scheduling, execution, control—the issues of dealing with aging workloads, and the processes that perform the repair.

The driving principle at the core of the Sustainment Technologies for Aircraft Depot Maintenance (S-Physics) initiative, now in Phase III, is that planning and scheduling in a depot maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) environment is a unique activity.  Manufacturing systems make explicit the need for prior planning:  i.e., the coordination of resources prior to the initiation of the work.  Manufacturing systems assume that the lead-time to perform the coordination of resources (whether it be an acquisition activity, worker training, etc.) can be described and used in determining the appropriate schedules used by shops and management for setting baselines, tracking work, and setting budgets.  In the MRO environment, however, these systems prove inadequate.  The information managed by such systems is insufficient, and maintained at the wrong level of granularity does not incorporate knowledge of the true state of repair (with respect to work or resources) as well as provides faulty baselines based on infeasible plans and therefore schedules and provides skewed estimates of the resource requirements necessary to complete a given workload.

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XML/IDEF3-Based Training

KBSI defined a neutral format for capturing, organizing, and sharing process-related knowledge that is based on the Integrated Definition family of Methods and the eXtended Markup Language (XML).  Using this standard, KBSI developed an advanced authoring tool-kit for situation-based, process-centric computer-based training systems.

Because processes are central to the operation of all aspects of an organization, most decision-making applications and implementation solutions deal with the capture, specification, representation, and manipulation of process-related information.  This information may in turn be used to support business process re-engineering, workflow systems development, and a wide range of training needs.  Since these application domains require the same process information, process knowledge capture for one application should easily support other purposes.  Yet, sharing and reusing process knowledge across applications remains an unrealized vision.  The need for standards to capture, represent, share, and display process-related information is particularly important in training applications.  Process-centered training provides students with the most reliable approach for understanding, internalizing, and applying new concepts.

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On Demand Simulation Support (ODSS)

ODSS is a system for creating and applying simulation modeling in depot management decision support.  ODSS uses a hybrid discrete-event/rule-based simulation engine, providing support for optimizing plans, schedules, situation response, and process designs.

The goal of this initiative was to design, build, and deploy an On Demand Simulation Support (ODSS) system prototype within the depot-MRO domain.  The ODSS prototype (referred to as the Virtual Planning Wizard – VPW), developed and tested using shared facility data from the paint and strip area at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center (OC-ALC), has demonstrated the effectiveness of the ODSS technology for the rapid creation and application of simulation modeling for depot management decision support.

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Maintenance, Repair, & Overhaul Physics & Principles of Operation (MP2O)

MP2O helps depot managers improve agility, throughput, and system responsiveness despite ever-changing demands, priorities, and resource constraints.  MP2O models bring focus to essential aspects of the MRO system, expanding managements’ understanding of the system and their ability to rigorously test system designs.

The increasing volume and pace of Air Force operations worldwide add to the strain on an already aging fleet and the already taxed sustainment enterprises tasked with keeping that fleet in the air.  Air Logistics Centers (ALCs), responsible for aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO), are under pressure to reduce the number of aircraft on station at any given time, speed turnaround, and meet on-time delivery commitments—in other words, to maximize the number of aircraft that are available for duty just when the demand for depot overhaul work is sharply increasing.  The only way to achieve this goal is to increase the speed of the MRO process.  Given the inherent variability of the MRO process and the variety of resource types that must be managed—parts, manpower, equipment, funding, facilities, etc.—this is a particularly challenging goal.

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Ship’s Lifecycle Affordability Model (SLAM)

SLAM takes a systems dynamics approach to cost modeling for the U.S. Navy’s early-stage life-cycle cost estimation.  This innovative approach combines discrete, linear, and hierarchical cost-estimating methods with activity based costing and non-linear system dynamics modeling tools to create cost models that refine themselves.

Cost estimating methodologies and tools currently used by the U.S. Navy do not accurately determine the impact of early-stage design decisions on either acquisition or life-cycle sustainment costs.  Early-stage cost estimation in ship building is an inherently difficult task due, in part, to the absence of firm definitions for specific ship components, including those for the structural design, propulsion system design and components, combat system design and components, and most auxiliary systems definitions.  Many of these details, in fact, are not known until later design stages.

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Best Practice Simulation Support for Work Center Planning (RISE)

The RISE initiative is focusing on identifying/defining best practices for simulation modeling and analysis support for work center planning and decision making at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center (OC-ALC).  The RISE findings will demonstrate the use of simulation modeling best practices in moving OC-ALC to a best-practice state.

This initiative, a ProPlan™ 21 modification initiative at OC-ALC, is focusing on identifying/defining best practices in the application of simulation modeling and analysis support for work center planning activities and decision making.  This initiative will demonstrate, using a current OC-ALC work center planning problem, the application of the discovered simulation modeling best practices and develop a recommended set of requirements and actions that will allow OC-ALC to move towards that best-practice state.

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Post Deployment Software Maintenance (PDSM)

KBSI developed a library of models for post deployment software maintenance (PDSM) workload estimation along with a comprehensive methodology for PDSM concept analysis:  i.e., how to think about supporting software-intensive systems, and how to formulate and analyze trade-offs in the design space.

To meet the National Defense Strategy of global engagement, rapid mobility, a small logistics footprint, and inherent reliability, the U.S. Army’s weapon systems program office wanted a means for more effective post-deployment software maintenance.  Software is now recognized as the highest risk system component in virtually every major defense acquisition, and the role of software in the overall weapon systems acquisition enterprise continues to grow.  For example, when the C-17 development program began in 1985, the government planned for the development of four subsystems with about 164,000 lines of code.  By 1990, this number had increased to 56 subsystems and about 1,356,000 lines of code, including approximately 643,000 newly developed lines-of-code.

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