It's not lost, it's just mislaid...!

#1
Did anyone catch the piece this moning on Radio 4 regarding the amount of lost kit in the logistic system..?

BBC - BBC Radio 4 Programmes - The Report, The MOD's Missing Kit

It was going over the report by the NAO etc regarding the amount of kit lost by the MoD over recent years, and the huge wastages involved in the logistic chain as a result of lack of control and oversight..

I think some of the accusations are wrong:

1. I don't see a compelling reason for combining Sea, Air and Land logistic systems. They operate in fundamentally different ways and need solutions that meet their mode of operation. Should however the RAF, Navy, Infantry, Engineers, Gunners and "speshuls" have their own private supply systems is a good point!

2. I don't believe that any weapons have fallen into the wrong hands, however this is not to say that we know where all the "sensitive" hi tech stuff may be..

Some of the other accusations are however "bang on". The "Logistics is not sexy" bit. This is the root cause of the problem IMHO..
 
#3
1. I don't see a compelling reason for combining Sea, Air and Land logistic systems. They operate in fundamentally different ways and need solutions that meet their mode of operation. Should however the RAF, Navy, Infantry, Engineers, Gunners and "speshuls" have their own private supply systems is a good point!
MJDI allows for the individual service nuances, and the system is designed so that each Unit can tailor their set up to suit their needs. The (IMHO) best bit is the Management Information System which will stop QMs "hiding" kit.
Shiny
 
#4
Can we actually justify the cost of real-time accounting of gear? A certain High Street retailer doesn't count individual tills because they estimate the total possible fraud would be a fraction of the cost of preventing it.
 

overopensights

ADC
Book Reviewer
#5
Can we actually justify the cost of real-time accounting of gear? A certain High Street retailer doesn't count individual tills because they estimate the total possible fraud would be a fraction of the cost of preventing it.
I went to a very large bootsale last Sunday morning and I saw enough Mil clothing there to fit out a Battalion. Not just clothing but jerry cans and the like. One ex soldier there (female) had all her kit laid out for sale complete with webbing, combat clothing, boots, socks, the whole lot. (I bought her rifle cleaning roll for old times sake) but having spent some time as a Company 'Q' I thought WTF has happened to the rigid control and the AF1157?
 
#6
Can we actually justify the cost of real-time accounting of gear? A certain High Street retailer doesn't count individual tills because they estimate the total possible fraud would be a fraction of the cost of preventing it.
The main reason the MOD has to account for everything it has is because the National Audit Office requires that the MOD can show what happened to everything owned by the taxpayer.
Shiny
 
#7
I think that the Bundeswehr has a similar problem, some years ago I read that since its formation in 1955 the Bundeswehr has "mislaid" 40,000 weapons, more specifically small arms. Not necessarily lost, just diffy, they cannot be traced or found right now. How the **** does anyone lose track of that many weapons?
 
#8
Back in the early 90s as "Peace Dividend" etc started to bite the Army assumed responsibility for all married quarters and residences in Germany. Rather than adopt the computerised system which had been operating for many years they opted to return everything to manual ledgers.

Apparently this was to ensure x amount of manpower, which in turn guaranteed a one star position at the helm of the organisation. There has also been much resistance over the years to the adoption of USAS/MJDI both excellent accounting tools. The problem being it virtually removes the QM from his throne of power.
 
#9
Visibility and open ownership is the key.

The Army system of x-servicing is ridiculous. As far as I know, a unit can phone another and ask for a bit of kit that they are showing as holding on OLIVER. The holding unit can refuse without giving a reason, even if there is very low usage of said item. The demanding unit then has to go through the main system. This is plainly bonkers.

Or it was 5 years ago when I was last involved in 2nd line stores.
 
#10
Can we actually justify the cost of real-time accounting of gear? A certain High Street retailer doesn't count individual tills because they estimate the total possible fraud would be a fraction of the cost of preventing it.
This is an old chestnut..

There are a number of reasons why we should track kit..

1. The military is fundamentally different from industry in that it can be called to react to a number of roles and situations with little or very short notice. To meet this requirement it needs to be able to get hold of kit quickly either from store, from somebody else who is not using it at the moment, or from industry. Either way it needs to know where "stuff" is, so that it can make sensible decisions. If the system can't find its stuff, it has to buy new stuff, usually at short notice and at very inflated prices.. (even than it needs to make sure it can get through the pipeline to the customer..)

2. History shows that if you do not make at least an effort to account for property, it will "walk". When the Army stopped accounting for handtools below a certain price in the '70s it was calculated that, after three years, there were sufficient 7" adjustable spanners issued for every man woman child and dog in West Germany to have one each. Petty criminality amongst unit "Q" staffs remains endemic, and is no less acceptable than MPs fiddling their expenses.

3. The accepted military wisdom is that stock accounting is the problem, and that if you forget about all the paperwork, and "just give the stuff to the lads" then all will be well. This "stores are for storing" jibe pervades the entire chain of command, which seems to think that cirumventing the supply system is the right approach and that scoring off the thick loggies is great sport. I beg to differ.. we need to get away from this "Hogan's Heros" attitude, and start to re-learn the lesson that it is bad logistics, not bad tactics that loses you wars...

Any idiot can win a war if they have access to unlimited resources, but this is never the case in reality...

I don't think the loggies have done themselves any favours either by the way.. merging the clerical and storekeeping trades was possibly not the best way forward on reflection, and, as the article points out, the underinvestment in Log IT is chronic..
 
#11
Having now listened to the programme, I am amazed. The man from the union saying " people have forgotten where equipment is located" shows a total lack of knowledge of the system. Conveniently overlooking the fact that locations are recorded rather than carried about as part of a personal memory bank.

The man in search of his tank engines, yet again failure to comply with the most basic housekeeping leads to a situation where items are incorrectly identified.

The man commenting on sewing machines, another who does not know what he is talking about. That equipment is there for a reason, Resource Account Budgeting (RAB) ensures that items are not left in stock without good reason. The PTs conduct regular reviews of depot holdings to ensure the Treasury does not receive monies from the defence vote that they are not entitled to.

All of the above padded out a programme that could have been completed in five minutes.
 
#12
I think that the Bundeswehr has a similar problem, some years ago I read that since its formation in 1955 the Bundeswehr has "mislaid" 40,000 weapons, more specifically small arms. Not necessarily lost, just diffy, they cannot be traced or found right now. How the **** does anyone lose track of that many weapons?
Take it you've never seen the highly factual movie of "Buffalo Soldiers"?
 
#13
This is an old chestnut..

There are a number of reasons why we should track kit...
Agreed and carrying on.

When I were a lad, we used to account for three sorts of items more fervently than the rest - stuff that could go bang (and its close relations), stuff that was pricey and stuff that was eminently nickable (which didn't correlate that much with value - I seem to remember issue watch-straps were in that select group.)

Only slightly tongue in cheek: Then we got some computer systems that weren't nearly as good as the sales-weasels had assured the MoD (just to prove that things never really change. I'm sure Gaius Julius was flogged a bunch of duff abacii by EDSus.) And then we had a bunch of wars. Where kit was sent off to far flung parts of the globe, being tracked by these (not actually very good) computer systems. Some of it didn't get there. Some of it got there but nobody told the people expecting it that it had arrived. Some of it did get there, was issued and was used. But the users were too busy using it to fill in the quadruplicate forms and send them back to Div G4 so they could exit it from the computers. And then roulement happened and everybody went home and forgot about the pile of forms now mouldering in a forgotten corner of (Iraq, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Libya, etc, etc.)
 
#14
A short visit to the "Purple" gate will answer the majority of questions on "why the MOD is losing Equipt".

I'm sure the producers of The League of Gentlemen recruited from there....
 
#16
Having now listened to the programme, I am amazed. The man from the union saying " people have forgotten where equipment is located" shows a total lack of knowledge of the system. Conveniently overlooking the fact that locations are recorded rather than carried about as part of a personal memory bank.

The man in search of his tank engines, yet again failure to comply with the most basic housekeeping leads to a situation where items are incorrectly identified.
I think you put your finger on the problem here...

The number of folk who do actually know how the system is supposed to work or who are in a position to make it happen, is IMHO vanishingly small.. Even within the Loggie community, knowledge and understanding of the log system seems to missing. This however does not seem to deter anyone flying an equipment desk anywhere in the system to simply "do their own thing".. (like the RAB team who scrapped all the ammunition guages.!)

I have yet to see any Log regiment on operations managing to properly close an account... When discussing this with a Regimental Worthy - his reply was - " well we just need to have a board of officers and write it off" - the chimp did not seem to understand the difference between a "C" stockholding account and the mess bar book...!

When you have depots with a work ethic that would make the coal board blush and units where all the store keeping staff are withdrawn on a whim for unit potted sports are you really surprised...?
 
M

Mr_Logic

Guest
#17
Did anyone catch the piece this moning on Radio 4 regarding the amount of lost kit in the logistic system..?

BBC - BBC Radio 4 Programmes - The Report, The MOD's Missing Kit

It was going over the report by the NAO etc regarding the amount of kit lost by the MoD over recent years, and the huge wastages involved in the logistic chain as a result of lack of control and oversight..

I think some of the accusations are wrong:

1. I don't see a compelling reason for combining Sea, Air and Land logistic systems. They operate in fundamentally different ways and need solutions that meet their mode of operation. Should however the RAF, Navy, Infantry, Engineers, Gunners and "speshuls" have their own private supply systems is a good point!

2. I don't believe that any weapons have fallen into the wrong hands, however this is not to say that we know where all the "sensitive" hi tech stuff may be..

Some of the other accusations are however "bang on". The "Logistics is not sexy" bit. This is the root cause of the problem IMHO..
Not the BBC's finest moment. I caught the second half of this and then listened to the whole thing on my iPod. One or two semi-valid points were alluded to but the lack of even a single mention of MJDI was astounding (or did I misss it). DSMS is also very old news, being cancelled a decade ago. The ex-Loggie Major wheeled in as a 'defence expert' didn't exactly contribute a whole deal to the debate. There are undoubtedly issues in the supply chain, but this programme didn't offer any solutions. The additional visibility that MJDI will offer should improve things. However, the complexity and pressures of a CA UIN in Theatre with over 25,000 line items (and growing), being looked after by 30 blokes, shouldn't be under-estimated. The fuckwits in DE&S don't help by sending stuff out un-codified (i.e. no NSN). I would argue that we get the suppply chain that we pay for.

One thought I would offer is that the Army may holistically be a whole lot less disciplined than it used to be on some levels. I am sure that most of the contributors to this thread remember when the loss of your MOD 90 would cost you £50 and an RTA meant an automatic charge. I seem to recall that the going rate for each round of ammunition lost in NI was £200. If there is no punishment for loosing small stuff, is there any incentive to look after the bigger stuff?
 
#18
"The fuckwits in DE&S don't help by sending stuff out un-codified (i.e. no NSN). I would argue that we get the suppply chain that we pay for."

Therein lies the rub with UOR gear though - theatre wants kit ASAP, hence rushed into service through a UOR, but for a lot of kit this doesnt provide time to get it NSN'd (e.g. its urgent, needed now, so lets get it out there). Kit arrives, and promptly breaks down, cueing long delays while people work out what is what. Alternatively kit is delayed due to desire by DE&S to NSN stuff, then soldiers are killed in interim due to lack of said kit, cue headlines and parliamentary questions about why our brave boys are dying due to incompetent people in Whitehall...

You can't win!
 
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