Currently, one of the most important industries using logistics is the military one. Through history, this industry has brought different initiatives and creations for the development of logistics, and a lot of practices it uses had their basis in the military field. The inventions and foundations made by this industry, have helped not only those organizations related with logistics but also have influenced other kind of businesses, simplifying their processes and methods.
It is important to say, that some of the most important creations in human history, have been possible thanks to the military activity, and the logistics field has not been the exception. For thousands of years, the armies of multiple cultures have used in some way the logistics concepts to face their wars and duties, giving for today’s companies the elements that we know in this area.
Before we talk about the concept of military logistics, it is crucial to know and understand some important things in the logistics’ history and its meaning.
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The logistics concept could have its origin in the ancient Greece, where the concept “logistikos” was used for accounting or ordering tasks, which is related to those elements that we know today as logistics. Years later, the term “logistique” was used in France, giving origin to logistics word.
Basically, we can define logistics as the process that involves both people, resources, supplies and other elements in a coordinated way from one site to another. In other words, logistics is the term used for all those operations that involve an organized transportation method to move different components.
As we mentioned before, thousands of years ago, the military field has been vital for the birth of logistics, due to the organized methods that the armed force must have for their battles and campaigns.
Having clear the origins of logistics and how the ancient armies used this concept for their missions and battles, then we can define what military logistics is and what it involves.
The military logistics can be defined as the set of activities carried out by the army to keep and satisfy all the soldier’s needs in terms of food, transportation, war material, medical services, among other elements required for their duties. Put differently, the army logistics involves all those organized and coordinated activities made by regulars, for moving all the armed resources they require to accomplish their missions.
The Military Supply Chain Management (MSCM)
Currently, one of the most significant concepts for logistics in the armed force is the Military Supply Chain Management. This term has been evolving in the last years, giving to the military industry better tools to coordinate its operations. The MSCM has given to the army an excellent approach to include providers, information activities, resources planning, among other elements within their processes in an orderly manner, increasing its effectiveness and efficiency.
The Military Supply Chain Management not only benefits the armed forces and all their elements but also their suppliers because they can provide their services and products in a more effective way. In other words, this kind of systems, let all those participants involved in the military industry to be more structured, improving their methods and procedures.
The MSCM is also very important for armies, due to the costs reduction it could bring. Through the optimization of some imperative procedures or methods, the armed forces can know more precisely what they demand.
As we said, this system has been evolving in the last years and is gaining strength, especially in the advanced armies around the world.
Military supply classes
Some of the most advanced armies worldwide have a supply hierarchy, categorized according to their priority level. For example, the U.S. Army has 10 different classes:
The Class 1 elements are those related to water, food, health and comfort, that is to say, are all those elements given to satisfy the militaries’ basic needs.
The Class 2 articles are all those elements required to execute the soldiers’ tasks. Put differently, are all those items like clothes, maps, and other supplies needed to carry out their military responsibilities.
The Class 3 items are those associated with movement and transportation, for example, oils, gas, petroleum, coolants, chemicals, and other moving components that every army needs to accomplish its obligations.
For all those building assignments like construction materials for barriers, or fortifications is the Class 4. This class involves all the elements that soldiers need to protect their selves in the fulfillment of their missions.
One of the most important classes in this hierarchy is the number 5. Here, soldiers receive the war material the require like ammunition, bombs, guns, missiles, grenades, and other combat components to use when they have to.
The other five classes in this hierarchy involve other components like heavy artillery, writing material, entertainment elements, cameras, among other gears that every private would demand under any circumstance.
* Featured Image courtesy of Nick Savchenko at Flickr.com