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The Air Force uses thousands of different items to support its aircraft. Most of these parts seldom need replacement. Nevertheless, difficulties in attaining them can affect aircraft availability. Furthermore, some of these parts can be more difficult, and expensive, on average to manage, given that they may have relatively higher unit costs owing to fixed costs such as physical plants, manufacturing and repair equipment, and overhead being apportioned over a smaller total quantity of parts. The authors review Air Force purchases of “low-demand” parts, analyzing how much the Air Force spends on such parts and the types of parts that have a low demand. They then identify and synthesize best commercial purchasing and supply chain management practices used for developing supply strategies for such items. Finally, the authors recommend how the Air Force could improve its supply strategies for such items.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Low-Demand Service Parts for the Air Force

  • Chapter Three

    Best Practices in Developing Supply Strategies for Low-Demand Service Parts

  • Chapter Four

    Applying Best Practices for Low-Demand Parts to the Air Force

  • Chapter Five


  • Appendix

    Construction of the Data Samples

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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