Variability in the Demands for Aircraft Spare Parts

Its Magnitude and Implications

by Gordon Crawford


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Mathematical models of the logistics system are used to determine spares requirements, and they play an important role in evaluating logistics policies. The kernel of many, if not most, of these models is the modeling of the failure process and the resulting series of random demands on supply and maintenance. This report describes the assumptions of these models and quantifies ways in which the behavior of the data differs from the assumptions of the models. The differences are pervasive and important. In addition, an examination of the number of parts in the repair pipeline over time reveals even more variability than does the number of demands over time. These observations have two important consequences: (1) excessive demand variability substantially reduces the confidence we can put in our requirements and capability assessment models, and (2) highly variable repair pipelines with means larger than assumed by requirements models have a damaging effect on aircraft availability and wartime readiness. Depot policies, decisions, and goals should be aimed at reducing the number of parts in these pipelines and increasing aircraft availability and wartime readiness.

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