Air Force Research Laboratory
Scott J. Mason, Justin R. Chimka, Thomas Yeung, Michael Greiner
University of Arkansas
This document provides an overview of the military’s objective for their Joint Total Asset Visibility (JTAV) 2020 program. In addition, this document reviews the current supply chain of the Air Force and attempts to identify areas of improvement and makes recommendations as to how specific areas of the supply chain might be enhanced through current commercial practices and technology regarding asset visibility. Extensive research has been reported in the fields of Automatic Identification (Auto-ID) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) along with other current commercial practices and technology involving asset visibility. RFID combined with an effective database system will give the Air Force complete visibility into its supply chain. The Air Force will have the ability to locate materiel anywhere in the world in real time. It is recommended that the Air Force adopt RFID tags and readers throughout the supply chain that interface with the database system described above.
The Air Force requires the ability to track all materiel in an efficient and timely manner. Currently one system that is used for this purpose is the Standard Asset Tracking System (SATS). This is a front end user interface to the Standard Base Supply System (SBSS). This database was designed to track all of the assets in the base supply system in a real-time mode using Radio Frequency (RF) identification tags and buttons to locate items during receiving, storage, pick-up and delivery, but due to constraints such as the use of RF around munitions and explosives, not all items are tagged. While the system does have provisions for electronic conformation of shipping using smart cards, and the electronic transfer of information to reduce overall paperwork and entry errors, not all supply locations are equipped and/or connected. Also, because of current limitations in the tracking of palletized items, total asset visibility, as is common in the commercial industry, is not available to the Air Force. Corporations such as Wal-Mart and Tyson Foods have the ability to track widely distributed assets on a real-time basis. The objective of this project is to investigate the commercial best practices of supply management, identifying opportunities and plans for applying these best practices to the military system.