BOM Monitoring: A Secure Future for Military and Defense Supply Chains

By Logan Wamsley

Ever since the mid-90s when the U.S. decided to enter into the open market to source its technology and critical inventory, military and defense supply chains have seen two conflicting narratives play out simultaneously. One, the transition to a multi-tiered supply chain system has accelerated the expansion of military and defense tech at a rate not seen in nearly a century, with civilian markets lagging as far as 20 years behind in regards to tech advancement.

On the other hand, however, this transition also means that the military has had to enter into the same markets as private companies for inventory sourcing needs, which means they, like every other industry, have become increasingly dependent on the whims of the market.

This is particularly noticeable when inventory supply is particularly strained. For example, building a single F-35A fighter jet requires at least 920 pounds of rare earth elements — virtually all coming from China. If political tensions result in partial shipping bans, or events such as natural disasters cut off supply lines completely, the impact on national security could be significantly impacted.

The U.S. is well aware of this fact, and recent steps have been taken to mitigate this dependency — as well as to reduce the harm raw material mining has on the environment. Currently, the federal administration, through an executive order, has ordered a review of critical mineral supply chains, and the Department of Energy has recently pledged a support package of $30 million for mining.

Even still, it is expected that tangible results of such measures will take several years to see, perhaps even decades, if a full uncoupling is the ultimate goal. Instead, those operating in the defense sector should be looking at the short term as well as the long term. Long-term relief may or may not come from policy changes, but short-term relief can be found by implementing a few simple strategies to insulate their supply chain from risks such as allocation and obsolescence caused by raw material shortages.

One such solution can be the implementation of a BOM Monitoring platform. Today the market has many different monitoring options available, but Partstat BOM Monitoring is the only tool in the electronics manufacturing industry to monitor obsolescence of electronic components and semiconductors as well as current lead time, price, and quantity against an annual rolling average so you can understand market conditions before they happen, and hedge against allocation. To accomplish this, Partstat uses over 50 billion points of Big Data from thousands of component manufacturers and authorized distributors.

What makes our platform truly unique, however, is the synchronization of BOM Monitoring with our Inventory Ownership Solutions for End-of-Life – Last Time Buys. When Partstat BOM Monitoring flags a component as EOL, Partstat will then buy and store all of the last time buy inventory needed to complete the product’s lifecycle, all without the customer spending any upfront capital. Particularly relevant to the military and defense industry, Partstat has the capability to store inventory up to 10+ years to meet even the most strenuous lifecycle needs. In essence, Partstat buys inventory direct from the manufacturer, so you don’t have to.

These are changes that can be implemented immediately. Using these solutions, military and defense supply chains can meet tomorrow’s challenges on their own terms. With so many options available, despite shortages expected to ebb and flow through the years, the future of the defense industry is a bright one.