638th SCMG: Managing Air Force supply chain through integration, modernization

  • Published
  • By Holly Logan-Arrington
  • Robins Public Affairs

The 638th Supply Chain Management Group at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, will meet its mission using the Enterprise Supply Chain Analysis, Planning and Execution program, commonly called ESCAPE, starting July 19.

According to Jordan Brannon, the Robins ESCAPE operational change management lead, ESCAPE is a transformational initiative that will modernize supply chain management planning capabilities, directly improving warfighter support.

“It will improve how the Air Force supply chain leverages data to forecast buy and repair requirements for the spares, provide planning for redistribution of inventory, and provide more accurate spares requirements planning,” she said.

ESCAPE establishes a cloud-based, cybersecurity-supported information architecture to enable future information technology integration and strategy, Brannon said.

“It establishes the future integration link with the Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Initiative and other logistics capability initiatives,” she said. “The system will provide the Air Force with an established state-of-the-art forecasting capability widely used within the federal aerospace and defense sector.”

Amber Jones, 408th Supply Chain Management Squadron Business Operations Flight chief, said the move to using ESCAPE will bring supply chain management processes up to today’s standards.

“The ESCAPE program will modernize supply chain planning capabilities, utilizing data cloud storage to streamline enterprise business processes,” she said.

The 638th SCMG is responsible for the efficient Air Force supply chain management of C-5, C-130, F-15, aircraft missiles and armament, common avionics, and electronic warfare. The unit also provides supply chain management for special operations forces and support equipment, as well as vehicles and automatic test systems.

For more than 20 years, the 638th SCMG has managed its workload using the Secondary Item Requirements Computation System, commonly known in the supply chain management field as D200A.

Brannon said the Air Force is updating its method of doing supply chain management to line up with new technologies.

“The current system, although it worked extremely well, has become increasingly difficult to maintain and integrate with larger enterprise processes due to the nuances within the system, the complex data environment and the rapidly evolving information technology and cybersecurity environment,” she said. “The skill sets needed to maintain systems such as D200A are difficult to replace as the more experienced workforce enters retirement.

“ESCAPE will implement a modernized requirements application, which supports the Air Force Sustainment Center’s strategic goal 2.1, Meeting Global Dynamic Warfighter Needs,” she said.

Brannon said the Air Force elected to use a ‘software as a service’ approach that will use a Defense Department cloud computing strategy instead of a traditional information technology acquisition. The Air Force will use a commercial off-the-shelf software toolset to manage the Air Force buy and repair requirements.

“Supporting data will be owned and managed by the Air Force,” she said. “ESCAPE consists of five mission area capabilities based on functional supply chain planning activities: demand planning, inventory planning, supply planning, exception management, and performance management.”

Additionally, Brannon said ESCAPE will help the Robins workforce give warfighters the support needed in a timelier manner.

“Utilizing Service Parts Management will enable our workforce to first and foremost, provide the correct amount of spares for the warfighter at the right place, at the right time,” she said. “By using a more modernized system in which users work on an exception basis, it will free up their time to concentrate on execution and solving any problems within the supply chain in real time.”

The move to using ESCAPE will bring benefits throughout the supply chain community, Jones said.

“The ability to utilize real-time data to plan for future requirements provides more accurate, best-estimated quantities to our suppliers, which in turn allows them to better plan for current and future workloads,” she said.

Brannon mirrored Jones’ assessment.

“It will modernize and enhance planning and forecasting systems for the Air Force supply chain,” she said. “It will increase aircraft availability and related mission readiness, as well as minimize MICAPs, also known as mission capable/mission capability, and backorders.”

Brannon said she expects ESCAPE to have long-term benefits for the Air Force supply chain.

“The ESCAPE program is streamlining the way we execute supply chain planning functions with the benefit of modernized information technology through Advanced Planning and Scheduling software,” Brannon said. “I see it continuing to integrate with other targeted heritage and legacy systems to further provide excellent support to the warfighter and the Air Force Sustainment Center mission.”