Discussion Forum instructions:
Using the lesson section and library articles, discuss the factors that led to the long life cycle of the B52 and short life cycle of the B58 bombers.
Instructions:  Your initial post should be at least 250 words.  Please respond to at least 3 other students.  Responses should be a minimum of 100 words and include direct questions.

This week the topic for the lesson is life cycle planning and the impact of affordability on life cycles. Affordability is difficult to define. Many definitions occur in literature and tie to specific markets or situations.  Affordability affects the entire product lifecycle.  A simple way to describe affordability is to use the “best value” for all product lifecycle elements. Product life cycles are phases a product goes through from design inception to product end of life.  Some products have extended life cycles, the B-52 bomber, for example, and some have rather short life cycles, some of the more recent bombers, such as the B-58 Hustler. The B-52 total cost, best value, the proposition was long while the B-58s best value proposition suffered from high maintenance costs and an “obsolete” mission profile.
Bankole, Roy, Shehab, & Wardle (2009) created the Concept, Assessment, Demonstration, Manufacture, In-service, and Disposal (CADMID) framework as a way to create lifecycle categories. Within each category best value should be attained. Affordability categories consist of four sections. Selection, structure, innovation, and efficiency are used together to determine the proportion of each existing within each product lifecycle to assess affordability. Selection strategies require understanding and applying approaches that create a sound strategy.  Factors such as technology goals that are possible, product cost factors supporting desired sales pricing may not be sufficient to identify an appropriate strategy.  Understanding customer desires and determining the degree one can meet the criteria for price and cost objectives, while meeting requirements, is necessary. Careful analysis of maturity levels of technology and that the technology is “realistic,” is essential.
Customers might not be able to afford the features specified. Matching programs to resources help create flexibility between customer and supplier expectations. Flexibility was a factor noted by Secretary of Defense Gates.
Contracts should be well written and not ambiguous. Realistic program estimates ensure there is less chance for misunderstanding of expectations and capabilities. An example of vague contract wording is the “cost plus” contract. Escalation occurs when bidders offer lower prices that will be required to complete a project.  Many programs go over budget as a result.
Companies engaged in continuous innovation and R&D offer capability. Industry leading firms that keep the DoD up to date with new ideas help reduce confusion between contractors and their customer.
The DoD has realized the value of commercial firms taking the lead on program management.  Lead systems integrators perform oversight previously performed by DoD personnel.  This process tends to be less expensive. Two types of systems integrators are companies with overall systems expertise and companies with scheduling expertise. Additional information is available in section 805 of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Continuous improvement and evaluation/feedback methods improve efficiency. Continuous improvement is cultural. People in organizations are taught to identify anything in processes that do not add value. Sometimes termed “waste” these are steps in processes that often can be eliminated, substituted, or modified.  Six Sigma is a popular method for administering continuous improvement.  The quality of information ties to problem tracking and matching to best practices. Benchmarking to competitors and identifying weaknesses include evaluation of concept to market, quality levels, and organizational productivity.
Early involvement in program life cycles includes designing systems with cost, price, and value considerations from the start of programs.  Once product definitions are firmed, it is difficult to go and change later. Consideration for how the product will be maintained once deployed is an example of “up front” involvement by organizations in down-stream operations. Customer service is enhanced when designs consider ease of repair and installation of new features.
 Bankole, O.O., Roy, R., Shehab, E., & Wardle, P. (2009). Affordability assessment of industrial product-service system in the aerospace defense industry. Proceedings of the 1st CIRP IPS2) Conference, Cranfield University, 1-2 April, 230-238.
Page, R. A., & State, K. W. (2012). Affordability tradeoffs in the defense industry. Competition Forum, 10(1), 212-221. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/docview/1189841411?accountid=8289

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