Involving logistics engineers in development and operations can help save a project time and budget.
Victor Alvarez, the NASA Ground Systems Development and Operations Logistics Lead, explains the benefits of including logistics engineers during the development and operations of new systems because of the knowledge they can share on the reliability of various parts of a system and the understanding they will gain. This understanding can help logistics engineers plan for what parts and materials will be needed to support the new system. Knowing the number of spare parts to have on hand for a new system decreases testing delays that could occur while waiting for replacement parts.
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Older systems are often leveraged to support newly developed systems. An example would be the large crawler which is used to move the new launch system. The crawler was developed to support Apollo and then the Space Shuttle. Logistics engineers try to understand the modifications that have been made to the old system and get an understanding of what spare parts exist to keep the older system running and figure out which parts are harder to find.
Logistics engineers try to understand the planned final design of a new system that is in development so they can plan for acquiring materials and parts that can support the new system and keep it operating and on schedule.
Logistics engineers use their knowledge of what tends to break and also knowledge gained from being involved in the development stages and testing of systems to try to make sure they have adequate spares on hand to keep a project on schedule with testing and operations.
Long-duration systems can last for decades. This long timeframe can cause a loss of understanding of best practices after development. One of the best ways to figure out what parts should be spared and what is the best way to optimize the logistics life cycle is to have the logistics engineers sit with the development engineers. This will give logistics a better opportunity to minimize the cost during the life cycle of the system.
Logistics engineers try to analyze mathematically and statistically what parts will need spares on a system so they have the right parts on hand for repairs.