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Product Support SMART Metrics

ALCL 122


Alternate Definition

Product support SMART metrics are parameters of quantitative assessment used for measurement, comparison or to track performance or production related specifically to product support. Product support is defined as the package of support functions required to field and maintain the readiness and operational capability of covered systems, subsystems, and components, including all functions related to weapon system readiness.

The term "SMART" is an acronym which stands for being Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

General Information


Along with incentives, good product metrics are nothing short of a cornerstone of outcome-based product support strategies. Peter Drucker’s famous quote “what gets measured gets managed,” serves as an ever-present reminder of the importance of performance metrics in achieving affordable readiness for our DoD weapon systems. Performance metrics serve to identify and measure performance outcomes an organization deems important, establish expected standards, track progress in achieving required or desired improvements, enhancements, process efficiency and effectiveness. 

What Makes a Good Metric?

Good product support metrics are derived from, support, and align to validated warfighter requirements. They backstop and align to the Sustainment Key Performance Parameter (KPP). They measure product support efficiency, effectiveness, or both. They are linked to, facilitate, and undergird desired performance outcomes. They are an integral part of effective and affordable product support arrangements. And just as importantly, good product support metrics are SMART. A few good rules of thumb for SMART metrics include:


  • Specify acceptable range or threshold
  • Link metrics to top risks and problem areas


  • Specify unit of measure
  • Can be readily assessed
  • Metrics are only as accurate as the underlying data


  • Are easy to collect data and verify
  • Are understood and accepted
  • Avoid too many metrics and over-measurement
  • Multiple metrics can reinforce desired behavior or create undesirable conflicts


  • Are linked to system-level objective
  • Are appropriate to scope and responsibility
  • Motivate desired long-term behavior
  • Metrics should be incentivized by linking them to contract payment strategy


  • Provide timely feedback – and metrics should be quantifiable
  • Available real-time or when required, and are derived from an agreed to data source


Where to Start?

Overarching product support metrics start with the Sustainment Key Performance Parameter (KPP) and its supporting Key Systems Attribute (KSA) and Additional Performance Attributes (APA) as outlined in the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) Manual, specifically in the Sustainment KPP Guide outlined in Annex D to Appendix G of Enclosure B. The recently published DoDI 3110.05, Sustainment Health Metrics in Support of Materiel Availability, also identifies "superordinate metrics" for weapon system reporting to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the DoD sustainment enterprise. These include material availability and operational availability (both measures of effectiveness) and a new cost per day of availability (measure of efficiency).

Undergirding these key life cycle sustainment outcome metrics are a whole series of lower tier - often derived - product support metrics designed to measure and facilitate a range of desired outcomes in vitally important areas of reliability, availability, readiness, maintainability, supply and transportation. A few examples include:

  • Reliability:  Mission reliability (i.e., Mean Time Between Mission Critical Failure, Mean Time between Abort, Mean Time Between Operational Mission failure, Mission Completion Rate, etc.) and Logistics Reliability (Mean Time Between Failure, Mean Time Between Unscheduled Maintenance Action, etc.)
  • Availability/Readiness: Not Mission Capable Rate, Not Mission Capable Maintenance, Not Mission Capable Supply, Fully Mission Capable Rate, Mission Capable Rate, Time on Wing, Ready for Tasking, Sortie Generation Rates, etc.
  • Maintainability/Maintenance: Corrective Maintenance (Mean Time to Repair, Mean Corrective Maintenance Time, etc.), Maintenance Support (i.e., Maintenance Man-Hours per Operating Hour, Depot Maintenance Man-Hours, etc.) and Diagnostics (i.e., Fault Detection, Fault Isolation, Cannot Duplicate (CND) discrepancies, False Alarms per Operating Hour, etc.)
  • Supply: Logistics Response Time (LRT), Customer Wait Time (CWT), Issue Effectiveness, Not Mission Capable for Supply (NMCS), Backorders,, Requisition Fill Rate, Order Cycle Time, Perfect Order Fulfillment (POF), Mean Logistics Delay Time (MLDT), Logistics Response Time (LRT), Back Order Rate
  • Transportation: Delivery Time for high/medium/low priority items, Percent In-Transit Visibility, Retrograde Time, Shipping/In-transit Time, Delivery Accuracy, Damage in Transit, Mean Logistics Delay Time
  • O&S Cost: Dollar per unit of operation (flying hour, steaming hour, miles driven, etc.); reduction in Operations and Sustainment cost


Other Key DoD References

There is a wide array of readily accessible DoD, Service, DAU, and commercial product support and sustainment metrics resources available, including but not limited to:

Key Service References

DAU Blog Posts, Articles and Tools

Commercial Sector Resources (Note: Fee may apply)

Note: This list is not all inclusive, nor does inclusion of commercial sector resources does imply DAU or DoD endorsement of any specific references listed.