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Standardization supports the achievement of commonality and interoperability of parts and processes with United States forces and our allies, promotes safety, provides for life-cycle sustainment and allows for rapid, cost-effective technology insertion through use of standard interfaces and open systems. Standardization is an enabling tool to provide the warfighter with systems and equipment that are interoperable, reliable, sustainable and affordable. Standardization plays a key role in defining systems engineering (SE) best practices and processes.

The Program Manager (PM) balances the decision to use standardized agreements, practices, products, parts, processes, interfaces and methods with required capabilities, operational environment, technology feasibility and growth and cost-effectiveness.

DoDM 4120.24, Enclosure 4, Standardization in the Acquisition Process, provides policies on standardization considerations, how to document standardization decisions, and a discussion of the tailoring of standardization documents. It also provides references to key resources for the standardization process.

Parts management is a standardization design strategy available to PMs. Benefits of parts standardization include:

  • Reducing the number of unique or specialized parts used in a system (or across systems).
  • Reducing the logistics footprint.
  • Lowering life-cycle costs.

In addition, parts management can enhance the reliability of the system and mitigate part obsolescence due to Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS). MIL-STD-3018 (Parts Management) dictates that program offices should apply standardization processes to:

  • Improve parts commonality.
  • Reduce total ownership costs.
  • Reduce proliferation of parts.
  • Promote the use of parts with acceptable performance, quality, and reliability.

Role of the SE

The Systems Engineer is responsible for:

  • Implementing parts management contractual requirements.
  • Approving contractor submitted plans.
  • Ensuring parts management objectives are met.

Additional guidance on parts management may be found in SD-19 (Parts Management Guide).


Key terms


Source: DAU Glossary

Statutes, Regulations, Guidance

ACQuipedia Articles

DAU Training Courses

Products and Tasks

Product Tasks
10-21-1: Document parts management standardization
  1. Identify standardization requirements in accordance with applicable guidance.
  2. Document serialized item management requirements in system and item performance specifications in accordance with DoDI 4151.19.
  3. Document parts management requirements in the contract documentation in accordance with applicable guidance, and verify incorporation in sub-vendor documentation.
  4. Evaluate contractor parts managements plan in accordance with applicable guidance.
  5. Determine parts management methods and objectives in accordance with applicable guidance.
  6. When implementing radio frequency identification (RFID), conform to international organization for standardization (ISO) 15418 and ISO 15434 for data syntax and semantics.
  7. Document parts management standardization in design considerations matrix.

Source: AWQI eWorkbook