Just how do you define the term “product support?” How about “product support manager” (PSM)? Or perhaps “product support arrangement” (PSA)? What about “product support integrator” (PSI or “product support provider” (PSP)? These terms are found frequently in DoD and Service policy and guidance, DAU training, and numerous other on-line resources and references, yet many of us may not know exactly what the formal definitions of these terms are or where to find them.
As life cycle logisticians and product support managers continue to inculcate the department's Better Buying Power 2.0 principles, practices, and initiatives into our daily activities, it's important that we take a moment to ensure we fully understand exactly what each of these terms mean. Several are in fact defined in statute, including:
· Product Support. “The term “product support” means the package of support functions required to field and maintain the readiness and operational capability of major weapon systems, subsystems, and components, including all functions related to weapon system readiness” (Source: 10 U.S.C. § 2337)
· Product Support Arrangement (PSA). “The term “product support arrangement” means a contract, task order, or any type of other contractual arrangement, or any type of agreement or non-contractual arrangement within the Federal Government, for the performance of sustainment or logistics support required for major weapon systems, subsystems, or components. The term includes arrangements for any of the following:
(A) Performance-based logistics.
(B) Sustainment support.
(C) Contractor logistics support.
(D) Life-cycle product support.
(E) Weapon systems product support” (Source: 10 U.S.C. § 2337)
· Product Support Manager (PSM). “A product support manager for a major weapon system shall-
(A) develop and implement a comprehensive product support strategy for the weapon system;
(B) use appropriate predictive analysis and modeling tools that can improve material availability and reliability, increase operational availability rates, and reduce operation and sustainment costs;
(C) conduct appropriate cost analyses to validate the product support strategy, including cost-benefit analyses as outlined in Office of Management and Budget Circular A–94;
(D) ensure achievement of desired product support outcomes through development and implementation of appropriate product support arrangements;
(E) adjust performance requirements and resource allocations across product support integrators and product support providers as necessary to optimize implementation of the product support strategy;
(F) periodically review product support arrangements between the product support integrators and product support providers to ensure the arrangements are consistent with the overall product support strategy;
(G) prior to each change in the product support strategy or every five years, whichever occurs first, revalidate any business-case analysis performed in support of the product support strategy; and
(H) ensure that the product support strategy maximizes small business participation at the appropriate tiers” (Source: 10 U.S.C. § 2337)
· Product support integrator (PSI). “The term “product support integrator” means an entity within the Federal Government or outside the Federal Government charged with integrating all sources of product support, both private and public, defined within the scope of a product support arrangement.” (Source: 10 U.S.C. § 2337)
· Product support provider (PSP). “The term “product support provider” means an entity that provides product support functions. The term includes an entity within the Department of Defense, an entity within the private sector, or a partnership between such entities” (Source: 10 U.S.C. § 2337)
In the context of DoD product support, the relationship and linkage between each of these entities and personnel under the guise of these arrangements is clearly and concisely illustrated in a single graphic entitled the DoD Product Support Business Model (PSBM), which is defined as:
· Product Support Business Model (PSBM). “The PSBM defines the hierarchical framework in which the planning, development, implementation, management, and execution of product support for a weapon system component, subsystem, or system platform will be accomplished over the life cycle. The PSBM effectively describes the methodology by which DoD intends to ensure achievement of optimized product support through balancing maximum weapon system availability with the most affordable and predictable total ownership cost. The model provides a clearly delineated description of the roles, relationships, accountability, responsibility and business agreements among the managers, integrators, and providers of product support. The DoD Product Support Business Model (PSBM) encompasses the overall strategy for product support planning, implementation, management, and measurement over the life cycle of a weapon system component, subsystem, or platform. It is designed to fulfill life-cycle management and product support requirements and looks forward to address future opportunities to create/expand partnerships, incentivize the organic sustainment community, and manage long-term affordability.” In addition, “the PSBM " recognizes two fundamental axioms of product support:
o With rare exception, every product support strategy is dependent on both organic and commercial industry support. The intent of the PSM is to determine through a considered analysis the best blend of public and private resources, and the partnering relationship between those entities, to achieve an effective product support strategy that delivers Warfighter operational readiness.
o The objective of the product support strategy is to achieve Warfighter operational readiness outcomes. Achieving these outcomes is dependent on optimizing the IPS elements that comprise the support strategy. The PSM should determine the appropriate performance metrics for the IPS elements that will, in aggregate, achieve the top-level Warfighter operational outcomes. These performance metrics ensure achievement of the outcomes required for the objective weapon system, subsystem, and components." (Source: DoD Product Support Manager (PSM) Guidebook)
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