Pratt & Whitney and the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) successfully completed their first shipment of a F135 fan module, which arrived at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on Feb. 17 from Eglin Air Force Base, near Valparaiso, Florida. The event marked the official beginning of a new transportation partnership on the F135 Program.
USTRANSCOM is a multi-service entity whose mission is to provide transportation resources for the Department of Defense. Pratt & Whitney used the Naval Supply Systems Command's Electronic Retrograde Management System (eRMS) to requisition and track the shipment. As a result, Pratt & Whitney will now be able to ship full F135 engines and modules within the country using USTRANSCOM-contracted carriers, delivering cost savings to the program.
"This shipment of spare parts to Tinker uses the DoD's primary mode of transportation and displays Pratt & Whitney's commitment to interoperability with the existing DoD infrastructure," said Ray Lindsay, senior director of F135 sustainment. "This is another step toward our commitment to provide the best product support and overall sustainment capabilities possible, both at home and abroad, to the F-35/F135 global enterprise."
Karen Masse, Business Development manager for Military Engines, agreed. "This initiative has been used by the Joint Program Office as an example of the behavior they expect from a product support integrator and builds confidence in our ability to execute that role," she said. "This couldn't have occurred without tremendous cooperation from Business Development, the F135 Program office, UTC and Pratt & Whitney Transportation, as well as exceptional support from USTRANSCOM and the U.S. Navy.
"Our customer asked us to look at using the infrastructure they had in place to ship F135 products," Masse said. "After an extensive business case review, Pratt & Whitney decided to make use of the government's transportation system, as it offered the F135 program good performance at a lower cost."
Because of the number of processes and parties involved, a process mapping event was held to determine entity responsibilities. There was significant testing of the system, which included a bill and pay "penny test" and plans to do a mock shipment. The decision was subsequently made to ship actual hardware.
"This effort will provide us with a sustainable mode of transportation with respect to visibility of the shipment, tracking and performance management," said Donte Lloyd, a fleet logistics specialist in the F135 Logistics Program Management's Supply Chain organization. "It also represents a significant cost-savings to the program. By using the government's transportation network, we have the opportunity to not only sustain the F135 program but grow it."
Lloyd said a big challenge was identifying and implementing the IT portion of the project to allow Pratt & Whitney employees the ability to directly interface with the USTRANSCOM Transportation Management system. "The partnership is a win-win for both organizations," he added. "Throughout the test process, we've seen first-class customer service."
"This new system will give us greater visibility to product tracking during the transportation process," said Katie Scott, a business analyst in the F135 Supply Chain organization. "We had some hurdles to overcome but, ultimately, have been successful because of the expertise we had on both the Pratt & Whitney and government sides, as well as tremendous engagement by the execution team. It was a great experience."