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A Model to Study: Cannibalization, FMC, and Customer Waiting Time

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Final rept.

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The military services, the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Congress have all expressed concern about the shortages of spare parts for aviation units and about the workarounds, including the cannibalization of parts, that are required to achieve readiness goals. In this paper, we provide a theoretical framework that should help decision makers understand why cannibalizations occur what factors influence cannibalization rates and, given the interaction of those factors, how to predict cannibalization rates. Cannibalization has been defined as the extent to which units of the armed forces remove serviceable parts, supplies, or equipment from one vehicle, vessel, or aircraft in order to render a different vehicle, vessel or aircraft operational. Cannibalization is typically practiced when it is faster to remove a needed part from one aircraft and install it in another than to obtain that part from the supply system. Once the action is complete, the aircraft that received the part is rendered operational, and a new part is ordered to replace the one taken from the cannibalized aircraft. Cannibalization often has a negative connotation. It is generally viewed as an indication that something is wrong with the supply system. Some point to the fact that parts can be damaged during the process of cannibalization. Others say that cannibalization increases the workload of maintainers, and, if practiced too often, will reduce their morale.

Subject Categories:

  • Aircraft
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

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