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Foreword
Introduction
Necessity
Interoperability
Logistics Operations
NCS / NSN
Advantages
Products & Services
Organisation
Non-NATO Nations
Future
Conclusion

 

CODIFICATION, THE BASIS FOR MODERN LOGISTICS OPERATIONS

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Logistics operations can be classified into five main areas:

bulletDevelopment of a Support Solution;
bulletAcquisition of Materiel: Initial purchase and reprovisioning;
bulletManagement of Resources; Warehousing; Distribution and Redistribution of materiel;
bulletMaintenance (Repair or Overhaul);
bulletDisposal.

In an Alliance such as NATO, the concept of interoperability is of prime importance and should be vigoriously applied in each and every one of these areas.

CODIFICATION WITH REGARD TO ACQUISITION OF MATERIEL

Procurement of materiel is realised following a detailed assessment of the requirement. The Codification System answers questions raised by purchasers:

bulletWho manufactures the required item?
bulletDoes the item proposed by the manufacturer meet the requirement?
bulletAre there restrictions on purchasing activities?
bulletIs the item already in use nationally or in another NATO nation?

The system then provides:

bulleta list of manufacturers likely to provide the required item;
bulleta detailed description of the item, covering all of its related : physical, qualitative and/or performance characteristics. Descriptions must be comparable, irrespective of their source of supply, and must therefore be based on a universal language;
bulletaccess to information on unit prices and procurement conditions to promote competitiveness between manufacturers.
CODIFICATION WITH REGARD TO MANAGEMENT OF RESOURCES

NATO Logistics organizations:

bulletmanage their materiel by type and application, notwithstanding the origin of the items;
bulletwarehouse items under appropriate conditions to ensure their operational readiness;
bulletdeliver the required materiel to the specific customer on time and using the most appropriate mode of transportation;
bulletdistribute and redistribute the equipment according to specific requirement and the resources available among the various users.

The system therefore:

bulletidentifies items of supply satisfying the same requirement by a unique number, regardless of the referencing system used by the manufacturer;
bulletspecifies packaging requirements, warehousing conditions and expected shelf-life;
bulletindicates the users of a specific item and / or specifies transportation information required for delivery of the materiel.
bulletinforms the logistics managers on all the resources available among the users.
CODIFICATION WITH REGARD TO MAINTENANCE

Personnel responsible for maintaining equipment will need answers to the following questions:

bulletwhat spare parts are required to be purchased and where should they be delivered?
bulletwhat are the maintenance capabilities given the resources available on site?
bulletare the spares needed available somewhere in the national and/or NATO wide system

The codification system presents:

bulletrelationships which exists between all parts of a system and its components or sub-assemblies;
bulletlist of national and international registered users;
bulletpossible Interchangeability between items in order to maximise the use of available resources.
CODIFICATION WITH REGARD TO DISPOSAL

Disposal of an item of supply can be related to its usefulness (obsolescence, replacement of the main equipment,..) or its condition ( non repairable). If it becomes necessary to dispose of unusable equipment to reduce warehousing costs, it is important to:

bulleteliminate only those items which cannot be reused by another user;
bulletsalvage components or substances which can generate savings through recycling; 
bulletguarantee the protection of the environment during disposal actions.

To this extent, the codification system contains data that:

bulletidentifies potential users for surplus equipment;
bulletlists the nature of components and constituent elements of a given item, as well as its recoverability criteria;
bulletindicates the disposal procedures for hazardous or polluting materiels or substances.
CODIFICATION WITH REGARD TO INTEROPERABILITY

For over 45 years, NATO Codification has been utilised by the military forces of NATO to promote 'national' and 'international' inter-operability. 

The NCS is an integral part of supply operations throughout the world. It furnishes accurate information to all participating nations on the characteristics of millions of items. It simplifies the resolution of supply data management problems by providing quick responses from a single, up-to-date source. The NCS offers many significant advantages to NATO and non-NATO nations, as well as to private sector participants outside the defence community.

CODIFICATION WITH REGARD TO NATO AND COMMERCIAL STANDARDS

Military Logistics doctrines and practices are increasingly based on commercial disciplines and standards. The Group of NATO National Directors on Codification has kept pace with, and has often been at the leading edge of, this evolution continually enhancing the NCS, so that it can truly be referred to as the key to modern Logistics. 

The NATO Codification System is based on two principal Standard NATO Agreements (STANAGs). These are STANAG 3150, Uniform System of Supply Classification, and STANAG 3151, Uniform System of Item Identification. 

The way the NCS records information about "Commercial and Government Entities" has been accepted by the International Standards Organisation. The NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE)* system has been assigned International Code Designator (ICD) 0141 under ISO 6523 - Structure for the Identification of Organisations and Organisation Parts.
*also known in the USA as CAGE

The NCS is cognisant of and has been enhanced to align very closely with other ISO standards. AC/135 has also made progress in linking the NCS with the overall concept of STEP technology, ISO Standard 10303. The NCS has also been recognised as a specific function within the NATO Life Cycle Management concept and been added to the Life Cycle Data Model. The NATO Life Cycle Management concept is almost entirely based on ISO 15288, Life Cycle Management - System Life Cycle Processes.

Furthermore, the Electronic Commerce Code Management Association (ECCMA) has developed a commercial version of the NCS called the ECCMA Open Technology Dictionary (eOTD). See www.eccma.org for details about eOTD. ISO has recognized eOTD as a draft standard and assigned it ISO Standard 22745. AC/135 and ECCMA have formalized their cooperation in a Memorandum of Agreement. ISO Standard 22745 includes the concept of tagging characteristics data compatible with eOTD in STEP design files.

The NCS can also recognise part numbers provided by manufacturers and vendors in bar code format. A linkage between the NCS and the EAN International scheme has been developed. This is broadening the aspect of Logistics operations by adding further data to the NCS. Military Logistics applications can now perform a cross-reference operation within the NCS domain, and provide a "dual" recognition of certain items of supply in NSN and EAN format. This is an enhancement to facilitate dialogue between military Logisticians and commercial manufacturers and suppliers.

Finally, the NCS has been linked to the United Nations Common Coding System (UNCCS). This simple linkage will allow NATO Logisticians to better communicate with UN authorities for materiel management Proposes.

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The Codification System must be able to respond to the requirements of Logisticians in these areas of Global Logistics Operations

 
 

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