Can non-defence projects achieve more with ILS?

Are you benefitting from Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) for non-defence projects? Here’s how you can achieve more with the disciplines within it. 

It not only helps deliver cost-effective supportability engineering to the defence industry it makes a positive impact on other sectors too.

Well documented, well regarded and well-implemented, by experienced practitioners, ILS can make a huge difference to reducing through-life product costs, minimising risk and improving sustainability.

Following on from our white paper introducing ILS to non-defence sectors we look at how other sectors cover their supportability engineering bases and consider whether it’s enough.

The manufacturing and supportability gap

In many industries there is a significant gap between products designed with the manufacturing process the priority and in contrast, products designed with supportability engineering front of mind.

This is because supportability engineering is seldom a cost-effective investment for the manufacturer. Especially considering the issues it deals with tend to occur downstream in the product lifecycle – at someone else’s cost. For example, once a product is in use and requires either preventive maintenance. Or it needs to be fixed due to an unplanned failure. At this stage it can also be tough to track back to the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or component suppliers.

In fact, it’s often the maintenance team who bear the brunt of insufficient investment in supportability. They’re the ones in the hot seat when it comes to fixing parts that may be either inaccessible, unavailable, or simply too expensive. 

When there is a breakdown, it can be unclear where the failure is or how the product operates at all. Once something goes wrong it’s too late to realise there isn’t a maintenance manual available. Or the manual you have isn’t in a language you understand and doesn’t conform to recognised industry standards.

“It’s often the maintenance team who bear the brunt of insufficient investment in supportability. They’re the ones in the hot seat…”

For many manufactured products the cost of manufacture is the key driver at the design stage, rather than the costs of maintaining, supporting and extending the product’s life. 

However, while the cost may work for the manufacturer and the purchase price, insufficient supportability engineering could lead to high operational and disposal costs. This is problematic for whoever is responsible for managing the asset.

That’s without considering the sustainability aspect. Think about the damaging cost to the planet of accelerating the consumption of valuable resources by not investing in supportability engineering at the outset? 

Sustainable solutions require supportability planning. And, where possible they can benefit from exploring options to extend product lifespans and lessen the environmental impact of end-of-life disposal. 

The inherent value of supportability engineering

There is an inherent value in creating supportability engineered solutions. But, naturally the level of investment will depend on many other variables. 

Such as the value of the asset, its complexity, how it will be used, and the risks associated with its failure. Also, it will be affected by what guarantees the product designers or manufacturers may need to provide to the end-user.

Thankfully more and more people are caring about what they can do to create a more sustainable future. Even though, manufacturing costs are still king, engineers are doing much more to design for support and support the design. The trend is evident in the increased number of enquiries we’re receiving for ILS for non-defence projects.

“ILS uses engineering industry standards across multiple sectors and is ideal for organisations developing complex physical assets.”

Plus, there are an increasing number of businesses that need to meet standards for downstream reliability and maintenance management, as well as disposal, of engineered assets.

Hence, the growing popularity of following the guidance from the Institute of Asset Management (IAM). This international professional body for whole life management of physical assets has put a process in place to help businesses get the most value from their assets. With an increased appetite to gain IAM accreditation, it’s influence is growing.

While the ILS process stages are referred to as CADMID (Concept, Assessment, Demonstration, Manufacture, In-service, Disposal), the parallels between ILS and IAM are obvious. With many of the activities and analysis techniques either the same or very similar. In fact, practitioners can be described as being “separated by a common language”.

So, for those struggling to rise to the many challenges of Asset Management, there may be a well-defined, successful approach within the ILS discipline that could supplement your thinking and give you the ideal tools you need.

What applications benefit most from ILS

Considering ILS for non-defence projects? 

When it comes to commercial offerings the decision to invest will depend on the product margins, complexity, and associated risks. But, as well as defence, ILS offers proven supportability engineering benefits for:

Developing complex equipment in highly regulated environments, such as nuclear, maritime and aerospace.

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Integrated product engineering projects, which bring together different components into a reliable and maintainable solution.


SME’s looking to break into the growing defence market. Including businesses which need to deliver an ILS reliability study as part of their product design due diligence.

In summary

Integrated Logistic Support is a highly developed and proven supportability engineering methodology. It enables you to get your supportability engineering on track right from the concept stage through to end of life disposal, whatever sector you’re in.

Think of it from a whole life cost point of view and ILS pays dividends.

ILS uses engineering industry standards across multiple sectors. It’s ideal for organisations developing complex physical assets. It’s also great for integrated solutions and ones which present higher risks to the way society functions – such as disruption to power or water supplies.

ILS is mature and proven to cover all supportability engineering bases, so you can too!

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