Big Savings for Military Procurement Using "IKEA Model"

Hampton Roads, Virginia, July 22, 2017 -- US defense secretary Alberto Fulshrop said today that the military's adoption of the so-called "IKEA model" last year has resulted in military procurement savings close to the projected goal of 10%, or over $183 billion. Secretary Fulshrop hailed the program as a "sterling success, and a genuinely fun project for all the enthusiastic do-it-yourselfers in the services."

C17 Globemaster III awaiting assembly at Kirtland Air Force Base, New MexicoC17 Globemaster III awaiting assembly at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico

Based on logistics techniques developed by the successful Swedish furniture retailer, the "IKEA Model", first proposed for military use in October of last year by under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics Rollo Chamberlain, simplifies the production and distribution model for most military equipment by delivering military products such as helicopters, bullets, tanks and aircraft carriers in unassembled kit form packaged neatly in brown cardboard boxes made from recycled cardboard. Each package includes all required screws, nails and so forth, a small six-sided Allen wrench with which to assemble the military product, and easily understandable minimalist text-free schematic instructions.

"It's kept us busy, I'll grant you that," said Staff Sergeant McAllen McLain of the US Army's 4th Cavalry Regiment, "but it's a fun kind of busy, and it makes us feel proud to know we're reducing the burden on American taxpayers by doing the assembly ourselves. Plus, with the armed services composed more and more of non-English-speaking soldiers drafted from the ranks of desperate immigrants seeking citizenship, it's perfect to have all the instructions in picture form."

Since the commencement of the IKEA Model procurement program last year, major branches of the US military have received deliveries of over 286.7 million thin, rectangular brown boxes of various kinds of equipment from participating defense contractors. Overall equipment failure rates under the new program have fallen to an unprecedented 17.5% from their 2006 high of 48%, a trend welcomed by military personnel across all branches.

"It can sometimes take a while to decipher the schematics," Sgt. McLain said, "but once you're clear on the procedure, there's something very satisfying about assembling the equipment yourself. You know that all the screws are put where they're supposed to be put and tightened so they won't fall right back out if you start the engine like used to sometimes happen on our old Apaches."

Navy Ensign Bill Hornblower said he and a six-man squad had just completed assembly of the Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Rutherford B. Hayes and found the ship "easy to assemble" and "requiring no extra tools".

"It went like a dream," Ensign Hornblower said. "We started off about 18 weeks ago on the wharf at Hampton Roads with a mile-high stack of 22,000 little brown cardboard boxes. After we found the one that had the instructions in it, we got right to work, which went totally smoothly until our little Allen wrench snapped and we had to write to Northrop Grumman to get another one. Even with that three week delay, we still finished only a little behind schedule."

The IKEA Model program has simplified transport and logistics considerably, Secretary Fulshrop said, allowing for the vision of a "streamlined" military first articulated by the late Donald Rumsfeld to finally be approached.

"We're now able to genuinely describe ourselves as a rapid-action force," Secretary Fulshrop said. "By keeping most of our equipment unassembled in little cardboard boxes, we can stack them up and ship them out together with our troops in no time."

Secretary Fulshrop said his staff is currently developing a plan to draft a resolution to consider equipping all soldiers with individual Allen wrenches to help prevent potential delays in equipment assembly during active engagements in the event the included tools are missing or defective.

"We'd like to look into taking that step," Secretary Fulshrop said, "if the added expense can be proven not to derail our efficiency program."

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Military Correspondent

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