CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
October 19, 2018
Forward Thinking

Space agency seeks down-to-earth opportunities for supply chain software

NASA hopes the supplier risk management software it developed will soon make its way into the commercial sphere

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. government’s space agency, hopes the supplier risk management software it developed will soon make its way into the commercial sphere. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is looking for companies that want to license and further develop PrimeSupplier, software that forecasts economic influences on product and supplier viability throughout a product’s life cycle.

The application’s inventor, Mike Galluzzi, embarked on the software project after reviewing an interplanetary supply chain simulation developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He concluded that NASA would need a reliable, long-term supply base to support such an endeavor, but to make that feasible it would need a better way to evaluate the financial health and stability of its suppliers.

Galluzzi came up with PrimeSupplier, which analyzes which suppliers are most likely to fail by comparing a combination of financial information and procurement data about suppliers to industry benchmarks. The software also lets users examine the impact of program and purchase order changes on suppliers’ financial stability, and it identifies the suppliers with the highest and lowest risk of failure.

In a podcast interview, Galluzzi noted that the software he piloted lets the agency better understand the various factors that affect supplier stability. The software, he said, has already influenced procurement decisions at NASA. The space agency can now foresee a problem and place an order to keep a critical supplier solvent. For example, because PrimeSupplier looks at data across multiple projects, the agency was able to take corrective action when the software alerted managers that two suppliers serving multiple NASA programs were vulnerable to low profit margins.

“Without the ability to understand these multifunctional influences that affect the supply chain, we as managers will find it increasingly difficult to work as an informed collaborator with suppliers and contractors in development and sustainment of new system requirements,” Galluzzi said.

[Source: Primesupplier podcast]

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