b. There are other reasons for the special handling of medical supplies. Among
them are the characteristics of medical commodities that frequently require specialized
and highly technical handling, shipping, and storage; special usage; and consumption
by a single user.
c. The medical supply system worldwide has a record of fulfilling the needs of its
customers by a percentage far above the average of all Army supply. It strives to
maintain better than a 95 percent fill ("customer satisfaction") of initial demands placed
on it in the time frame specified by the customer.
Before proceeding further, we must define the term logistics in order to enlarge
our communication base. Logistics is the science of planning and carrying out the
movement and maintenance of forces, specifically the materiel, personnel, facilities, and
services of those forces. During this instruction, our attention will be directed toward
materiel (supplies and equipment) and services, with the emphasis on supply.
THE MILITARY'S WHOLESALE-RETAIL SUPPLY CONCEPT
The military--much like its civilian counterparts--uses the terms "wholesale" and
"retail" for its two supply levels. Briefly, these two levels are described below.
a. Wholesale Level. At the wholesale level, bulk quantities of materiel used by
the military services are planned for and provided. The wholesaler's functions include
development, requirements, determination, procurement, distribution, maintenance, and
disposal. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and some of its subordinate elements
are the wholesalers--the middlemen between manufacturer and retailer.
b. Retail Level. The retailer places the specific demands for supplies and
equipment with the wholesaler, maintains accounts for, and distributes stock to the
users. Supply functions performed by the installation supply support activity and the
Installation Medical Supply Activity (IMSA) is at the retail level.
c. Users. Organizations, activities, units, and individuals are the users. The
users of Army medical materiel primarily are the Table of Organization and Equipment
(TOE) or the Table of Distribution and Allowances (TDA) medical organizations in the
United States (US) and the TOE medical facilities in a theater of operations (TO).
Included among all these organizations are the Medical Department Activity (MEDDAC),
and the US Army Community Hospital under its command, the Army Medical Center,
the MEDCEN Hospital, the Dental" Activity (DENTAC), and numerous TOE medical
d. Requests. The retailer (IMSA) fills supply requests received from the units
and organizations, which uses the supplies to accomplish a mission task (that is, treat
patients, operate a dental clinic, and so forth). Like a retail department store, the
installation activity maintains stock on the shelf for the various unit/organization needs,
and it issues the supplies and equipment upon request to the units/organizations.