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Implement Life Cycle Support Plan

Typically, life cycle support plans are used when the Postal Service purchases products, not services, and span the time from product conception to product retirement, with more than 80 percent of the total cost of ownership being in the postpurchase phases. The life cycle support plan is a component of the purchase plan, and is a dynamic document that guides the project throughout its entire duration and is revised as more detailed information becomes available.

The Purchase/SCM Team determines which products call for the development of a life cycle support plan in the Develop Life Cycle Support Plan topic of the Develop Sourcing Strategy task of Process Step 2: Evaluate Sources. It is essential to note that a life cycle support plan is not appropriate to all purchases, but should be developed for products of considerable nature, scope, and complexity (e.g., for high-value and very complex products). Whether such a product is purchased from a supplier or made by the Postal Service, during its life cycle development, quality, cost, schedule, and user requirements must be considered at all phases. The plan is continuously updated as more detailed information becomes available.

A life cycle support plan clarifies the project lifespan of the product. An effective implementation of a life cycle support plan:

Enables the Postal Service to reduce complexity, decrease life cycle costs, and allow for the focusing of all efforts toward providing best value to the Client

Is instrumental in the development of the statement of work (SOW) and, if applicable, the decision analysis report (DAR)

Assists the planning of future purchases

Life Cycle Management Team

A cross-functional team, comprising the Purchase/SCM Team and members of the areas appropriate to the product, implements the activities in the life cycle support plan. This Team is commonly referred to as the "Life Cycle Management Team." The Life Cycle Management Team comprises approximately 5-10 members and typically includes:

Market Analysts

Pricing Analysts

Item Managers

Individuals from Quality Assurance, Finance, Sales, Supply Management, and Engineering (whose functions include hardware/software design, configuration management, acceptance and performance testing, maintenance, and process development)

Degrees of management and responsibility for the plan will transfer to these different members, depending upon the phase of the process.

Production and Deployment

The Life Cycle Management Team creates an integrated, well-planned deployment of the product that can be economically and efficiently supported throughout its life cycle. During the Production and Deployment phase, the life cycle support plan is revised to reflect actual operational experience.

Detailed maintenance support plans are prepared during the production and deployment phase. As information becomes available from the testing and operation of the product, the life-cycle support plan is validated and revised to reflect the most effective operation and support. All members of the Team implementing the life cycle support plan participate in this effort to ensure an integrated approach to issue resolution.

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Operations (Use) and Support

The Life Cycle Management Team collects data on the asset's performance; improvements are suggested, made, and managed; and new operational data are collected. Operations continue while a decision is made to redeploy or dispose of the product. If the product is modified or overhauled, life cycle support planning reenters the planning cycle in the concept phase, and the plan is updated to include overhaul or modification schedules. If there are plans to retire or relocate the asset, the asset's life cycle enters the Relocation/Disposal Planning phase.

The life cycle support plan incorporates the information gained during the deployment of an asset or from a modification, specifically information relating to maintenance, reliability, parts provisioning, and training. These data and operational data are compiled and included in the finalized life-cycle support plan.


Disposal is the final phase of the life cycle and can pose significant economic and social risks to the Postal Service.

The Life Cycle Management Team will meet to develop a disposal plan that will be added to the life cycle plan. A method of disposal is chosen because assets, especially physical assets, can still offer value from resale, remarketing (selling back to the Supplier), or even donation to social organizations or international postal partners.

There are a number of ways for the Postal Service to dispose of assets, which are summarized in the Dispose topic of the Implement Investment Recovery Plan task of Process Step 6: End of Life.

Other Topics Considered

Develop Life Cycle Support Plan topic, Develop Sourcing Strategy task, Process Step 2: Evaluate Sources

Dispose topic, Investment Recovery task, Process Step 6: End of Life

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