TFD Group became a California Corporation in September, 1976 under the name The Assessment Group. Initially the group included the entire staff of the Systems Planning and Economics Division of Technology Service Corporation, a RAND spin-off devoted largely to radar design and related signal processing subjects. Located in Santa Monica(see picture on left), TAG, as it was called, carried out a series of research contracts for the U.S. Navy Bureau of Personnel, helping to develop a methodology capable of influencing the capital/labor ratio of new Navy acquisitions, ultimately leading to the development of what became the EDCAS model (Equipment Designer’s Cost Analysis System). A significant body of work was also published dealing with the true cost of manpower at a time when little was known on the subject since the US DoD had just entered the era of the all-volunteer force. Labor supply elasticity studies were also delivered with the objective of determining appropriate reenlistment bonuses.
By the early 1990’s, Systems Exchange had developed additional products – the System Design Utility (SDU), R1 (a reliability prediction package) and VMetric for spares optimization, in cooperation with Craig Sherbrooke, the VMetric engine’s author. We were also hard at work developing our ideas about a central, “common source,” database that would feed all the applications we developed and make a central analytical data hub into which any new application or data source could be plugged. This became the TFD Database. Around this time, a number of natural and man-made disasters occurred in Los Angeles – the Northridge earthquake, a huge fire in Malibu and the Rodney King riot – all contributing to a desire to leave Los Angeles behind. Thus, we moved the company to Pacific Grove to remain close to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, where Butler frequently gave lectures on logistics and cost analysis. As part of the move, we renamed the company TFD Group. A lecture delivered at Whitehall in 1995, ultimately led the RAF to purchase the database, called the TFDdB.
A phone call in 1996 led to a contract with Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans requiring TFD Group to fulfill the proposal requirements they faced for life cycle cost analysis on the LPD 17 proposal. The work necessitated consultation with all the competing vendors for these equipments, gathering and vetting data submissions and running the model. Thus, the first version of the MAAP model was built to carry the load. In 2000, TFD Group began working with airlines after a chance encounter with a group of supply people from Canadian Airlines. VMetric was adapted to the specific airline environment (route flying, maintenance-capable bases, frequent schedule and route changes, different measures of effectiveness) and verified utilizing several airlines’ data.
During the next several years, TFD Group built or added to a number of tailored decision support systems. The first of these was called JCAPS. The center piece of JCAPS (Joint Cost and Performance System) was MAAP, which provided the ability to trade-off cost and performance and the TFD Database, which formed the analytical core of the data repository. The JCAPS system led to award of JCAPS 2 in support of a similar contract for the B-2.During this effort, TFD Group developed the first version of Support Chain Optimization (SCO). Because of the constant turmoil in the inventory management system design and interfaces SCO depended on there, the general design and approach of SCO was improved upon before implementation on the Sentry aircraft support contract by AAR, and is presently being finalized for use on the Global Hawk program.
In 2006 TFD Group was awarded a contract by MTU to develop a model variant of MAAP called SIM. The idea of SIM was to provide detailed operational and maintenance planning to the EJ200 (Eurofighter) jet engine support program. Development of SIM took several years, but finally produced a cutting edge tool capable of more precise demand forecasting for all support resources than anything devised before. Today TFD Group continues to develop new products and expand its user base around the world. During four years of market exploration and preparation in Japan, a major partner there has been developed and become capable of delivering joint services and technical support to a wide variety of both public and private clients. New initiatives in Korea, Taiwan, China and Singapore are also bearing fruit and a new liaison with GAINSystems in the US and GAINS Research Australia promise to restore that market place and open new avenues of expansion in commercial markets.