By Benjamin Benson
NAVSUP Office of Corporate Communications
NAVSUP’s reform program to improve business processes and help increase lethality of the force has started with initiatives to improve data analytics and contracting.
“As our armed forces adapt to a fasterpaced, more complex, and increasingly competitive security environment, NAVSUP is reforming to meet the changing needs to ensure mission success,” said former NAVSUP Commander Rear Adm. Jonathan A. Yuen. “Driving our reform initiative is a desire to realign so we are closer to our customers, to help them get what they need quicker and with better effectiveness.”
To implement the reform, NAVSUP stood up a Project Management Office to coordinate enterprise actions, which are organized around a series of core and enabling efforts. Each element is led by one of NAVSUP’s senior leaders, with teams focused on implementing key aspects of the reform program. Two efforts, “Digital Accelerator” and “Responsive Contracting,” have started the reform process with significant initiatives.
“The digitization effort aims to better exploit the mountains of data NAVSUP collects every day to garner insights into the way its customers behave,” said NAVSUP Assistant Commander for Supply Chain Technology Kurt Wendelken, who is leading this effort. “The concept is to make more real-time data readily available to the user to enable better decision-making at every level.”
This effort serves as an enabler for the core reform initiatives by improving data analytics and new digital technology throughout programs and processes. As all business processes are enabled by information technology (IT) in some way, this effort injects IT as a part of the innovation process rather than an afterthought. The Digital Accelerator’s primary function will be to quickly develop and prototype concepts that are conceived as the business processes are being re-worked and re-imagined.
The Digital Accelerator team is developing a first prototype named ContractsPro. Finding that several contracting processes were problematic, slow and needed more oversight, ContractsPro is designed to address process problem areas, enabling these processes to be completed more quickly in a standardized, accurate manner.
After the team’s concepts are applied to enable the reform core efforts, they may be integrated across the NAVSUP Enterprise, rolling IT prototyping into broader innovation efforts.
Led by NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support (WSS) Director of Contracts Capt. Cody Hodges, “responsive contracting” is a core effort to increase the efficiency of the contracting process. “Our goal is to speed up contracting by attacking inefficiencies throughout the entire acquisition process, from the generation of the requirement through the award of the contract. Ultimately, we will make the processes easier for the customers and the contracting officers, which should result in getting parts to the warfighter faster,” said Hodges. “Increasing our contract responsiveness will benefit the entire supply chain, and better position our command to accomplish our mission.”
Focusing on both NAVSUP WSS’s aviation and maritime contracting, the team found gaps in requirements package generation, as well as areas throughout the acquisition workflow.
The weaknesses they identified often required lengthy back-and-forth clarifications, re-work, and ultimately long time delays impacting NAVSUP’s customers.
The team started the reform effort with extensive stakeholder interviews, followed by collaborative workshops identifying 62 potential solutions. They narrowed these down to 11 pilot solutions that the cross-functional pilot teams will further develop in the coming months.
One pilot project is developing an automated requirements generation checklist to ensure customer packages are easier to submit from the start. This team is comprehensively aligning roles and responsibilities for process ownership in requirements package generation that will help the customer and the contracting officer better understand what each other needs to do to execute a purchase request. Another pilot project involves realigning contracting teams to improve customer support.
“These efforts will lead to immediate contracting efficiencies at NAVSUP WSS, while also laying the foundation for Enterprisewide improvements,” said Hodges. “The streamlined acquisition processes we are developing will improve communication and reduce redundancy, rework and frustration across the acquisition workforce. These reforms will help NAVSUP improve customer satisfaction, and ultimately increase fleet readiness.”
Future Reform Efforts
While some of NAVSUP’s core and enabling reform efforts have already started, others will kick off in the next few months. The goal is for all efforts to be executed over the next 18 months. In the end, this initiative will evolve the NAVSUP operating model to adapt to the changing environment and remain always ready, resourceful, responsive!