Navair checks work on problem report

Imagine someone receiving a maintenance problem report but not dealing with it for nearly a year. Worse yet, what if a part needed to be checked, but was nowhere to be found?

The Navy faced those problems until it reformed its business processes and Web-enabled its applications. Those changes have slashed the time it takes to conduct investigations from 280 days to 98 days and reduced the engineering investigation report backlog by nearly 50 percent.

The system is so effective it received an e-government award this year from the Navy Department's Office of the Chief Information Officer.

The Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) conducted a business process re-engineering effort more than three years ago, said Cmdr. Michael Berens, deputy program manager for Navair's engineering investigation business process re-engineering office.

Navair officials wanted to understand how the organization spent its money, said Albert Morales, a partner with PwC Consulting, which conducted the re-engineering process. "They understand what they did but didn't understand what they did with that money," he said.

As a result, they instituted an "activity-based spending" plan, in which the organization tracked its money for six months and then allocated the money spent by programs. Navair officials were able to identify areas where the organization could save money and improve performance and efficiency, Morales said.

One of those areas was Navair's engineering investigation request process. Such requests are made whenever the fleet experiences an unexpected or unusual failure of aircraft components, airborne systems or support equipment. Navair receives more than 3,000 such requests each year.

Berens said the investigation process was re-engineered to create an efficient, effective reporting and tracking process. The new Web-based system has reduced the report backlog from 1,380 to fewer than 700.

The system uses a secure Web site that enables the fleet to send engineering investigation reports directly to the Navair engineer who is assigned technical responsibility for the failed item.

Critical engineering problems will be the top priority, Berens said. "If it falls into a safety category, it is a priority," he said.

The system also integrates with the Defense Message System so that message reports can go to everyone that needs them, even those who do not have access to the engineering investigation Web site as can happen with some ships at sea, Berens said.

Others are enrolled and registered on the Web site. The site is restricted to authorized users.

Tom Bryant, a computer software engineer at Resource Management Concepts Inc., said the Navy was working on the interfaces necessary to make it part of Task Force Web, the Navy's effort to move applications online.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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