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CHIPS Articles: PEO C4I’s Process Improvement Program Pays Big Dividends

PEO C4I’s Process Improvement Program Pays Big Dividends
By Suzanne Arney, Deputy Program Executive Officer Plans and Strategy, PEO C4I - April-June 2015
Acquisition commands face constant challenges to prioritize program affordability, increase productivity and reduce cost. Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I) is a leader in such resource-optimization efforts as it continues to save millions of dollars and hundreds of man-hours by enhancing acquisition programs through its active continual process improvement (CPI) program.

PEO C4I has sustained a strategically aligned CPI program for nearly 10 years, steadily showing significant benefits. The program has achieved results ranging from innovative business process reengineering to improved C4I systems acquisition practices and processes.

“CPI is viewed as a valuable toolset used to identify, analyze and document process improvement opportunities and is part of the way we do business here in PEO C4I,” said Executive Director of PEO C4I, Ruth Youngs Lew.

Two recent CPI initiatives illustrate the benefits of PEO C4I’s emphasis on process improvement in Navy acquisition.

Information Technology Purchase Request Process Improvement

PEO C4I used Lean Six Sigma (LSS)—a methodology that employs team collaboration to improve efficiency—to analyze and build a compelling business case to dramatically streamline the way the Navy procures information technology.

PEO C4I’s Deputy Program Executive Officer for Acquisition John Metzger explained that, “PEO C4I’s CPI team looked at the ITPR [Information Technology Purchase Request] process from the ‘customer perspective’ and measured the overhead cost of developing complex ITPRs. The ITPR team provided a comprehensive analysis of the thousands of ITPRs they develop every year and authored three comprehensive courses of action for consideration by the Department of the Navy leadership.”

Scott Gegenworth, PEO C4I’s CPI director stated, “[the] CPI analysis provided the facts and data necessary to influence change in our complex business processes and is in alignment with the Navy’s Better Buying Power initiative. This LSS effort inspired the formation of the Department of the Navy’s ITPR working group chartered to reduce administrivia with the ITPR process across the Navy.”

The working group is expected to release its recommendations in late April 2015.

Global Broadcast Service Antenna Reduction

Another CPI effort aligned with the Navy’s Better Buying Power initiative is the PEO C4I Global Broadcast Service (GBS) Antenna Reduction Initiative. Antennas are the most expensive component of shipboard satellite communications systems, which includes GBS. Using the Navy Multiband Terminal (NMT) antenna to receive the GBS satellite broadcast, PEO C4I’s Communications and Global Positioning System Navigation Program Office (PMW/A 170) can forgo procurement of additional GBS-specific antennas for future installations on guided missile cruisers (CGs) and guided missile destroyers (DDGs).

Additionally, the need to replace aging, existing antennas on current GBS ships is eliminated by leveraging NMT antennas when fielded to those vessels. Within PEO C4I, PMW/A 170 is responsible for the development, integration and fielding of shipboard and submarine GBS and NMT antennas and receive suites.

The GBS Antenna Reduction Initiative will eliminate the need to procure and install a dedicated GBS antenna and the associated antenna controller unit. Each GBS antenna system had an estimated cost of $1 million. Leveraging the use of the NMT antenna for 58 DDG or CG platforms (both for completed and funded future procurements) generates a procurement cost savings of $59 million.

Utilization of the NMT antenna has also reduced the GBS installation costs from $585,000 to $144,850, which generates an installation cost savings of $25.5 million. The combined $84.5 million savings enabled program personnel to increase from installing 16 full GBS systems on CG and DDG platforms to installing full GBS systems on 42 platforms. At the same time, the resource sponsor was able to support an additional 16 platforms at the reduced cost for the NMT ($23.2 million less), resulting in the GBS capability being implemented for a total number of 58 platforms.

Beyond the cost savings are the mission benefits for operational platforms. The removal of the traditional GBS antenna reduces weight and increases shipboard topside area. Other operational benefits include fewer antenna blockage issues and reduced electromagnetic interference.

Navy Capt. Mark Glover, PMW/A 170 program manager, stated, “The NMT and GBS teams recognized that a small design change to the NMT antennas during the development process could lead to future cost savings. This total ownership cost focus is indicative of the efforts by PMW/A 170 employees implementing C4I capabilities for the warfighter.”

PEO C4I acquires, fields and supports C4I systems that extend across Navy, joint and coalition platforms. This includes managing acquisition programs and projects that cover all C4I disciplines: applications, networks, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems for afloat platforms and shore commands. For more information, please visit: http://www.public.navy.mil/spawar/PEOC4I/Pages/default.aspx.

A U.S. Navy lieutenant junior grade officer operates the Global Broadcast Service system onboard a ship.
A U.S. Navy lieutenant junior grade officer operates the Global Broadcast Service system onboard a ship.

This picture shows the new Navy Multiband Terminal antenna that replaced the Global Broadcast Service antenna resulting in significant cost savings for the Navy.
This picture shows the new Navy Multiband Terminal antenna that replaced the Global Broadcast Service antenna resulting in significant cost savings for the Navy.

The old Global Broadcast Service antenna.
The old Global Broadcast Service antenna.
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