|NS Maintenance - Value for Money Review|
The Naval Service provides the maritime element of the State’s Defence Forces. The Naval Service has an authorised strength of 1,144 and operates a flotilla of eight ships that are based in the State’s single Naval Base at Haulbowline in Co. Cork.
This Review examines all of the vessel maintenance activities required for vessels to achieve operational readiness and deployment targets, including maintenance of hulls, weapons, electrics, electronics and machinery. The Review encompasses the period 2003 – 2006 inclusive.
Each of the terms of reference is now taken in turn and the key findings outlined:
TOR 1. Identify Naval Service vessel maintenance objectives.
TOR 2. Examine the current validity of those objectives and their compatibility with the overall strategy.
The objective of Naval Service vessel maintenance is:
“to preserve Naval Service vessels in a determined state or condition Relates to the standard of vessel maintenance the Naval Service set which is informed by the standards set down by International Convention for the Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) and prevention of Marine Pollution (MARPOL) that are appropriate to the Naval Service. , or to restore Naval Service vessels to a determined state or condition, in order to meet operational readiness and deployment targets.”
The Steering Committee found that the objectives of Naval Service vessel maintenance are clearly specified, remain valid and are directly linked to overall strategic goals.
TOR 3. Define the outputs associated with Naval Service vessel maintenance activity and identify the level and trend of those outputs.
The Steering Committee found that although quantifiable in a broad sense, detailed information relating to the outputs of military and civilian personnel in each of the Units involved in maintenance was unavailable. This lead to specific difficulties in assessing the efficiency of personnel involved in conducting maintenance tasks. The Steering Committee found that the recording of staff time spent on specific maintenance tasks was not in operation for military personnel. Although a job-card system was in operation for civilian maintenance personnel working in the Dockyard in practice multiple jobs were frequently aggregated into a single job number, which prevented the benchmarking of specific maintenance tasks with standard times utilised for such tasks by comparative organisations or equipment manufacturers.
The Steering Committee noted that the Naval Service are currently addressing these issues through refining the usage of job cards and the introduction of the Enterprise Assets Management (EAM) module of the Management Information Framework (MIF). Whilst the refined usage of job-cards will yield immediate results, the introduction of EAM is currently being piloted and although it is anticipated that EAM will address the issues outlined above, this will not be confirmed until the pilot project is evaluated.
TOR 4. Examine the extent that Naval Service vessel maintenance objectives have been achieved, and comment on effectiveness.
The Steering Committee found that maintenance outputs are meeting the objectives of Naval Service vessel maintenance. This was confirmed by the fact that operational readiness and deployment targets are being achieved to a high level and a low incidence of unscheduled maintenance resulting in lost patrol days.
The Steering Committee agreed that the current maintenance management structures in the Naval Service provide a sound basis for effective maintenance management. Implementation of the recommendations requiring improvements to management information is critical to improving the performance management of the maintenance function.
The Steering Committee agreed that co-ordination at a higher level of all available maintenance resources coupled with improved performance measurement data will significantly improve the effectiveness of maintenance management in the Naval Service. The Steering Committee recommends the re-configuration of the current system into a dedicated maintenance management team (MMT), with responsibility for the centralised co-ordination of maintenance execution.
TOR 5. Identify the level and trend of costs and staffing resources associated with Naval Service vessel maintenance and thus comment on the efficiency with which it has achieved its objectives.
Each of the units involved in undertaking activities that contribute to Naval Service vessel maintenance were identified and costed. These costs include personnel pay costs, inventory costs, infrastructure costs and the cost of contracted maintenance.
The Steering Committee found that the staffing levels remained relatively constant over the Review period. Costs for 2006 are outlined below:
| - Military (FSG)|
| - Civilian|
| - Military|
| - Civilian|
|Equipment, Contracted Maintenance & Inventory|
|WEU Equipment installed|
As previously outlined, the Steering Committee found that detailed information relating to the outputs of military and civilian personnel in each of the Units involved in maintenance was unavailable. This lead to specific difficulties in assessing the efficiency of personnel involved in conducting maintenance tasks
The Steering Committee recommends that the capture of staff time on maintenance activities and the introduction of standard times for all maintenance tasks be introduced for all maintenance personnel involved in vessel maintenance in the Naval Service both military and civilian. This will facilitate better performance management of personnel resources. In the interim period whilst EAM is being piloted, job cards should be introduced for military personnel.
The Steering Committee found that data that isolated inputs such as inventory or contracted services, on a ship-by-ship basis, was difficult to access. The Steering Committee noted that assigning costs to the relevant cost centre would significantly improve the accessibility of maintenance costs on a ship-by-ship basis. The Steering Committee noted that this issue is currently being addressed in the context of the implementation of Phase II of the MIF.
The Steering Committee found that military maintenance personnel in both FSG and WEU Unit were also tasked with performing sea relief duties and other military tasks. The Steering Committee accepts that such requirements are unavoidable but recommends that the Naval Service critically review the management of such taskings with a view to improving planning certainty for the availability of maintenance personnel when scheduling major maintenance activities.
In light of the unavailability of performance information to assess efficiency, the Steering Committee recommends that an ongoing review of Naval Service vessel maintenance be conducted as implementation of review recommendations occurs and such information becomes available.
TOR 6. Evaluate the degree to which the objectives warrant the allocation of public funding on a current and ongoing basis and examine the scope for alternative policy or organisational approaches to achieving these objectives in a more efficient and / or effective basis (e.g. through international comparison).
As outlined above, the objectives of Naval Service Vessel Maintenance are clearly specified, remain valid and are directly linked to Strategic Goals. The Review examined practices in the US Coastguard and Arklow Shipping and recommendations arising from this examination have been outlined above. The Steering Committee recommends that the Naval Service should continue to investigate, identify and implement the most cost effective and efficient means of vessel maintenance available including contracting out of maintenance tasks where appropriate.
TOR 7. Specify potential future performance indicators that might be used to better monitor the performance of Naval Service vessel maintenance.
Appropriate performance indicators that complement the Naval Service’s Balanced Scorecard system were identified and agreed with the Naval Service.
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