Over the next decade the Royal Australian Navy is facing a significant increase in the tonnage and complexity of its fleet coupled with a heightened strategic operating environment. These factors necessitated a change of approach to vessel sustainment to ensure that the future fleet is available when and where it is needed.
Under the previous approach to maritime vessel sustainment, there were different organisational and contracting arrangements for each capability, and often separate processes and procedures for planning and executing maintenance. Whilst this existing Naval support organisational framework was not considered ‘broken’, it was not going to be sufficient to cope with future demands.
These existing arrangements were limiting access to facilities, and high initial investment costs in the maritime sustainment industry and other issues had also created barriers to entry for Small to Medium Enterprises – at a time when the Commonwealth Government’s focus is on increasing resilience and self-reliance in the supply chain, and making it easier for local suppliers’ to bid for major contracts.
The first step was to identify the desired outcomes: working with the client to envision the future. By identifying the desired benefits first, the team was able to work backwards from these to design the organisational structure required to realise these benefits.
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The team focused on identifying opportunities to improve information flows within the organisation and accommodate existing organisational change programs.
As a first step to future-proofing ship maintenance, the focus was on creating business units that would support new technology and skill requirements – and structuring the request for tender packages to encourage innovative responses from a wider range of potential responders.
The team involved and informed stakeholders through a detailed and ongoing program of engagement – remaining flexible, balancing a range of competing and changing priorities and deadlines.
At an early stage the team developed (and sought key stakeholder endorsement for) a comprehensive Design and Build Plan. This plan outlined the design methodology and laid out the organisational development timeline. It proved invaluable during the design and implementation process, in keeping the entire process on track and educating new key client personnel as they posted in.
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From senior Navy personnel.
The benefits to be achieved from the new organisational design for Navy shipbuilding are identified in the Benefits Realisation Framework, which will measure the effects as the benefits are realised. The intent is that Navy will have greater capability to deliver and adapt to a new set of strategic challenges, get maximum utility from each of their assets and able to invest in Australia’s naval industry (and the economy in general). There should also be increased Value for Money in sustainment for the Commonwealth and improved opportunities for local industry, Navy and the Australian Public Service workforce.
Because Elysium has provided clear processes and procedures and education and training for personnel coming into the new approach, Defence will be able to continue to realise the benefits long after our team is gone.
As is the case with any large and complex project, the need to remain flexible was key. The importance of quality stakeholder engagement and communication was felt throughout the project, and personnel with these skills were embedded as part of the project team from the beginning.