Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR June 2015 Contents SEA 1000
Once again we must recognise the root cause
of this problem lies with Government. Government
and DMO were both architects and approvers of the
complex and unworkable AWD alliance management
And that brings us to the management of the
Future Submarine Program. A recent Freedom
of Information release published on the Defence
website shows that Government has a willingness
to prejudice successful SEA 1000 implementation.
Basically this is because the structure of project
office arrangements is extraordinarily complex. If
the AWD experience teaches us anything, it is the
necessity of avoiding needless complexity in project
Cause Three Poor Productivity
Poor productivity is an obvious contributor to
unnecessary cost. One might think the issue of
productivity would be one that we can easily sheet
home to Industry, but alas, an overarching cause of
productivity in naval shipbuilding can be associated
with the lack of continuity of work, which is directly
attributable to Government.
Like for any activity, shipbuilding productivity can
increase through consistent production and build
demand. The basic principle behind this is that it
allows the enterprise to build up and capitalise on
experience. Planning and management mistakes in
doing something a first time do not tend to manifest
themselves the second and third time around.
Activities or tasks carried out a second and third
and fourth time ... get carried out more efficiently
and with fewer errors than happens at first instance.
Whilst First Marine International put the productivity
numbers for HMAS Hobart at 149 man hours per
CGT, it went on to suggest that productivity numbers
for ship two and three will be 130 and 120 hours per
This is the basic premise behind the call to avoid a
‘valley of death’; something that the Government has
conceded will not be avoided for shipbuilding now.
With respect to submarines, the build wind down
occurred at the very start of that last decade. For
submarines, there is no valley, just a large hill lying
ahead. Some might argue that the Collins sustainment
workforce have a good grasp on submarines which
will ease the slope; there is some validity to this claim
but it’s certainly not a one to one correlation between
sustainment and build.
An important step to mitigate the cost-contributing
hole is to ensure that the build work is supported by
comprehensive build packages, a strong process
transfer package and a strong supervisory role by the
selected design partner. This is part and parcel to the
RAND published remedy of ensuring there exists a
well-integrated designer, builder and supplier team.
Cause Four Lack of visionary
RAND also asserted that there was a need to ensure
there is visionary leadership in the shipbuilding
company’s management. Finally, an Industry owned
cause? Unfortunately not; ASC is a 100% owned
Government Business Enterprise that was the target
of RAND Analysis. Once again, the root cause is
To be direct and perhaps harsh; ASC has a
disinterested shareholder Minister, a board constituted
of highly accomplished persons but unfortunately
devoid of any serious shipbuilding experience and
a management team that the government has just
announced it is ridding the company of.
These are the organisations that the punters
suggest will have large involvement in the future
submarine program. So, on the topic of future
submarines’ leadership visionary oversight, the
following exchanges in the Senate in February are
On the guidance ASC is receiving:
SENATOR XENOPHON: Further to Senator
Conroy's line of questioning, can you give details
on any directions that your shareholder minister
has given you in relation to the future submarine
MR WHILEY: We have received no directions from
our shareholder in relation to future submarine.
On internal planning:
SENATOR XENOPHON: Does that [ASC] five-year
plan allow for the future submarine project in its
MR WHILEY: I am not sure what its current form is,
but certainly it speculates on various aspects of the
future submarine and ASC's involvement.
On marketing hunger:
SENATOR EDWARDS: You are a company. You
operate independently of government. Your fortunes
are tied to your productivity and your profitability.
MR WHILEY: Yes.
SENATOR EDWARDS: Are you being
entrepreneurial in sitting back?
MT WHILEY: I do not think we are sitting back. The
debate is ongoing about the process. Only a little
bit of time has passed since the announcement was
made. We are waiting to be contacted.
Senator EDWARDS: Why aren't you kicking in the
door? I have been selling things a long time in my
life, and I would be rat-tat-tat on the door.
Once again we must recognise the
root cause of this problem lies with
22 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter JUNE 2015
28/05/2015 3:43 pm
Links Archive APDR May 2015 APDR July-August 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page