What was the outcome in mind?

Improving the maintenance turnaround time of Australia’s warships.

Why was this project important?

Following Cyclone Yasi, a severe cyclone that impacted north Queensland in 2011, the Federal Government was looking to get some ships to the affected areas only to learn that much of the fleet were in maintenance and unavailable. This led to the Rizzo review.

We were proud to be associated with such an important initiative. This was an opportunity to make a real difference to the Commonwealth and National defence by increasing the time that Australia’s Navy ships are available for active service.

This was a fascinating project. We were dealing with these big expensive floating assets 150m long each weighing the equivalent of 15, 747 Jumbo Jets.

They pull these things up once a year into dry dock for maintenance but as work progresses hidden damage is uncovered. As a result, ships remained unavailable for active service 40% longer than predicted and cost 100% more to maintain than expected.

What were the complexities that needed to be addressed?

The Australian Navy and partner contractors are highly knowledgeable, highly skilled organisations who ‘know their stuff’, the issues revolved more around the ‘soft’ factors relating to culture and behaviours.

– The need to shift from ‘management by anecdote’ to ‘management by information’ as historically, knowledge and experience is valued over data and facts.

– The need to shift from ‘risk avoidance’ to ‘risk management’ so that decisions can be made effectively and judiciously.

– The need to shift from an ‘operational culture’ to a ‘project culture’ and introduce a sense of commitment and urgency.

What was the outcome?

We redefined the drivers of schedule predictability and aligned priorities, planning and behaviours across a 3000 person sustainment organisation to ensure that Ship Maintenance is delivered On-Time Every-Time. In a 3-year period, we delivered an 80% improvement in ship maintenance turnaround.