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In February 1991, the precommissioning unit of the USS George Washington (CVN-73) began an aggressive effort to implement Total Quality Leadership (TQL). Its success has been most gratifying and has demonstrated the promise that TQL offers in improving combat readiness and enhancing the quality of life of Navy people and their families.
Inspired by the Chief of Naval Operations’ August 1990 memorandum to flag officers on this subject; by the realization that the precommissioning environment
The George Washington (CVN-73) was the Navy’s first carrier to begin TQL implementation during precommissioning and subsequently take TQL to sea. Here, a full-time TQL assistant teaches an evening class at sea.
offered an ideal opportunity to establish a Total Quality culture; and by the hope that their experience would be of help to other Fleet units, the precommissioning unit set to work. Indoctrination training was held for the Executive Steering Council, which consisted of the captain, executive officer, all 18 department heads, and the command master chief. The indoctrination was conducted by the ship’s supply officer, who had received training and considerable experience in Total Quality in his previous tour at the Aviation Supply Office. A two-day contractor-hosted retreat also was conducted in the early months to reinforce the training of the Council and to write the ship’s mission and guiding principles.
An implementation plan was developed that promulgated the mission and
guiding principles, laid out the ship' Total Quality organization, delineated tit training program and specified critefi for the initial implementation of TQ in each department. The George Wast ington’s TQL organization is large' consistent with the Navy Personnel Re search and Development Center’s procet improvement model. It is led by the E> ecutive Steering Council, and process if' provement projects are conducted b quality management boards (QMB> chartered by the Council. The QMBs' turn may form process action teams conduct research and brainstorm specif'1 aspects of the process under review. Id£ groups also are used at all levels to idd1 tify problems and opportunities fc process improvement.
Two significant modifications ha';
been ganiz the i Quali in eai visio Coun stand
the c leade funct Steer consi vide; Plerm Ptoje large] conta Rt
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sion "'as C>en Enu, eXc6 Avi; beer erai , F Eon
ship ited tli criteri if TQ Wash ar, lel R( proce* he E> ess in' ted K JMBi dBs i ams i pecift v. Id* a idef es f°
er oversight of the many QMBs that
e been and will be formed and to in-
ajf'ficant boost to the ship’s training
A advanced courses off the ship.
‘"8 unit of the George Washington 'em es'8nated as an Atlantic Fleet TQL tinu Visitation Unit. This afforded con-
ex,, it 3n^ more frecluent access to the Avj6 -ent services of the Atlantic Fleet atl°n TQL Training Team, which had
Figure 1: TQL Organization
Executive Steering Council (ESC)
Quality Improvement Council
Strategic Quality Management Board
1 Quality Improvement Council
Quality Management Board
I Process Action Teams
Figure 2: Improvement Projects
Figure 3: Strategic Goals
>• Internal TAD >■ In-port Watchstanding
► Shipboard Quality of Life >• Family Quality of Life
► GWIS Implementation
► Information Systems Management
► Damage Control Readiness
► Command Safety Program
► Surface Operations
► Internal Communications >• Zone Inspections
► Upgrade Material Readiness and Equipment Capability
► Enhance Professional Knowledge and Skills of Crew
> Improve Operating Doctrine, Operational Planning, and Coordination Control
V Prevent Mishaps On and Off the Ship
> Enhance Crew & Family Support
► Improve Information Management & Internal Communications
> Enhance TQL Environment
been made to the Navy’s organization model. The first is the addition of a standing Quality Improvement Council ln each department and a Di- Vlsi°n Quality Improvement Council in each division. These standing bodies—made up of jhe department or division eadership—are analogous in unction to the Executive teering Council. They were c°nsidered necessary to pro- vjde adequate oversight of implementation and improvement Projects, particularly in the arger departments, which on a carrier can c°ntain up to 700 people.
Recently the concept of a Strategic VMB (SQMB) was developed to provide
V°'Ve more middle managers. An SQMB p°usisting of one or two members of the xecutive Steering Council and other ex- fenced personnel—such as principal ssistants and master or senior chief petty icers—was established to oversee the eployment of each strategic goal. Best °ught of as subcommittees of the Ex- Cutive Steering Council, the SQMBs u °st hkely will meet weekly or biweekly (ivUer this organization, and the Execu- e Steering Council will meet monthly. (See. Figure 1.)
^ ince few Navy TQL training courses ^ere available in 1991, initial training on °ard the carrier primarily was a boot- „uaP effort, using personnel with previ- . s Total Quality experience progres- tal 6 ^ suPPlemented by home-grown firetlt- Within six months, virtually all chss petty officers and above had ^^Pleted the four-hour senior TQL aw 3reness course, a two-hour junior of meneSS course was being taught as part cre6 sh'P’s indoctrination for reporting members, and several personnel had 'he irnP*ernentabon °f TQL occurred in si0 ,a^ °f 1991, when the precommis-
'vas'H eraj ^SS'^t'n® ship informally for sev-
ti0nrorn the beginning, the implementa- by Pr°8ram was guided and motivated Piet 6 'Xecutive Steering Council, which tial WCekly f°r an hour and a half. Ini- lhat w'*3r0Vernerlt Projects were chosen °uld help to resolve organizational issues and benefit the ship’s preparations for move-aboard, commissioning, and initial underway operations, as well as provide experience with the techniques and tools of Total Quality. Figure 2 shows the principal cross-departmental improvement projects (each guided by a QMB) that had been undertaken on board the George Washington as of January 1993. Many other intradepartment projects also were undertaken.
Since June 1992, the Executive Steering Council has been developing a strategic plan for the ship. This process began with the drafting of a vision statement, followed by identification of the ship’s
strategic goals and development of the supporting strategies for each goal. The George Washington’s strategic goals are shown in Figure 3. The next step will be to develop tactical plans to implement the strategies. These plans will be developed by the departments or by dedicated QMBs. Though lengthy, the strategic planning process provides a systematic means to orchestrate continual improvement throughout the ship.
The principal lessons learned are summarized in the following paragraphs:
► Clarify the relationship of the TQL organization to the chain of command. All hands must understand that the Total Quality organization serves in a supporting, consensus-building capacity. It must not weaken the responsibility, authority, or accountability of the traditional structure. The Total Quality teams support the chain of command by researching and brainstorming process improvements. The line manager who “owns” the process often leads the team in developing recommendations to improve the process. Normally, a consensus will emerge easily, but, in the rare case when the line manager cannot accept the team’s proposals, he has the right to take the matter to the Executive Steering Council. In any case, the line manager is responsible and accountable to the traditional chain of command for implementing the improvements, with the appropriate QMB continuing to serve as needed in an advisory capacity.
>■ Provide each QMB with a well-defined charter, refresher training, a quality advisor, and process improvement guidebooks. Our QMBs would have been more effective had we been able to provide these essentials from the beginning.
► Get the chief petty officer mess on board early. The involvement of the chief petty officers is crucial to the success of any shipwide endeavor, including the implementation of TQL. This effort is doubly important because the chief petty officer mess understandably contains some of the strongest skeptics of the Total Quality program.
► Select and train on an effective methodology prior to commencing strategic planning. There is a need for an explicit, logical, and consistent methodology for developing supporting strategies from higher order goals.
>■ Publicize the philosophy, improvement projects, and successes to the crew. A systematic advertising campaign through
Figure 4: TQL Precepts
1. Ensure mission and customer focus. All hands must understand the mission and product of their work center, how it contributes to the ship's mission, and who the customers of their work center are. They should understand that the customer defines quality, and that satisfying its customers is the work center’s main responsibility.
2. Continually improve work processes through the systems approach, scientific management tools, and fact-based decision making.
3. Promote open communication up and down the chain of command by driving fear out of the work centers and encouraging improvement suggestions.
4. Promote teamwork throughout the command by breaking down barriers between departments and divisions and encouraging mutual respect, assistance, and effective lateral communication.
5. Conduct strategic planning to focus improvement efforts on those processes most critical to the command's mission and to involve all departments and divisions in a systematic, organized effort to improve performance continually.
6. Institutionalize all significant work processes in a “Living SOP” that standardizes operating procedures but is continually improved by operator inputs.
7. Foster pride of workmanship by giving workers the training, tools, supervision, and other help they need to do a quality job, and by giving appropriate recognition for quality work.
8. Invest generously in the training and education of crewmembers.
9. Create constancy of purpose to improve mission readiness and performance.
10. Be responsible for quality and therefore be thoroughly and visibly involved in quality improvement efforts. This responsibility cannot be delegated.
Washington, and the ship’s expert^ demonstrates that this philosophy much to contribute to the Navy- George Washington’s experience can
stay the course, the TQL philosophy timately will revolutionize our cultufl
shipboard TV, the ship’s newspaper, the 1MC announcements, TQL storyboards, bulletin boards, and other media can be very helpful in creating a Total Quality culture on the ship.
> Don’t skimp on indoctrination training. In retrospect, the four-hour introductory course for seniors and two-hour course for juniors probably were not long enough. The present Navy eight-hour awareness course seems about right.
> Don’t rely solely on volunteers to man improvement teams. Team leaders should actively recruit individuals who are needed on the team, with the concurrence of the individuals’ supervisors. Everyone is responsible for improving the command’s processes, so there is no need to rely solely on volunteers. Most people will contribute cheerfully and effectively if they are approached in the proper way and given appropriate training.
>■ Establish a clear policy on attendance at process improvement team meetings and TQL training sessions. Total Quality work should take precedence over all other work except emergencies and urgent operational tasks. When practical, minimize conflicts by designating separate periods in the daily schedule for interdepartmental activities (including QMBs and process action teams) and for department work.
> Ensure that the TQL philosophy, particularly its focus on processes, is not used to shield poor performance by individuals. Personal responsibility and accountability are in no way weakened by the philosophy. On the contrary, Total Quality depends on motivated, responsible individuals for its success.
>■ Ensure the crew understands when the TQL method of decisionmaking—thorough analysis, participation by all concerned, and consensus-building—is not appropriate. During fast-paced operations, in a crisis situation when immediate action is required, and in minor routine matters, the traditional authoritative form of decisionmaking is more appropriate. On board the George Washington the vast majority of crewmembers understood this distinction instinctively, and the TQL philosophy did not lead to a weakening of chain of command authority. Furthermore, TQL can contribute positively to operational performance and crisis response by improving training and procedures and by building trust and confidence.
► Clarify the precepts. To ensure the success of TQL in the Navy, we need a clear statement of the philosophy, including a set of precepts more applicable to the Fleet than Deming’s 14 points. The list in Figure 4 is a starting point.
Now that TQL has been in place on board the George Washington for two years, it is possible to assess it impact on the ship’s performance and culture. By any measure, the ship has performed extremely well in her initial operation; including a record-setting performanf during shakedown air operations. She L won two consecutive Golden Anchor' has maintained a fatality-free safe1' record for three years, and has provide1 crew services recognized to be of e> ceptional quality. Most important, tl> ship’s principal customer, Carrier A1 Wing Seven, was delighted with the suf port it received and the excellent trai11 ing it was able to accomplish durin: shakedown.
Perhaps not all of the ship’s above-a' erage performance can be attributed & tirely to TQL, but I am convinced that played a significant role in the ship’s of erational success and that it has had major impact on the ship’s culture. The5 gratifying results were achieved in a <e atively short period with limited outsit help. More and better training and prof eration of improvement projects throuf the strategic plan can be expected to yie1 more dramatic results in the future.
The biggest challenge in implem^ ing TQL has been finding the time1 conduct TQL training and to work on implementation issues and improvemel1 projects when the ship’s operating ten# is high. Navy leaders cannot neglect tW1 operational and planning responsibility for long-term improvement activities,1,1 matter how valuable. Therefore, a N ance must be struck among these th# areas. The exact balance will vary 'vl; the ship’s operational tempo: when i*1 low, more time should be devoted 11 planning and to TQL. Even the nsjl term commitments and problems shou‘ be addressed using the precepts of TU' Resistance to change, especially am011; veteran middle managers, is also a lenge, but this is not as big a problem * some believe. Many chiefs and first petty officers became quick converts- ^ most cases, resistance to change is eas1 overcome through training, counsel'"5 and demonstrated successes. Those " are not willing to change should be sh" fled off to billets where they can do 1 least damage—and evaluated according In conclusion, TQL has been a ‘
sounding success on board the Ge°^
■ # It* T# /
is being replicated on other ships, Hv'
Rear Admiral Nutwell currently is Deputy for Plans and Policy, Headquarters U.S. Eu jjji Command. He was the commissioning cornu1-#-,; officer for the USS George Washington (CVN"