Defense Inventory:

Navy Spare Parts Quality Deficiency Reporting Program Needs Improvement

GAO-01-923: Published: Aug 8, 2001. Publicly Released: Aug 16, 2001.

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The Department of Defense (DOD) budgets billions of dollars each year to purchase and repair the spare parts needed to maintain its weapons systems and support equipment. The quality of the spare parts can greatly determine if the Department's investment of funds is effective, efficient, and economical. This report examines the Navy's Product Quality Deficiency Reporting Program and the extent to which the program has gathered the data needed for the analysis, correction, and prevention of deficiencies in spare parts. GAO found that data on parts defects identified at the time of installation were underreported. Data on parts that failed after some operation but before their expected design life were not collected as part of this program. In the quality reports GAO reviewed, some key information was omitted on the cause of the parts' failures and some reports did not identify who was responsible for the defects. To a large extent, the program's ineffectiveness can be attributed to lack of management, limited training and incentives to report deficiencies, and competing priorities for the staff resources needed to carry out the program.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense concurred with this recommendation. It stated that the Navy would initiate the recommended enhancements to the Navy Product Quality Deficiency Reporting Program. In addition, the Navy said it would provide a status update to the Office of the Secretary of Defense on accomplishments and remaining challenges. Discussions with NAVSEA officials in July 2005 and review of DAMIS report dated May 2005 reveal enhancements have been made to the PDREP program consistent with GAO's recommendation in the areas of training, levels of incentives, and automation support.

    Recommendation: Given the importance of high quality spare parts to safety, readiness, mission performance, and support costs, and the role that an effective Product Quality Deficiency Reporting Program can play in helping to ensure high quality, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to increase the program's levels of (1) training, describing what quality deficiencies to report, how to report them, and why it is important to the Navy, (2) incentives, including financial credits back to the reporting unit where appropriate to encourage participation, (3) automation support, to simplify and streamline reporting and analysis, and (4) management emphasis provided to the program, as necessary, to determine the causes, trends, and responsibilities for parts failures and achieve greater compliance with joint-service requirements, including reporting on parts that fail before the end of their design life.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense concurred with this recommendation. It stated that the Navy would initiate the recommended enhancements to the Navy Product Quality Deficiency Reporting Program no later than September 15, 2001. In addition, they said the Navy will provide a status update to the Office of the Secretary of Defense on accomplishments and remaining challenges no later than March 15, 2002. These dates were not met. In October 2005, GAO was informed that the Navy does not intend to implement this recommendation.

    Recommendation: Given the importance of high quality spare parts to safety, readiness, mission performance, and support costs, and the role that an effective Product Quality Deficiency Reporting Program can play in helping to ensure high quality, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to require program officials to measure and periodically report to the appropriate Defense and Navy managers the results of the program in such areas as actions taken to correct parts quality deficiencies, prevent recurrences, and obtain credits or reimbursements from suppliers for deficient products.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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