Organizational Culture:

Use of Training to Help Change DOD Inventory Management Culture

NSIAD-94-193: Published: Aug 30, 1994. Publicly Released: Aug 30, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the inventory management and total quality management (TQM) training that the Department of Defense (DOD) provides to its civilian and military personnel, focusing on: (1) DOD plans to use training to change its inventory management culture; (2) the extent to which training courses encourage or reflect cultural change; and (3) the amount of training inventory management personnel receive to effect cultural change.

GAO found that: (1) because of budget constraints, DOD has to decrease the size and cost of its inventories and change its inventory management culture; (2) DOD needs to ensure that its top management is committed to and supports desired inventory values and beliefs and that employee training conveys those desired values and beliefs and the means to implement them; (3) although DOD recognizes training as a key tool to changing its inventory management culture, it has not yet developed plans for and guidance on effective training, its training courses lack the necessary content and emphasis to foster a new inventory management culture, and most inventory management personnel are not receiving the training needed to effect cultural change; (4) training courses still emphasize the traditional values of economy and efficiency rather than modern logistics practices and TQM; (5) DOD does not require most of its inventory management personnel to have TQM training; and (6) the availability of inventory management and TQM training varies widely among DOD activities.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (OUSD) (Acquisition and Technology) budgeted $100,000 for the Naval Postgraduate School to develop training plans and guidance for the services and DLA and their logistics schools and activities. Additionally, DOD issued a Logistics Strategic Plan that articulated a vision of its desired inventory management culture. DOD's plan calls for meeting its vision by making investments in training, technology, and process reengineering, and employing the most successful commercial practices.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, as well as the Director, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), to develop training plans and provide guidance to ensure that DOD schools and inventory management activities provide training that can help bring about the desired cultural change. Against the general backdrop of economy and efficiency and its importance as a DOD inventory management cultural value, such plans and guidance should emphasize modern logistics concepts and TQM concepts and tools as key training vehicles.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Acquisition and Technology) budgeted $100,000 for NPS to develop guidance and training plans for the services and DLA and their inventory management schools and activities, including mandatory training requirements and recordation. DOD's actions meet the intent of the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, as well as the Director, DLA, to establish mandatory entry-level and continuing education training requirements for all DOD inventory management personnel, along with requirements and procedures that ensure each employee's progress in completing required training is accurately recorded and tracked.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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