Manufacturing Technology--A Cost Reduction Tool at the Department of Defense That Needs Sharpening

PSAD-79-99: Published: Sep 11, 1979. Publicly Released: Sep 11, 1979.

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The objective of the Department of Defense's (DOD) Manufacturing Technology Program is to develop or improve manufacturing processes, techniques, materials, and equipment to provide timely, reliable, and economical production of defense materiel. The Manufacturing Technology Program has the potential for reducing costs of producing defense systems by applying new or improved technologies. Much needs to be done to determine systematically what benefits are achieved from the annual expenditure of program funds.

The Manufacturing Technology Program has weak controls. Managers were not aware of how well the program was working and lacked specific information on program benefits or results. DOD criteria for funding projects were broadly and generally interpreted and did not focus specifically on the program's primary goals. DOD did not have a consistent project ranking system applicable to all services to assure that funds were allocated only to the most beneficial projects. DOD was unable to readily provide basic program data on completed projects and projects implemented into production. The implementing instructions of the Army, Navy, and Air Force contained many procedures and requirements that were neither complied with nor enforced. DOD had not developed a system to periodically evaluate the program's effectiveness. There have been many completed Manufacturing Technology projects that have never been implemented, yet very little had been done to actively promote, track, or document the implementation of project results into defense contracts.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should consider withholding approval of increases in funding proposed by DOD until the Secretary of Defense can demonstrate that these improvements have been instituted and are effective.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should: ensure that the services exercise their criteria for funding projects so they specifically focus on achieving the program's primary goals; devise and institute a consistent project ranking system, applicable to all services, to assure that program resources are spent on the most beneficial projects; develop and institute a uniform, centralized management data system that would allow program managers to evaluate and control program effectiveness; insist that the services comply with their own implementing instructions regarding the reporting of cost savings and lessons learned; have the services make regular evaluations of their programs and identify and correct deficiencies; have the services actively promote the use of Manufacturing Technology Program results; and have the services account for the use of program funds by documenting for each project what was spent, where it was spent, what benefits were expected, and what benefits were actually realized.

    Agency Affected:

 

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