Military Standard on Work Measurement--A Way To Control Cost and Increase Productivity

PSAD-80-46: Published: Jun 3, 1980. Publicly Released: Jun 3, 1980.

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The Air Force has instituted a successful program to achieve improved productivity and cost control by contractors producing major weapons. It involves the Military Standard (MIL-STD) 1567 which establishes a contractual requirement for integrated and disciplined work measurement systems in manufacturing operations. Work measurement is a technique for collecting data on work hours and production of work units to determine the relationship between work performed and work hours expended. The resulting data is used to evaluate areas of low productivity for the early identification of potential improvements in personnel planning, scheduling, manufacturing, budgeting, performance, evaluation, methods improvement, and cost control. GAO believes that early application of MIL-STD-1567 to all Department of Defense (DOD) major acquisition contracts could result in improved productivity and cost control. However, successful implementation will not be achieved in a timely manner without the support of top-level DOD and military service management.

MIL-STD-1567 was issued in 1975 to be incorporated in selected major weapons systems contracts. Because of limited management commitment by top-level Air Force officials, implementation was slow until a management policy letter requiring MIL-STD-1567 on all major acquisitions was issued in 1978. Productivity improvements and cost savings are being realized at contractor plants in which MIL-STD-1567 has been applied. Prior to implementation, Air Force officials attempted to coordinate implementation on a Defense-wide basis, but Army and Navy officials believed it would be too expensive, duplicated existing systems, might cause labor problems, and intruded into contractor management. Another triservice coordination effort has been considered. Representatives from each of the services confirmed the need for a DOD standard and regulation and recommended triservice implementation, but initial responses from Army and Navy officials indicated that implementation efforts would have to be followed closely by DOD.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should institute firm measures to insure that implementation of MIL-STD in major acquisition contracts of all services will be aggressively pursued and actively promoted by all service secretaries and managers of buying activities. He should issue a firm commitment supporting the recommendations of the Joint Logistics Commanders' subpanel on work measurement for triservice adoption of MIL-STD-1567 and require the Joint Logistics Commanders to follow up on implementation efforts of the service buying activities.

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