Significant Savings Possible Through More Efficient Depot Maintenance of Army Combat Vehicles

LCD-80-82: Published: Aug 7, 1980. Publicly Released: Aug 7, 1980.

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For years, Congress has expressed concern about the low productivity level and increasing maintenance costs at Defense depots. During the fiscal year 1979, the Army spent about $688 million on depot maintenance in the continental United States and in Europe, of which about $263 million was spent to overhaul and repair combat vehicles and associated components at three depots in the United States and one in Mainz, West Germany.

It was found that productivity could be improved and maintenance costs could be reduced if the Army: (1) operated its three U.S. depots as effectively as the the one in Mainz; (2) overhauled vehicles only when needed based on mileage and vehicle condition; and (3) eliminated work at the depot level that could be accomplished at a lower level. Good estimating techniques, based on reliable work measurement data, were not used to identify and control labor requirements for combat vehicle overhauls and repairs. Instead, the depots used historical averages of prior work which perpetuate the mistakes and inefficiencies of prior estimates. The methods and standards program, which is the key to workloading and effective production control, lacked management emphasis, quality, and quantity. The labor and production reporting system did not contain reliable data for making decisions and analyzing variances between actual and expected results. Questionable rework and nonproductive time charges contributed to this lack of reliable data. Work methods emphasized overhaul rather than less costly repairs of major vehicle assemblies.

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