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.

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