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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) and NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support (NAVSUP WSS) have always made taking care of their people – the NAVSUP enterprise’s most valuable asset – their top priority.

And as the U.S. Navy adapts to a faster-paced, more complex, and increasingly competitive security environment, NAVSUP and its workforce must also reform and adapt to meet the changing needs, helping to increase naval readiness and lethality. The cornerstone of NAVSUP Reform is people.

Through several reform initiatives, referred to as enabling a “New Era Workforce,” NAVSUP intends to transform the NAVSUP culture through continuous and sustained reform efforts focused on strategic organizational structures, data analytics, performance, knowledge and talent management.

The initiative, part of the larger NAVSUP Reform effort started in the spring of 2018, is a critical element as NAVSUP recruits, retains, develops, and trains the next generation of leaders in a time of great demand.

“We work together as a team…we are becoming more agile and competing in ways that are sustainable and ready to control the high end of maritime conflict,” said Rear Adm. Michelle Skubic, NAVSUP commander and chief of Supply Corps. “Using enhanced processes and new technologies, we will support our warfighters faster and more efficiently. NAVSUP will always be ready to serve, ready to sustain and ready for sea.”

Mike Callahan, program analyst, NAVSUP N1 talent management and value team lead for the New Era Workforce initiative, said that it’s all about designing programs and processes for putting the right people in the right place at the right time.

“The New Era Workforce is an enabler that crosses the entire NAVSUP enterprise – it impacts people and culture,” said Callahan. “It is critical to our success. We need a workforce that is able to adapt to a changing environment and able to meet the needs of the customer and help our warfighters maintain warfighter readiness and lethality.”

Under the New Era Workforce umbrella are five key lines of effort.    

The five lines of effort are:

1. Command Initiatives – Reorganize NAVSUP into cross-functional teams centered on Integrated Weapon Systems Teams (IWSTs) to better prioritize and align efforts, implement strategic budgeting and enhance metrics to improve NAVSUP processes.

2. Reorganize and reform operations research functions across NAVSUP to maximize analytical strategies for improved capability and performance of the supply chain– intent is to create a NAVSUP Enterprise Analytics Center of Excellence.

3. Change how NAVSUP evaluates its people to reflect reform goals.

4. Implement a knowledge management process and systems to improve employee performance.

5. Develop a new workforce strategy focused on retention and career development.

The New Era Workforce initiative was developed to embrace development and evolvement, and to increase transparent and solution focused communication between employees – people and teams working together to meet challenges for NAVSUP today and into the future.

The initiative intends to create an agile, adaptable workforce of devoted people who work together to solve problems and are accountable for their actions. Additionally, under the new initiative, employees – no matter at what level – are empowered to escalate problems and roadblocks quickly, and supervisors and employees collaborate to find the best solutions to issues. Supervisors can enable this by inviting discussions to involve employees in the problem solving process and collaborate on solutions.

“The ability to change and be agile is a function of organizational culture,” said Michael Madden, NAVSUP vice commander, who recently offered a set of ideals to both supervisors and employees to underscore the importance of organizational culture change and individual action. “I believe we have a resilient culture that adapts to change. I believe we understand the mission and its importance to the Sailors we send into harm’s way. Working from these set of ideals and teaching them to our new employees will enable positive change and mission success.”  Recognizing these ideals and embracing collaboration and understanding is at the heart of the New Era Workforce initiative.    

The early successes of this collaboration come from the cross-functional team concept, which included teams from the Cruiser/Destroyer (CRUDES) IWST, Aircraft Carrier (CVN) IWST and the F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft IWST. 

By co-locating key people in the IWST teams with contract specialists, supply planners, program managers and IWST leadership, these cross-functional teams create a better structure, cadence and focus on priority tasks. They achieve this by creating a regular readiness recovery “drumbeat” or meetings to review progress with leadership and establishing shared priorities with all members using a common set of tools and metrics to support supply chain management functions. Additionally, through collaboration the teams created a priority list of National Item Identification Numbers (NIINs) (stock items with 9-digit code identifiers), filtered by casualty reporting (CASREP) and Unfilled Customer Orders (UCOs).

Successes include the CRUDES and CVN IWSTs meeting or exceeding repair obligation goals each month successively since their co-location in February 2019. Priority CASREPs and UCOs have noticeably reduced and Administrative Lead Time (ALT) has reduced by four months. 

With the F/A-18 IWST, the integrated teams implemented a new virtual operation model that focuses on cross-collaboration with contracting, engineering, and finance to eliminate the top degraders on Super Hornet readiness. Weekly production stand-up meetings and Readiness Acceleration Boards provide a forum to elevate and resolve barriers and accelerate the contract award process. Since July 2018, successes include an 8 percent decrease in high priority backorders, a 6 percent reduction in Non-mission Capable Supply (NMCS), a 13.5 percent decrease of work-in-process time for purchase requests, and a 55 percent increase in contract awards per month.

According to Jane McMullen, senior executive service director for N1, NAVSUP and sponsor for the New Era Workforce initiative, the reform effort is the keystone to real change.

“As the Navy increases its capabilities and operational tempo, NAVSUP must reform and adapt its culture to reflect the immediacy of naval readiness and lethality,” said McMullen.  “We do this by embracing our most valuable asset – our people – to make the necessary changes and to work together to make a difference. We must invest in a culture of excellence and prepare our leaders for the future.”

NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support is one of eleven commands under Commander, NAVSUP. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and employing a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP's mission is to provide supplies, services, and quality-of-life support to the Navy and joint warfighter.