By Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan (March 28, 2017) – Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) conducted middle managers’ forums to raise awareness of the command’s 2017 strategic plan and strengthen communication in the workforce.
The forums focused on calling upon the command’s middle managers, consisting of Navy officers, Sailors, and U.S. civilian and Japanese employees, to revisit the strategic plan and discuss the progress in employee development and proper work execution.
“We need not only upper managers, but also middle managers to engage in [the] strategic plan as well as other forms of communication,” said Todd Jack, the business and strategic planning officer, during a forum to U.S. civilian middle managers. “We want to reinvigorate the middle managers’ forum and empower you to lead with us. We need your leadership to help execute our strategic plan.”
Approximately 393 middle managers across the command attended the forums.
“These sessions aim to mobilize additional support from middle managers in thoroughly informing their subordaintes the direction and goals that the command is heading towards as a team,” said Management Analyst Masanobu Kato from the business support division, who helped coordinate the forums. “By that, SRF could be a more successful and capable ship repair facility.”
The 2017 strategic plan has two areas of concentration: training and development programs for both supervisors and non-supervisors, and management of the command’s capacity and workload. In the forums, the “champions,” or the strategic area leads, briefed and explained its tactical goals, where more specific objectives are listed.
The first strategic area is led by the deputy production officer, Abigail McDowell, and the head quality assurance engineer, Hiroshi Aoki.
“The first strategic area stays as it was the last year,” said Aoki, during a session for Japanese middle managers. “All the same, we sustain this area in order to further develop our workforce. We have already accomplished some of the deliverables. To name a few, we have published a standards of conduct handbook and two other booklets—one for supervisors and one for general employees—both of which are now being prepared and soon to be published.”
According to Aoki, the booklets will serve as a handy “one-stop shop” of rules, regulations, policies and processes for all hands to help them navigate through their daily work. It includes information from the Master Labor Contract and from Fleet Activities, Yokosuka and SRF-JRMC instructions.
The second strategic area is led by the waterfront operations officer, Cmdr. Mitchell Perrett, and the hull group master, Hiroyuki Kato. This strategic area developed as a result of challenges that SRF-JRMC faced in completing repairs within scheduled availabilities due to workload, time constrants, manning, and the organization of in-house and farm-out work. The challenge of doing multiple repairs at the same time, efficiently maneuvering them, and how to prioritize them were discussed at the forums.
Starting in fiscal year 2016, the command has focused to improve more than 100 items, several of which reflect the second strategic area. One item is the continued implementation of project management, an idea which was introduced at SRF-JRMC starting in 2012. The resulting bilingual training, called “Project Management Fundamentals for Japan” was designed around SRF-JRMC’s command philosophy and strategic plan.
As of April 2017, approximately 63 percent of SRF-JRMC’s workforce—U.S. military and civilian and Japanese employees—has received project management training as it relates to their specific work in support of the mechanics at the job site.
Another item accomplished from the second strategic area was the update and reissuance of the Availability Management Manual in February 2017. This manual is the mainstay of the command’s and provides stakeholders’ required guidance and a project management business model in preparing, planning, executing and closing maintenance availabilities.
The idea of the command’s operational business model is that with effective project management, the organization is able to optimize its time, resources, and manpower in proportion to concurrent repair work.
Going forward, the questions raised by the command’s middle managers during the forums will be compiled with their answers and then shared with all hands by summer of 2017.