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 June 1997 Article

U.S. Navy Group Seeks
ISO 9001 and ISO 14001

    The Navy's Carderock Division is putting ISO 14001 under its
    ISO 9001 framework to help institutionalize environmental compliance.

by Annette Dennis McCully

Faced with dwindling resources, the U.S. Navy has begun to regionalize many of its functions in locations where several installations are clustered together. In hopes of making this process even more efficient, the Philadelphia Environmental Program Office of the Carderock Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, will implement ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 management systems.

The Carderock Division, a high-tech engineering group commanded by Capt. James Baskerville, has 12 organizational components, with 4,000 U.S. Navy civilian personnel in Idaho, Alaska, Washington, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Maryland. Sondra Gutkind, Division ISO Program Manager for the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, explains that the Environmental Program Office in Philadelphia is seeking certification to ISO 9001, while the Philadelphia site of the Carderock Division is seeking certification to ISO 14001.

To learn more about the emergence of this prototype and about regionalization efforts now taking place in the Navy, Quality Digest also spoke with Catherine Cyr, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations for Environmental Protection, Safety, Occupational Health and Pollution Prevention Branch; and David Wennergren, head of the Plans and Policy Branch under Vice Admiral Hancock, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Logistics at the Pentagon.

Quality Digest also spoke with Jim Schempp, deputy regional environmental coordinator, and Bob Campagna, shore installation manager, at COMNAVBASE Seattle, Rear Adm. Bill Center's office. Adm. Center is the regional environmental coordinator for Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10). While the Navy in Puget Sound has no facilities certified to ISO 9001, it has created a link between ISO management systems and regionalization by using the ISO 14001 model environmental management system to tie all common environmental processes for the region together.

The nature of work performed by these organizational components as part of the Naval Surface Warfare Center includes research and development, fleet support and in-service engineering for undersea vehicles and associated machinery, electrical systems and propulsion. The sites also support the maritime industry and administration, and have one of the world's largest arrays of hydrodynamic and acoustic testing abilities and ranges. Gutkind points out that Carderock was the first U.S. Department of Defense division to have organizational components certified to ISO 9001.

Certification drivers

Some of the Carderock Division became certified to ISO 9001 in November 1995, with more added in July 1996. "Because the Navy is downsizing, we are losing a lot of our corporate knowledge," explains Gutkind. "In order to preserve this knowledge, we went for ISO 9001 certification initially because of its documentation capabilities. In addition, Mil-Q-9858, the military equivalent of the quality standard, was rescinded. The military -- the Navy in particular -- is making an effort to shift from military to commercial specifications."

The downsizing of the Navy has led to regionalization of many functions in areas where there are multiple installations. David Wennergren, who is spearheading the regionalization of Navy functions, explains that installation management funding has become more scarce as the Navy has continued to downsize since the end of the Cold War. He explains that new capital funding must be drawn out of the infrastructure, stating that analyses performed as part of the regionalization process show that the Navy can save as much as $40 million a year in San Diego and $18 million a year at Pearl Harbor, resources that can be used for modernizing the Navy.

"Under Executive Order 12856 for Pollution Prevention, the EPA was required to issue a Code of Environmental Management Principles that lays down the basic tenets of how to deal with an environmental program," says Cyr. "The Department of Defense is subject to the requirements of 12856 and has identified ISO 14001 as one of the ways they will implement the Code of Environmental Principles. The Navy is engaged with the Department of Defense staff and the other services in evaluating ISO 14001 for servicewide applicability."

The U.S. Coast Guard at Curtis Bay in Baltimore is the first U.S. military installation to become certified to ISO 9001, according to Gutkind. She indicates that many other military installations also are certified to the quality management standard.

Navy certifications to ISO 9001 are very different from ISO 14001 in that they are very decentralized, comments Cyr. "Some facilities that are involved in manufacturing are certified to ISO 9000," she says. "They have made that decision based on their own perception that implementation of a quality-based program for their production functions would enhance their performance and competitiveness." She adds that the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, has done the most extensive evaluation of ISO 14001 applicability.

Advantages for the military

Gutkind lists numerous reasons why military installations should seek certification: "This gives us a more flexible work force, with documented processes that are easily transferable from one employee to another, standardized work instructions, improved teaming and training, along with standardized methodologies and procedures."

The Carderock Division certifications are organization-based, rather than facility-based, with the next 10 organizational components planning certification by December 1997. The Environmental Program Office in Philadelphia is slated to be ISO 9001 certified by December. The Philadelphia site of the Carderock Division is slated to be ISO 14001 certified by May 1998.

"We want to bring the ISO 14001 criteria under our ISO 9001 management system," explains Gutkind. "The standard provides a framework that allows incorporation of Navy and Defense Department criteria into the management system. We want to combine ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 at a component level before we take it across the division."

Cyr explains that her organization began research on ISO 14001 last summer. "Right now, we are looking at different ways to quantify the return on investments that are generally identified by corporations in industry that have implemented the standard," she says. "The majority of these case studies focus on qualitative benefits that most people can intuitively recognize as possible, but we want to quantify those as costs and benefits, as well as avoided costs, and find out what the bottom line is."

She adds that ISO 14001 is being evaluated as a means of implementing the EPA's Code of Environmental Management Principles. Research for costs and benefits currently involves amassing case studies of organizations -- both military and corporate -- that have implemented ISO 14001 to learn what they have done and how the organizations have benefited from certification.

"We are looking at performing some sort of pilot study that allows us to measure changes that occur with implementation of ISO 14001," notes Cyr. "The trouble with the data we have seen thus far is that costs and benefits for one particular situation are measured, but it is very difficult to extrapolate that data to another part of the country or to another industry. We want to standardize some of the measurements so we have some information that the Department of Defense can use as a whole."

Integrating systems

Gutkind says that her group have been pathfinders for utilizing a quality management standard to define their business practices. "Putting ISO 14001 under our ISO 9001 framework will aid in the institutionalization of environmental protection and compliance," she says. "Hopefully, as the prototype evolves, we will integrate environmental protection with business practices. This integrated approach will become the way we do business instead of seeing environmental in terms of regulatory or legal issues. The Environmental Program Office in Philadelphia has processes that it needs to control and can use the ISO 9001 basics, adding the requirements of ISO 14001 to enhance their system. They are both management system standards."

Gutkind asserts that ISO 14001 certification criteria is more stringent than ISO 9001 because ISO 9001 suggests a preassessment audit, but ISO 14001 specifically requires a preliminary audit, which means that two audit cycles are required to become certified. She sees the growing number of certifications to ISO 9001 and the prototype with both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certifications as a distinct advantage.

"In the certified components, we have seen a reduction in cycle time, which is important for an engineering activity," notes Gutkind. "This means our reports are getting out faster, the data is being delivered to the customer faster, usage of personnel and equipment is reduced, and we are providing a better product     at reduced cost." However, the amount of money saved is difficult to ascertain, she adds.

In implementing ISO 9001, the organizational components did not change the way they do business, but formalized the way they do business within the standard's framework, explains Gutkind. "It's obvious that we operate effectively, or we would not have been able to step up to certification," she says. "We also have many different cultures tied together within the management system, which is beneficial in itself. Groups can now communicate and come together in consensus about how the business is managed."

Cyr concurs that many ISO 14001 elements already are part of Navy environmental practices. She points out that the systems approach, identification of individual responsibilities and training       requirements, and top management commitment have long been established and are integral elements of the Navy environmental program.

Cyr explains that some of the intuitive benefits of ISO 14001 that the Navy and the other services within the context of the Defense Department committee have identified include reduction of the level of risk in the environmental program through the development of standardized written procedures for all environmental functions, provision of a mechanism that allows integration of environmental issues into all aspects of the business, and reduced dependence on personality-driven programs.

"We tend to have a lot of very responsible, very motivated individuals in the Navy environmental program who do a fantastic job, but our concern is that significant parts of the program could disappear when that person is transferred," remarks Cyr. "In adopting a systems approach with documentation and standardized procedures, we could minimize some of the program's personality-driven aspects. We, of course, don't want to eliminate them because it is always good to have a highly motivated individual, but we could allow for transfer of responsibility more easily."

Navy regionalization

"We have a Navywide effort going on to reinvent our shore infrastructure to free resources for readiness and recapitalization," explains Wennergren. "Regionalizing installation management functions in our areas of concentration is twofold: It allows more efficient regionalization of installation management functions, and it gets the second echelon out of the business of running bases.

"In areas like San Diego, the Navy tends to congregate around ports and have multiple installations, some of which may perform duplicate functions. We are trying to restructure these businesses and eliminate duplication of efforts. We are also looking at how many different commands are involved in running bases. We'd like to have a few people focus on that and have the rest focus on their missions."

These efforts will eventually extend to other areas with multiple installations, such as New England, the Great Lakes, Guam, Japan, South Texas, New Orleans, California and Europe, adds Wennergren.

Examples of functions that have been consolidated in the last year in San Diego and Jacksonville, Florida, include environmental, security, firefighting and retail supply, with resulting service that is equal to or better than before, but at reduced cost, says Wennergren. "Each region needs to develop a solution that works for them," he points out. "Differing mission requirements mean that the solutions have to work for that region. In some areas, the regional commander can become owner of all the Navy property in the area that can achieve savings."

The concept is that landlord services -- such as operation of bachelor quarters and galleys -- can be taken care of by a single provider, explains Wennergren. "This is easier than having eight commands running eight galleys in different ways," he says. "This doesn't get rid of a command, but allows specific functions, such as the computer and telecommunications command installation at Pearl Harbor, to focus on its communication mission and not worry about guards at the gate, bachelor quarters, galleys or fire departments. We let the fleet -- the primary provider of these services -- take care of base operating services for the communications group."

Regionalization in Puget Sound

Adm. Center's work as regional environmental coordinator in the Pacific Northwest's EPA Region 10 is quickly evolving, says Campagna. "His level of authority and command over the region is rapidly increasing," he explains. "All of the Navy is going in this direction. In Jacksonville, Florida, and San Diego, COMNAVBASEs such as Adm. Center's have already regionalized, which means that these bases have complete authority over the installations within their region."

As things stand now in Puget Sound, each commander at each installation actually owns property, says Campagna. However, in some other areas, the regional commander has become the owner of all the property in the region.

"From an environmental legal standpoint, this changes things dramatically because the property owner is responsible for environmental actions and impacts that occur on that property," notes Campagna. For this reason, it makes sense to go to an environmental management system that involves Adm. Center, he adds.

The coordination of environmental issues in the midst of regionalization can be a challenge because the Pacific Northwest has 12 very different kinds of installations with 30,000 military personnel, generating an annual revenue of $2.7 billion. The Navy has many activities that are mission-specific and will need to retain some autonomy rather than operating all the same way, explains Schempp. An EMS regionalization effort is a way to have the best of both worlds, he adds.

Tracking systems

Gutkind indicates that her managers are responsive to changes and improvements that need to be made in the system, and work together effectively to make corrections following system failures. They have also implemented preventive actions.

"We are a service organization specializing in high-tech engineering," she says. "Because we are not involved in production, we did not have a culture of audit methodology or of corrective and preventive actions, and the certification gave us that framework."

While operations vary widely throughout the division, personnel have still been able to take on new ideas and implement them, taking their jobs seriously, notes Gutkind. "This is not motherhood and apple pie," she quips, "but our managers, engineers and technicians have the future of the Navy in mind in providing a service for the fleet and support for the maritime industry, and see improvements to the system and technical areas as a function of that work. We want the taxpayers to get their money's worth."

Gutkind says it makes sense to bring ISO 14001 systems into existing quality management systems. "A management system must have all of these parts to be fully functioning," she asserts. "All of this is really a journey to improve our systems and improve business. It's not a silver bullet nor a magic cure. When you have personnel who are not afraid to do something somewhat differently from what they are accustomed to, implementation of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 can be a win-win situation."

About the author

Annette Dennis McCully, owner of McCully Technical Services in Kirkland, Washington, is a technical writer and science journalist.

For more information, contact her at McCully Technical Services, 14351-109th Ave. N.E., Kirkland, WA 98034. Telephone (206) 488-3480, fax (206) 485-9232 or e-mail amccully@qualitydigest.com.


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