As anyone familiar with sea life can attest, every bit of space on a vessel is precious and nary an inch gets wasted. Back on dry land, though, it's an altogether different story-the more space people have, the more they seem to need. Even seafaring folk tend to stretch out once they are on terra firma. Ask Dennis Dann, Formation Development Engineer for Canada's Maritime Forces Atlantic (known as "MARLANT").
Dann describes the state of affairs which led MARLANT's Commander to initiate an "Infrastructure Reduction Program": "In a large formation such as MARLANT with nearly of 6.7 Million square feet to manage, the task of controlling infrastructure can be overwhelming." But it wasn't sheer size alone that was making the job of space management so "overwhelming." Other elements were at work too.
For one thing navy culture is quite different from, say, corporate culture or even army culture. Naval officers simply aren't trained to be cognizant about the cost of space. After all, one doesn't have to think very much about space wastage aboard a ship-that consideration has already been attended to by the vessel's designers. Further compounding this lack of awareness is the officer's instinctive desire to get the best conditions that he or she can for the ordinary seamen. That care for one's subordinates can be manifested in a number of ways-the procurement of better food, for example, or, oh yes, the acquisition of more space. If you combine the inherent naivete of the naval officers with regard to issues of space utilitzation with their laudable intention to take care of their own, what you get is very much the situation which Dann describes. It should come as no surprise that whenever space became vacant at a MARLANT facility (due, for example to a transfer of personnel), the neighboring unit would "spread out" and take over the newly vacant area. In short, the situation was entirely out of hand, and it was evident that taxpayer revenue was being misallocated and misspent.
Rough Seas Ahead
There was no way to establish management accountability because there was no historical, hard data vis-a-vis actual space usage. Without CAFM implementation, it took too long to generate usage information. Hence, by the time a given unit's space usage had been determined, the data, as an index of comparison to other units, was useless because it was too dated.
The Commander's Infrastructure Reduction Program could not be carried out unless a method could be found to track space. Moreover, compliance with the program was going to be difficult to obtain unless naval management could be provided the motivation and incentive to stop wasting the infrastructure. Some 7,000 civilian and military personnel were going to have to shape up or ship out.
Steady As She Goes
MARLANT's adoption of ARCHIBUS "was based on the global acceptance of ARCHIBUS as the CAFM leader." With the installation of the Space Management module, Formation Development Engineering could begin to get a fix on how Maritime Forces Atlantic was allocating space. Now they could scrutinize infrastructure use by site, building or unit. They could determine various space classifications (which areas were offices, which shops, which were warehouses, for example) and they could identify the custodianship of the various areas. Space usage excesses could now be identified on a macro level; on the micro level, areas of inefficiency could be flagged. When the dust had settled, what was discovered came as no surprise to Dann: The amount of infrastructure which was being occupied could be drastically reduced to the tune of some $15 million. It was also determined that another $8 million could be saved by canceling leases for properties which MARLANT did not need.
It's all very well to be able to articulate a problem and it's even better if you can suggest a solution. But it's quite another matter when it comes to getting others to buy into an idea-especially when they perceive that idea as having an undesirable impact on them, such as an encroachment on personal liberty or personal space. Fortunately, the selling pitch for the program was simplicity itself. In essence, the better MARLANT managed its space, the more money it could save. And those savings could then be enjoyed in the form of "Quality of Life" improvements. Thus, the proceeds from the sale of underutilized infrastructure have been and are being translated into a brand new Community Centre, an Addiction Rehabilitation Centre, a Gymnasium, a Social Work Centre, and day care centres. In addition, the quarters reserved for single seamen have been upgraded. Training officers of the Submarine School received renovated training facilities and office accommodations.
Dann is optimistic about the level of cooperation that he'll receive. After all, the Admiral himself, wishing to lead by example, offered up his "Official Residence" so that it could be sold for profit on the open market. "As this devolution occurs, managers will have the incentive to manage their infrastructure effectively. With the provision of ARCHIBUS, they will also have been given the tools."
Charting the Next Course
MARLANT is moving to implement other application modules besides Space Management. They are working with Telecommunications & Cabling, Building Operations, and Furniture & Equipment. Dann further believes that this expansion, once carried out, "would justify establishing an Intranet" to permit maximum promulgation and sharing of the Facilities Information Management data.
Canada's Maritime Forces Atlantic
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
42 Sites; 200 Buildings
604,743 sq.m. (approx. 6.7 Million sq.ft.)
7,000 civilian and military personnel
|ARCHIBUS Applications: |
Space Management, Furniture & Equipment Management, Building Operations Management, Telecommunications & Cable Management
|Impetus for Implementation: |
Lack of accountability on the part of management with regard to unit space usage; initiation of an "Infrastructure Reduction Program" aimed at ensuring efficient use of infrastructure.
|Benefits Gained: |
Ability to scrutinize all property and infrastructure holdings. Targeting insufficient areas. Consolidation and sale of such areas. Monies gained thereby applied to expenses of improving the overall quality of life for both civilian and military employees.
|Future Plans: |
Complete implementation of Furniture & Equipment, Telecommunications & Cable, and Building Operations applications; setup of Intranet to promulgate and share Facilities Information Management data.
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