NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Two Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic teams were honored for their accomplishments by Rear Adm. Darius Banaji, Commander, NAVFAC Atlantic on April 30, 2019. The 2018 Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic awards were presented to the top Process Improvement and Product and Service teams.
Process Improvement Team of the Year – Funds Work Flow Team – The path traveled by the Funds Work Flow team began in October, 2017 when representatives of NAVFAC Headquarters, NAVFAC Atlantic, NAVFAC Pacific and two NAVFAC Facilities Engineering Commands (FECs) met to discuss lessons learned from fiscal year 2017 (FY17). As they analyzed high error rates and long acceptance time for funding documents, this group of financial managers, acquisition experts and program managers recognized that these was no consistency in the way field activities conducted their business.
In response, NAVFAC Atlantic’s Funds Work Flow team was established to develop a standardized funds workflow process for all general fund reimbursable in-house labor and contract actions. The effort included development of standardized process with identified roles and responsibilities, identification of necessary policy updates, development and implementation of an Information Technology (IT) solution, creation of required training, and development and execution of both internal and external communication plans to inform and educate the NAVFAC workforce of these changes.
The team was up to the challenge. They successfully defined the standard general fund workflow process to be used at all levels within NAVFAC, established tactics, techniques and procedures, and roles and responsibilities. They developed and documented a new standardized Business Management System process, including the development, testing and implementation of eTracker, a funding document tracking tool that real time process tracking of funding documents. The system increased overall visibility and transparency of funds processing for improved coordination both within NAVFAC, and with NAVFAC customers. The team put into place metrics that help the organization to manage and assess the effectiveness of the new standardized process, and determine areas for further process improvement.
Training was an important part of the team’s efforts, as they developed and implemented two process-driven training courses, a familiarization training course, ten “Did You Know” training slides for use on command digital information boards, four training pamphlets, six online training videos, and the eTracker step-by-step desk guide. To ensure these new processes were explained to those impacted by these changes, the team also developed communication tools for both the NAVFAC work force and external customers.
As a result of this team’s effort, the new general fund workflow process and IT solution allow for more efficient receipt and acceptance of funding documents, reduced funding document errors, increased internal and external/customer visibility of funding document status, and improved workflow communication resulting in improved project execution and customer service.
Product and Service Team of the Year – BAH Reimbursement for Public-Private Venture (PPV) Partners Team – Since February 10, 1996, the Department of Defense has worked with the private sector to revitalize military family housing. This has resulted in many benefits to Sailors and their families, including the construction and renovation of military housing facilities. Navy housing programs have successfully teamed with professional property management companies to provide homes, services and amenities that were simply not feasible through traditional Military Construction and Housing Management.
The rent which Sailors pay for the use of PPV housing is based on their Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). Sailors receive their month BAH payment, which is, in turn, paid to the PPV property manager. The 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provided for a reduction in BAH beginning with 1% in 2015 and increasing by 1% to ultimately cap out at 5% in 2019 and beyond. This reduction was a major loss of revenue for the PPV program which would have ultimately resulted in drastically less available funds for the upkeep of the Navy’s housing inventory.
The NDAAs of 2017 and 2018 took steps to correct this shortcoming by funding for a full reimbursement for BAH funds, but didn’t provide guidance on how allow the flow of reimbursement funds from the US Treasury to the private partnerships.
This was the challenge which faced the NAVFAC Atlantic PPV team of Stephanie Laframboise and Brooke McLean. With the help of NAVFAC Atlantic employees Jennifer Gurley (Asset Management) and Chris Ward (Special Venture Acquisition) the team took up the challenge of creating processes that showed PPV partners how to identify residents qualified for reimbursement, verify the information submitted by residents to the PPV partners, and set up the means to move reimbursement money from the public sector to the private partners. Not only did the team create the processes, but also trained both the partners and the Navy PPV personnel.
The additional funds that are now available to the projects due to the efforts of this team will significantly enhance the PPV program's ability to sustain its inventory in optimal condition over the life of the program. This lasting and material contribution is making a difference to the quality of life of Sailors and their families.