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Transforming the way Defence buys and maintains equipment

Transforming how Defence buys and maintains equipment

Equipping Australia’s military is big business. The Department of Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) is spending almost $13 billion this financial year buying and maintaining fighter jets, war ships, tanks and other military equipment.
Working with customers to define the service offer

While this role sounds challenging enough, CASG is also going through reform. In 2015, a major review recommended that the previously separate Defence Materiel Organisation be absorbed into the Defence central structure to become CASG.

Performance expectations are high. The Government plans for this change to make CASG more efficient than the previous organisation, delivering more with its current workforce.

To help achieve this, CASG is restructuring to a matrix model. Each of CASG’s 5000 employees will belong to one of six Centres of Expertise, representing professional specialisations, such as engineering or contracting. Each Centre of Expertise will be responsible for placing and supporting its members within the projects buying new pieces of kit, or within program offices supporting existing equipment.

CASG asked ThinkPlace to help define the services provided by the Centres of Expertise. A holistic Service Offer was needed to clarify the roles of the Centres collectively and guide their daily work.

We worked with the Centre of Expertise leads and a cross-section of CASG staff to develop a collective understanding of the customer needs and what the Centres of Expertise offer to meet each need.

Our workshops brought clarity to the collective functions of the Centres of Expertise. As a new concept, there were several views within CASG about how a matrix structure would operate. Through working with their customers, we defined a clear role for the Centres: providing the right people with the right skills and tools at the right time and place.

We delivered a defined Service Offer that better supports CASG’s work buying and maintaining military equipment. The Centres of Expertise provide more consistency to internal functions and share improved ways of doing things. Over time, the matrix structure will reduce the cost of equipping the Australian Defence Force.

We kept the customer as the focal point of this work. This meant that the Service Offer had meaning both for Centre of Expertise members and for the internal customer. The value provided to projects and program offices by the Centres of Expertise was clear and each employee can see which piece of the puzzle they provide.

By developing a customer-centric Service Offer, we helped people better understand the purpose of the Centre of Expertise model while assisting CASG to implement the Government’s direction to improve performance.

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