National Partnership for Reinventing Government

Navy's Technology Transfer Program Wins $100,000 Innovations in American Government Award

October 26, 1998--In 1985, the Navy began to use its buying power to encourage its vendors to share their best manufacturing practices. The Navy not only achieved its immediate goal -- better, cheaper products -- but also started a "best practice" of its own that is already being replicated by other government agencies. For breaking new ground in American government purchasing practices, BMP was recognized October 22 as one 10 winners in the Innovations in American Government Awards Program. The BMP program's sponsoring organization is the Office of Naval Research, a reinvention lab of Vice President Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government.

The Navy's Best Manufacturing Practices (BMP) database now contains over 3,000 validated, cutting-edge developments in the manufacturing sector and are available for adoption by other U.S. industries. BMP enables American companies to develop the most globally competitive products while supplying the Navy with the best products and services at the best prices

"It is a real honor to have the Best Manufacturing Program recognized as a model program for excellence in government," said BMP Program Director Ernie Renner. "The 1998 Innovations in America Government Awards Program has proved that with dedication and creativity a small program can have a major impact on American industry and the consumer."

"The Best Manufacturing Practices program's innovative approach to sharing information was recognized by private industry in the late 1980s as an effective program that made a real impact on technology transfer between government and industry," he continued. "Only after being named a finalist in September did we realize that BMP is truly a unique program within the federal government."

Best Manufacturing Practices Program Helped Industry Save $6.1 Billion

The Best Manufacturing Practices program has used the Navy's purchasing power to drive the sharing of information between all businesses, even competitors. Navy implemented this unique, innovative technology transfer program to increase the quality and reliability of American goods. BMP's primary objective is to identify and document best practices, then encourage industry, government, and academia to share the information. By fostering sharing, BMP helps companies identify risks, solve problems and avoid costly, time-consuming duplication.

BMP's major innovations are on-site surveys conducted for companies that are interested in participating in the program and sharing nonproprietary information about their practices. Businesses researching solutions to specific problems can access the BMP database on the World Wide Web. In 1997, BMP database users reported averages of a 4.5 percent reduction in prices of products, a 5 percent improvement in delivery schedules, and a 5.6 percent improvement in quality. BMP has documented more than 3,000 best practices and estimates that it has helped U.S. industry realize $6.1 billion in process improvement savings since the program's inception in 1985.

As a result of BMP's success, the U.S. Army turned to the Navy for support and training in the survey methodology and now requires its depots and arsenals to participate in BMP. In 1994, BMP expanded to include an Environment Best Manufacturing Practices program for businesses interested in environmental best practices.

Other Winners

The Innovations in American Government Awards recognize not only outstanding federal government programs, but also innovative programs from all levels of government - federal, state, and local. This year, there are two other federal programs named as winners of the Innovations Awards--the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Like BMP, these programs are connected to reinventing government. Agriculture's winning Forest Service program is a reinvention lab and CPSC's program is a winner of Vice President Gore's Hammer Award. Each of the 10 award winners receive $100,000 from the Ford Foundation to promote its innovative idea for replication by others

Other federal finalists included programs in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Each finalist is also considered a winner and receives $20,000 to be used toward replicating its program.

About the Innovations Awards Program

The National Selection Committee of the Innovations program chose the ten winning programs in a public competition in Washington, D.C. The National Selection Committee for the Innovations Awards is composed of former elected officials, private industry leaders and journalists. The chair is David Gergen, former advisor to four presidents and current editor at large at U.S. News & World Report.

The Innovations in American Government Awards are funded by the Ford Foundation and administered by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government. The Innovations in American Government Awards received over 1,400 applications in 1998. In May, the field was narrowed down to 97 semi-finalists, and in September, to 25 finalists.

Since the Innovations program began granting awards in 1986, the Ford Foundation has awarded grants totaling $13.3 million to 115 winners and 90 finalists. More than 85 percent of the programs receiving Innovations Awards have been replicated.

The Ford Foundation, established in 1936, is a private, non-profit institution that serves as a resource for innovative people and institutions worldwide. Its goals are to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. A national and international philanthropy with assets of more than $9 billion, the Foundation has provided more than $9 billion in grants and loans to some 9,000 institutions and 100,000 individuals worldwide.

Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government is a graduate school of public policy dedicated to preparing leaders for service in government and other institutions of democratic societies and to contributing to the solution of important public problems.

The Council for Excellence in Government is a national, non-profit and nonpartisan organization whose 750 members have served as senior public-sector officials. Its mission is to improve the performance of government by strengthening results-oriented management and creative leadership in the public sector and to build understanding in government by focusing public discussion on its role and responsibilities.

For More Information

For more information on the winners, finalists, and the Innovations in American Government program , visit Deadline for next year's award program is January 8, 1999.

Related Links

Innovations in American Government

GovExec--Three federal programs win innovation awards Agencies Win $100,000 Innovation Awards

Reinvention Labs

Council for Excellence in Government

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