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  Daily Briefing  
July 5, 2000

Eight agencies honored for peak performance

By Kellie Lunney

Eight federal organizations with exemplary records in quality management and customer service have been honored as the winners in this year's President's Quality Award program.

The program was created in 1988 to highlight peak-performing federal operations. A panel of government and private sector quality management specialists choose the winners. For the second year in a row, however, no organization won the program's top prize, the Presidential Award for Quality.

In the program, which is administered by the Office of Personnel Management, applicants are reviewed in a rigorous three-phase process: a written application review, an on-site visit and a final evaluation by a panel of judges from government and the private sector.

This year's winners:

Award for Quality Improvement

James A. Haley Veterans Hospital and Clinics provides health care for veterans, operating more than 600 hospital and nursing home beds in central Florida. The hospital began its quality improvement program in the early 1990s, and has received numerous awards over the last few years for outstanding service, including a President's Quality Merit Award in 1998. The hospital has compiled an impressive list of accomplishments: decreasing the turnaround time for radiology exam reports from eight days to one; shortening the reporting time for routine lab reports from more than four hours to 30 minutes; reshaping the inpatient substance abuse care program, resulting in a much greater number of patients treated (from 4,100 to 16,400) over four years; and implementing a telemedicine pilot program, known as TeleHomeCare, for spinal cord injury and geriatric patients, resulting in a 40 percent to 60 percent reduction in admissions and inpatient hospital days.

The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, a unit of the Defense Logistics Agency, buys more than $4 billion worth of food, clothing, medicine and industrial supplies for the nation's warfighters, their dependents and other customers worldwide. The organization's Web-based ordering system has helped increase commercial sales from $1.1 billion per year to $2.5 billion since 1993, while at the same time reducing overall costs to the supply center and its customers. Orders are filled in less than six days--a marked improvement from 1993, when the typical response time was about 30 days.

The Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey provides the military with its firepower. ARDEC created a customer advocate and stationed customer service representatives at major customer sites. In the past two years, the organization has saved $30 million through value engineering efforts and reduced work-year costs, saving customers about $70 million. Product quality initiatives have reduced ammunition accidents to zero, and 81 new engineers and scientists came aboard in fiscal 1999.

Merit Award

Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Federal Aviation Administration Logistics Center (FAALC) in Oklahoma City helps keep the skies safe, repairing and supporting a host of air traffic control systems, including navigation and landing products. The logistics center has been a model for reinvention in the public sector, earning certification in the international standard for quality, ISO 9000, and helping other organizations in government and industry obtain certification. A customer-care center responds to more than 18,000 calls a year from 7,000 technicians around the nation who maintain the country's air traffic control system. Seventy percent of orders leave FAALC within six hours or less, and 94 percent are shipped within 24 hours.

The 7th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, Colo., strive to maintain combat-ready forces while providing a caring environment for soldiers and their families. A $3 billion initiative to build 840 new family housing units and renovate almost 2,000 existing units is in the works, and the post's Family Readiness Center, the first of its kind in the U.S. military, helps employees and their families avoid financial woes and meet physical and mental health needs. The Mountain Post Car Wash, a public-private partnership, has been so successful that annual revenues are expected to exceed $32,000 and another car wash is in the works.

Program Finalists

The Defense Contract Management Command (DCMC) in Santa Ana, Calif., makes sure military service members receive top-quality products and services on time and at reasonable prices. The organization's "One Team-One Focus" philosophy when it comes to customer service has increased and maintained customer satisfaction ratings of over 5.5 on a 6-point scale. A recipient of Vice President Al Gore's Hammer Award, DCMC created an internal process review checklist, available on its Web site, as part of its Management Control Review Program.

Winner of eight Hammer Awards, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport in Keyport, Wash., tests the Navy's weapons and systems, helping to ensure the dependability of torpedoes, mines and other undersea warfare systems. In 1998, Keyport established a customer advocacy group to provide customers with a single point of contact and an on-site advocate. NUWC has also forged a strong partnership with its employees: No unfair labor practices have been filed at the center since 1985.

Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va., repairs naval warships, providing round-the-clock quality service to the Navy by running a tight internal ship. A 6,800-employee workforce is linked together by state-of-the-art information systems to better serve customers. The Leadership Committee, composed of 46 senior managers and union leaders, emphasizes customer service and strong partnerships between the shipyard and its stakeholders. Eight smaller teams focus on issues such as strategic management, human resources and customer satisfaction, using performance measures to set goals and monitor performance.

The award winners will be honored at a ceremony on July 13 during the Excellence in Government Conference in Washington.