eQuip: Expanding Government Property Standards Adoption in Cobham Group2020-01-22T11:51:33-05:00

Case Study: Expanding Government Property Standards Adoption in Cobham Group

Summary

Cobham is a leading global technology and services innovator, respected for providing solutions to meet challenges from deep space to the depths of the ocean. They have contracts with the Department of Defense (DoD) to produce cutting-edge technology. From the components to the assembled products, this technology is generally considered government property.

This means that many employees at Cobham work with government property on a day-to-day basis. DoD contractors with government property are required to follow certain standards in their practices and procedures. However, this aspect of contracting is often neglected.

Not all Cobham’s employees were aware of these standards, potentially running Cobham the risk of Corrective Action Requests and even payments being withheld. In order to improve Cobham’s government property practices, Cobham needed to expand the adoption of government property management standards within the company.

A core Government Property Management team, including leaders from contract management, finance, IT project management, and the Government Property Management administrator, have been able to execute a plan to quickly train, adopt, and implement a new government property management system.

Problem: Property Custodians Unaware of Compliance Issues

There is increasing scrutiny from the DoD and its auditing agency, the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), towards DoD contractors. Because of this, many DoD contractors find themselves needing to quickly improve their government property management processes.

If the contractor is in a manufacturing business, like Cobham, improving the government property management process often involves many stakeholders. The government property managers must involve people on the floor repairing, assembling assets, tagging assets, and people who are conducting regular inventory audits. These people are what the FAR calls “Property Custodians.” In order to implement the government property management system and deliver the 10 outcomes as defined in FAR 52.245-1, the Property Custodians must be on board with the policies and procedures.

Thus, the title “Property Custodian” indicates significant responsibility. Property Custodians are the guardians of government property. However, tracking government property in a way that is compliant to FAR/DFARs is not their primary duty. So how can the government property manager introduce government property management processes to a large group of employees who may view the new processes and rules as “extra work” or “an interruption to their regular job”?

That is the challenge that Cobham faced.

Solution: Educating and Motivating Property Custodians

A core team, consisting of leaders from contract management, finance, IT project management, as well as the government property management administrator, was tasked with solving this challenging problem. In less than half a year, they have implemented our government property management system eQuip, including data set up, system configuration, and user training.

How were they able to accomplish this in less than half a year? Let’s take a look at the three keys to their success.

1. Obtain senior leadership’s support to the Government Property Management business processes and system

Many employees in Cobham work with Government Property. In order to improve Government Property management practices, Cobham needs to expand the awareness and adoption of Government Property Management standards among these employees. Tharus Bradley, Cobham’s Government Property Administrator, emphasized the importance of this effort, “At the end of the day, we have to understand that managing Government Property in a FAR/DFAR compliant way is everyone’s responsibility.”

With the support of their senior leadership, the core implementation team was able to successfully train many employees on Cobham’s government property management policy and procedures.

2. Implement the Government Property Management system within the core group first, before expanding it to the “Property Custodians”

Tharus Bradley, CPPA, is the Government Property Administrator at Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions. He was instrumental in selecting eQuip to be the system of record for managing Government Property.

To further ease the burden of learning a new system, Tharus set up limited permissions in the eQuip system for the Custodians. They will only focus on moving assets, assigning assets, shipping assets, and auditing assets.

3. Invest in training, training, training

After the core group imported the data, set up basic workflows, set up roles for individual users, it was time to train the users on how to use it.

When it comes to training, the core implementation team in Cobham spared no effort.

They printed out the eQuip User Guides, colored and indexed, so users can take them back to their desks. The User Guide is available digitally, but they believed that having the actual guide available at their desk would ease the transition.

They carefully designed the training program, from the selection of room, the number of people in a group, to the agenda.

The people at Cobham were constantly learning and improving. Training is not a one-time event; it’s a continuous endeavor. The team learned from each training and adjusted on the next one.

You may be surprised at what is a big obstacle for people to adopt a new system. Sometimes, just the hassle of setting up a new user log in ID and password could turn people off. James Buck, Senior Manager of Finance at Cobham, explains, “Having everyone in the room walking through the system log-in process is a big deal. Every time when we introduce a new system, I found that learning how to log-in the new system is half the battle.” That’s why the Cobham implementation team insisted that all users come to the classroom and set up a new user log in ID next to their peers.

Results: Continuous Learning to Maintain Compliance

Implementing a new enterprise software system is never an easy task. Introducing a new system in a short period of time and among many users is even harder. The Cobham team did it in less than 3 months. This shows, that with the right leadership, tactful planning, and the willingness to learn and improve, it can be done.

The eQuip system is easy to use and intuitive. It allows Property Custodians to learn a new system in support of continuous improvement.

Tharus Bradley, CPPA, Government Property Administrator, Cobham Group
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