Help needed with essay points (seriously!)

#1
Hi all,

I have been given a task to write a 3500 word essay along with every other SSgt in my Sqn on the following subject and have pretty much come up against a brick wall. I am therefore after some argument points that i could expand upon to write this bloody thing and get it handed in.

The topic is: IS IT POSSIBLE TO ENSURE OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS WHILST DELIVERING BUSINESS EFFICIENCY ACROSS THE DEFENCE SUPPORT NETWORK?

Serious answers only please guys, I am after the more intelligent answers which is why its in here and not the NAAfi Bar!!!

Not asking for anyone to write me a essay, just how you would interpret the title and which route you would go down to create an argument for and against??

Many thanks in advance guys!

SS
 
#2
I think you'll have to define what Business Efficiency means, to me it is incompatible with Operational Effectiveness.
 
#4
That is exactly what i was thinking. If we are to be 'business efficient' i would translate that to cutting costs as much as possible. I for one can remember being in certain places when we didnt have the right kit for the right job and it was crap! Can we cut costs and still get the job done?

I totally agree that the two cannot go hand in hand but i am still stuck on where to go with this!

many thanks for your reply though!
 
#5
Perhaps you should challenge the assumptions in the question; i.e. IS IT SENSIBLE TO DEMAND OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS WHILST DELIVERING BUDGET REDUCTIONS ACROSS THE DEFENCE SUPPORT NETWORK?

Rifkind did a piece in the Telegraph only this morning on this subject.
 
#6
Business efficiency is not about cost cutting per se, it's ensuring that you get the biggest bang for your buck, that generally means running "hot" all the time. This is achievable in the business world because events are predictable, you know when stuff will arrive and when things will happen. In the operational world this cannot work, kit breaks or goes to the wrong place, even bad weather affects it let alone enemy action, so running "hot" in the operational world causes an immediate failure when something goes wrong. Therefore there must be spare capacity which in the business world is inefficient.

You cannot make operations efficient you can only succeed or fail, the price of paring down until you are just above the failure point (efficient) is too high.
 
#7
skydivescouser said:
Hi all,

I have been given a task to write a 3500 word essay along with every other SSgt in my Sqn on the following subject and have pretty much come up against a brick wall. I am therefore after some argument points that i could expand upon to write this bloody thing and get it handed in.

The topic is: IS IT POSSIBLE TO ENSURE OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS WHILST DELIVERING BUSINESS EFFICIENCY ACROSS THE DEFENCE SUPPORT NETWORK?

Serious answers only please guys, I am after the more intelligent answers which is why its in here and not the NAAfi Bar!!!

Not asking for anyone to write me a essay, just how you would interpret the title and which route you would go down to create an argument for and against??

Many thanks in advance guys!

SS
You cannot have business efficiency when not operating as a business. As there is no custommer to satisfy, then looking for business efficiency is ridiculous.
 
#8
Firstly you will need to define your terms. To me business efficiency means lower percentage costs compared to income. Since in the military we do not have sales only a set budget I would interpret this as ensuring that money spent is done so as efficiently as possible.
You appear to have already made up your mind but to write a good essay you are going to have to come up with arguments for both sides.
Since militarily Operational Effectiveness is the key I would try and find some examples where costs have been cut and operational effectiveness has increased. I am not an expert in the area of Lean management (any REME out there..) but remember the case of engine refurbishment times decreasing, and costing less, meaning increased availability, and hence increased Op effectiveness.
For a different angle (and easier to get references) try looking at some of the US Army work in an area you know a bit about and see how they have gone about doing things.
Good luck!
 
#9
jew_unit said:
skydivescouser said:
Hi all,

I have been given a task to write a 3500 word essay along with every other SSgt in my Sqn on the following subject and have pretty much come up against a brick wall. I am therefore after some argument points that i could expand upon to write this bloody thing and get it handed in.

The topic is: IS IT POSSIBLE TO ENSURE OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS WHILST DELIVERING BUSINESS EFFICIENCY ACROSS THE DEFENCE SUPPORT NETWORK?

Serious answers only please guys, I am after the more intelligent answers which is why its in here and not the NAAfi Bar!!!

Not asking for anyone to write me a essay, just how you would interpret the title and which route you would go down to create an argument for and against??

Many thanks in advance guys!

SS
You cannot have business efficiency when not operating as a business. As there is no custommer to satisfy, then looking for business efficiency is ridiculous.

I know this isn't really how it works in the real-world, but on a theoretical level (for the purpose of writing this essay) the OP could argue that the tax payer is the customer (as they are paying for the service); or the citizens of countries we are operating in, even - even if they are not paying for our services, they are still receiving it.
 
#10
define business efficiency

In procurement I would say so but at what cost to the defence industry.

Combine support services triplicated in the 3 services - yes I should say so.

Combine the 3 services into one....Well there would be a lot less brass and interservice competition, more commonality but at what cost to each service. It took WW2 to get a combined chiefs of Staff.

Equip and train the services to do a job. Remember to change the job spec from fighting 3 Shock Army to what we currently do is inefficient as everyone needs totally different kit so thats not business efficient.
 
#11
If I could expand on CQMS … need to define “ Operational Effectiveness “ and then “ Business Efficiency “ . Then expand on requirements to achieve these objectives . There may be conflict and mutually supporting points to achieve these together . Expand on all of the points . If you have a predetermined opinion that you cannot achieve both then bias your development of points accordingly .
 
#13
Getting some great starting points here, many thanks indeed. Another direction I am looking at is more to jew_units idea that there is no customer, well actually, being RLC, the stores world do have customers ... the BGs.

Loving the CQMS point that we are not particularly looking to cut costs, merely to get more for our money in theatre. could op entirety be included in becoming more business efficient? what about bob ainsworths plans on slowing down the accommodation improvements to leave more money for HERRICK, could this be construed as business efficiency? as far as i can see we are merely robbing peter to pay paul with this!

Am I thinking of a picture well above my payscale and should I cut this right back to maybe concentrating on my Unit becoming more 'lean' yet still being able to support the BG at home and abroad?


Or should I just sack the whole thing and tell my CO that the dog ate my homework!
 
#14
Consider the simple task of getting some stores from A to B in an operational environment,

A. Stick them in the back of a Chinook or

B. Stick then in the back of a 10 tonner.

A gets them there on time(ish) without any major problems but is expensive, B may get them there eventually but you need to protect them and may lose them but is cheap.

Loss of the stores means the operation fails, pick one.
 
#15
CQMS said:
Consider the simple task of getting some stores from A to B in an operational environment,

A. Stick them in the back of a Chinook or

B. Stick then in the back of a 10 tonner.

A gets them there on time(ish) without any major problems but is expensive, B may get them there eventually but you need to protect them and may lose them but is cheap.

Loss of the stores means the operation fails, pick one.
brilliant, thank you. This leads me to yet another way of thinking. as an RLC Driver who will be in charge of the FP on the CLPs... is there a real need for the HUGE amount of UOR vehicles in theatre if the majority of the kit is airlifted? (which is what I am led to believe happens)
 
#16
skydivescouser said:
Hi all,

I have been given a task to write a 3500 word essay along with every other SSgt in my Sqn on the following subject and have pretty much come up against a brick wall. I am therefore after some argument points that i could expand upon to write this bloody thing and get it handed in.

The topic is: IS IT POSSIBLE TO ENSURE OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS WHILST DELIVERING BUSINESS EFFICIENCY ACROSS THE DEFENCE SUPPORT NETWORK?

Serious answers only please guys, I am after the more intelligent answers which is why its in here and not the NAAfi Bar!!!

Not asking for anyone to write me a essay, just how you would interpret the title and which route you would go down to create an argument for and against??

Many thanks in advance guys!

SS
The military is not a business. Why is the military even attempting to deliver business efficiency? Discuss.

What DS thought you needed 3,500 words to come to that conclusion? Is he/she part of this inappropriate drive for business efficency in a non-business?
 
#18
whitecity said:
skydivescouser said:
Hi all,

I have been given a task to write a 3500 word essay along with every other SSgt in my Sqn on the following subject and have pretty much come up against a brick wall. I am therefore after some argument points that i could expand upon to write this bloody thing and get it handed in.

The topic is: IS IT POSSIBLE TO ENSURE OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS WHILST DELIVERING BUSINESS EFFICIENCY ACROSS THE DEFENCE SUPPORT NETWORK?

Serious answers only please guys, I am after the more intelligent answers which is why its in here and not the NAAfi Bar!!!

Not asking for anyone to write me a essay, just how you would interpret the title and which route you would go down to create an argument for and against??

Many thanks in advance guys!

SS
The military is not a business. Why is the military attempting to implement business efficiency? Discuss.

What DS thought you needed 3,500 words to come to that conclusion? Is he/she part of this inappropriate drive for business efficency in a non-business?
Well to tell the truth WC, I have seen the army (in the CSS side of life at least) try to change into precisely that over the last 10-15 years. I am not 100% as I am a driver by trade, but in the supply world, they literally treat their dependant units like ASDA customers, they have their set goals and stats etc etc and to look at some of the Tp Comds boards is like looking at a major supermarkets stats! This is the kind of thing I am trying to get arguments on... what happened to the old crusty stacker that told you to p1ss off cuz stores are for storing? are we trying too much for this business type role, at which point to we shout stop... we are not a feckin business, we are an armed force!!! you know where i am going with all this!
 
#19
skydivescouser said:
Or should I just sack the whole thing and tell my CO that the dog ate my homework!
See my point above.

And to defend your truculence to the grown ups...

skydivescouser said:
Getting some great starting points here, many thanks indeed. Another direction I am looking at is more to jew_units idea that there is no customer, well actually, being RLC, the stores world do have customers ... the BGs.
The 'customer' is internal and 'profit' is irrelevant. The last I heard, teeth arms were still part of the same army as the support arms. Efficiency is simply a polite word banded instead of the non-PC reality that what the grown ups want is simply cost-savings.

Thus, in real life, you are being asked to write about whether is compatable for operational effectiveness to be maintained whilst delivery is through peacetime sost-saving methods and structures.

Ask your CO to rewrite the question to real world instead of pseudo-MBA-speak nonsense.
 
#20
skydivescouser said:
Well to tell the truth WC, I have seen the army (in the CSS side of life at least) try to change into precisely that over the last 10-15 years. I am not 100% as I am a driver by trade, but in the supply world, they literally treat their dependant units like ASDA customers, they have their set goals and stats etc etc and to look at some of the Tp Comds boards is like looking at a major supermarkets stats! This is the kind of thing I am trying to get arguments on... what happened to the old crusty stacker that told you to p1ss off cuz stores are for storing? are we trying too much for this business type role, at which point to we shout stop... we are not a feckin business, we are an armed force!!! you know where i am going with all this!
I know. At the Army is far worse off for it.

Start your 3,500 missive with an introduction that explains that the question is inappropriately phrased if your essay is to have any usefulness in the real world. Propose that the essence of the question is whether operational effectiveness can be maintained whilst peacetime cost-saving methods and structures are used in the support arms. Then write your piece discussing you thoughts on that... :)
 

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