Photo: IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson
Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi has approved the first stage of a plan that is due to save 30 billion NIS over the next ten years.
Date: 03/08/2009, 6:37 PM
Last Thursday, the IDF (Zahal) Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, authorized the first section of the joint IDF (Zahal)-Ministry of Defense multi-year efficiency plan, which is titled “Harvest Season”. This section of the plan is aimed at generating improvements in the maintenance of equipment for the ground forces and Israel Air Force (IAF). The plan set the goal of saving at least 100 million NIS a year.
For the first time in the public sector in Israel, the IDF (Zahal) and the Ministry of Defense contracted an external professional assessment of the defense system in order to identify possible areas for cost savings and improvements to efficiency. “Harvest Time” will enable the defense system to use existing budgets to strengthen the IDF (Zahal) and improve its level of preparedness. McKinsey and Co, an international management consulting firm, won the tender to provide the strategic consulting services. McKinsey has considerable experience in providing advice on improving efficiency in the defense sector. This decision reflects the defense establishment’s commitment to the security of the citizens of the State of Israel, to constantly look for improvements to the defense system, in particular given the current global financial situation.
The overall objective of the plan is to save up to 30 billion NIS over the next ten years, in accordance with the decision of the Israeli government, in line with the Brodet committee’s recommendations on the defense budget.
The Chief of the General Staff and the Director General of the Ministry of Defense have instructed the defense establishment to cooperate with McKinsey and to allow it complete and open access to the IDF (Zahal) and the Ministry of Defense, with the exception of operational and intelligence areas. In order to implement this, dozens of McKinsey personnel have been granted a security clearance, after undergoing a thorough security check.
The maintenance section of “Harvest Time” is the first section to be completed in the thorough IDF (Zahal)-wide examination process that McKinsey is conducting. Ground and air maintenance procedures are a vital component of the IDF (Zahal)’s emergency capabilities, and their budgets constitute a significant portion of the total budgets of the different services. The program was developed through close co-operation between IDF (Zahal) professional officers and the Israeli and international experts working of McKinsey.
IAF and ground force maintenance units were assessed by McKinsey, which mapped and analyzed the planning and management processes in both headquarters and field units. The assessment processes involved visits to the units, observation of work processes, interviews with soldiers and commanders and measuring their efficiency in the field.
The findings of the assessment showed that there are maintenance units in the IDF (Zahal) in which the various tools and methods that are used to manage maintenance processes are world class. However, opportunities for increasing efficiency were also identified in the units examined. Advanced management methods, based on better utilization of human resources and maintenance infrastructure, should be implemented. These methods are used by leading defense companies, aviation companies and vehicle companies around the world. In addition to the financial savings, the implementation of these methods will allow the maintenance units to speed up their response times for the combat units who rely on them.
The conclusions of the assessment process and the suggested program (for maintenance units) were presented to Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi’s for his authorization, which was granted. Implementation of the plan will begin immediately and in a gradual process over the next several years in order to avoid causing damage to the operational capabilities and emergency readiness of the defense establishment. McKinsey will oversee the implementation of these processes over the next few years.
The Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, along with the Director General of the Ministry of Defense, Mr. Pinchas Buchris, are due to authorize additional sections of the efficiency plan in the near future.