MOD "May sacrifice equipment plan"

  donki 16:28 27 Mar 2008

click here-

Just another place where the government seems to playing with are taxes like Monopoly money. Some really long delays and huge over running of budgets. Now I beleive are troops in Iraq and Afganastan should have the best technology at their disposal but surely better budgeting and planning should be in place?

  Monoux 16:36 27 Mar 2008

And at a time when coroners are laying the blame for some service personels deaths firmly at the door of penny pinching by the MOD.

  Clapton is God 20:14 27 Mar 2008

I wasn't aware that the MOD had any 'plan' or even any idea, come to that.

I once worked with someone who had been seconded to my office from the MOD.

He was a typical civil servile and, God help our servicemen and women, was in charge of acquisition at the MOD.

His main 'skill' seemed to be in writing reports.

The only problem was that those 'reports' invariably ran to more than 12 pages to draw the same conclusion that any normal person would probably do in half a paragraph.

  laurie53 20:19 27 Mar 2008

I was involved with the then Procurement Executive for a number of years.

One of the problems with MoD contracts is that uniformed personnel involved in the projects change several times over the course of the project, with the normal practice of posting people on, as opposed to the civil servants and contractors' personnel, who tend to stick with a project from inception to completion.

As each new person gets to grips with the project they decide to change the spec (doesn't matter how good the spec already is, they have to do something, to get themselves noticed in post), thereby delaying it and adding to the cost.

The contractors are only too happy to re-quote the contract, and the civil servants have a similar problem to the the one above, their minister rarely stays in post (or even in Government) for the life of the project and, once again, has to do something to get noticed for history.

The best and most successful projects are those where a manufacturer has produced something and then sold it to the MoD as a finished product.

Unfortunately no company in the world can now afford such an approach.

Oh for a Barnes Wallis. Design a bomb, find there is no aircraft to carry it, so design an aircraft too!

  Jim Thing 21:27 27 Mar 2008

"Oh for a Barnes Wallis."

I'll second that! But where are we going to find one now that youngsters all want to graduate in Media Studies or Flower Arranging, and maths & physics aren't cool, just difficult and scary?

Please forgive the nitpicking, but wasn't it the Wellington that BW designed? 617 Squadron flew Lancasters, I think.

Apologies to all those who object to ex-services do keep creepin' in, don't it?

  robgf 11:57 28 Mar 2008

The problems are nothing to do with a lack of money, it's caused by wasting money.
I have worked for a couple of firms that supply the MOD with basic items and have found the MOD purchasing methods to be incompetent and drawn out. No commercial company would survive, if it behaved in the same manner.

Even for simple items, the testing period can be years and the samples you have supplied can become very outdated.
On one occasion, when the order was finally approved, I knew nothing about the spec, as my predecessor (who had left 8 years previously) had handled the samples.

The MOD also pay way over the odds for any item. The bosses rub their hands with glee when an inquiry from the ministry arrives, because they know that they will get at least 100% more for the product.
One fairly regular small job we produce, easily pays the daily overheads for our entire firm, yet takes a couple of people about 40 minutes.

The MOD need to completely replace their purchasing department, as they seem to have no idea of the prices they should be paying and design and materials wise, they are twenty years behind the rest of us.
I hate to think how much money is wasted when building something big like an aircraft carrier.

  laurie53 12:40 28 Mar 2008

"The MOD also pay way over the odds for any item."

Couldn't agree more. On one project I was involved in the manufacturer was trying to sell us a special tool at a cost of £60.

It consisted of a handle, with a rod on the end of which was a small disc about the size of a penny piece. This disc had two small pegs on it and the idea was that the two pegs were inserted into two corresponding holes on the device, and you rotated the tool 180 deg, thereby setting a gizmo on the device.

A colleague and I rejected this and told the manufacturer simply to make a screwdriver slot instead of the two small holes. Hardly a major design change.

We were overruled by a senior officer and the MoD bought 25 of the original design!

Totally illogical and unnecessary.

  robgf 13:23 28 Mar 2008

I agree entirely, the MOD simply do not accept suggestions. When I was younger and more idealistic, I would often suggest improvements to an old design, that would save money, or time and make the item better. But the suggestions would always be refused.

Some of our equipment is kept purely for MOD jobs, the construction methods are so old and obsolete, that no one else uses them.

The only time I have known them to react swiftly, was during the first gulf war, when the MOD was desperate for some equipment and allowed us to modify the designs, so that the job could be delivered asap.

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