HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The basic thrusts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Value Engineering programs are to increase project value by proactively searching for and resolving issues through very open, short-term workshops.
Over the last year, Carlos Reis, U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville’s Value Engineering program manager, has overseen VE workshops at Huntsville Center aiming to stretch precious taxpayer resources.
Reis managed seven VE workshops for Huntsville Center in 2022, six for the Installation Support and Programs Management Directorate’s Facilities Division and one for the Ordnance and Explosives Directorate. Each workshop focused on the program’s required functions through SAVE International’s Value Methodology, a systematic and structured approach for improving projects, products, processes, services and organizations. SAVE International is the premier international society devoted to advancing and promoting the Value Methodology. The Society provides its members education and training, publications, certification, promotional tools, networking and recognition.
As Huntsville Center’s lone Value Engineer Program manager, he performs his duties according to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 1121, 1711), which requires each executive agency to establish and maintain cost-effective Value Engineering procedures and processes. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-131 requires Federal agencies to apply VE procedures to all new projects and programs identified in the agency's VE guidelines.
The USACE VE Program has been applying the Value Engineering methodology to programs and projects since 1964, demonstrating USACE cost effectiveness. The workshops Reis oversaw last year last an average of three to five days, and Reis said planning is key preparing for a workshop.
“Initially a Value Management Plan is completed to gather program information and workshop goals,” Reis said.
After a pre-workshop meeting is held to iron out final details, Reis said a certified facilitator is hired to run the workshop. Once the workshop is completed, a final report is issued by the contracted facilitator so program managers can keep track of improvement proposals and ideas.
“The program managers are responsible for proposal implementation,” Reis said.
Steve Light, OE Directorate’s Chemical Warfare Materiel Design Center chief, oversaw bringing together the OE team for the workshop they conducted in October.
“I brought in a diverse team of project managers, contracting and field coordinators to share in the week of brainstorming with contractor facilitating and helping the team ideas develop ideas about where improvements can be made,” Light said.
According to Light, the week was a prime example of the stages of group psychological development as the team went through the forming, norming, storming and performing.
“A lot of the team was quiet at the beginning of the week, but by the end of the week everyone was involved,” Light said. “Literally it was just taking the time together in a room without other commitments to think, talk, explore, and discuss ideas and approaches. Free thinking allows for new ideas to emerge and sets a vision for the future, and our team worked to rethink approaches to issues.”
From a business perspective, Albert “Chip” Marin III, Huntsville Center Programs and Business Director, said the VE program simply ensures Huntsville Center meets mission requirements and every dollar saved via the application of VE is a dollar that can be used elsewhere in our Army or Department of Defense to better enable mission readiness for our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines.
“The Value Engineering (VE) Program ensures either programmatically or by project that we are planning, designing and constructing efficient and effective facility, utility and infrastructure that meets mission required-characteristics at a fair and reasonable cost,” Marin said.
“There is a quote by Benjamin Franklin that describes just how important the little things such as a single dollar can be, it reads ‘For want of a shoe, the horse was lost. For want of a horse, the rider was lost. For want of a rider, the battle was lost. For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost, And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.’ Every dollar counts.”