Breaking New Ground—Stories from Defence Construction Breaking_new_ground - Page 113

On May 18, 2001—50 years to the day after the birth of Defence Construction (1951) Limted—a new Memorandum of Understanding between DCC and DND was signed to update the terms of the working relationship. This MOU formalized the terms and conditions of the fee-for- service arrangement that had developed over the previous several years, and recognized that contracting and construction were not the only services offered by the Corporation. The service line evolution DCC’s vulnerability during program review and declining construction activity drove the Corporation to focus on efficiency—to provide quality construction-related services, but at the lowest possible cost, not necessarily optimizing the return on investment. As demand for services increased and service billing allowed more latitude in defining the business model, DCC broadened its lines of service and invested time and money in developing effective quality management systems. While marginally increasing unit costs, DCC changed its focus to become the best value service provider to DND by adopting the best practices of industry and leveraging its extensive knowledge of DND facilities, processes and people. The growth trend that started at the turn of the 21st century continued as a number of support functions traditionally carried out by the CF were demilitarized, and DCC was able to respond quickly to take them on. The scope of these services was very broad: from urban planning and policy development to facility management and the cleanup of unexploded explosive ordnance. Support to the Department’s project management efforts soon became DCC’s fastest growing service. It became evident that the scope and complexity of operations required a new management approach as pockets of expertise were developed and exercised in different parts of the Corporation and different locations. It became necessary to more formally manage knowledge, training, service quality and business intelligence within these areas of practice, and the concept of service line management used effectively by leading consulting engineering firms began to be discussed around the senior management table. A key issue that flowed from the expansion of DCC’s services to its client was the risk of having staff “reinventing the wheel” at various locations across the country as they developed contracts, procedures and best practices for these new services. In addition, it wasn’t always clear who DCC’s “go-to” expert was if staff in the field had questions. BREAKING NEW GROUND DEFENCE CONSTRUCTION CANADA 103