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curve.gif Best Practices Surveys: Survey Process
        BMP Program (description)
(Winner of the Innovations in American Government Award)

The Best Manufacturing Practices (BMP) Program has changed the cultural bias of the U.S. industrial base toward technology transfer from a close hold, company-proprietary mentality to a more open, willingness-to-share-expertise attitude. This attitudinal cultural change is enabling companies to deliver higher quality goods and services to their customers and increase their competitiveness - both individually and as teammates, subcontractors, or suppliers - in the global marketplace. BMP was created in 1985 to overcome the wide and very costly variances in the quality of goods and services being received by the Navy from contractors throughout the United States. As the Navy went to its suppliers, it found that manufacturing process problems faced by one contractor had frequently been solved by another contractor. The Navy saw a simple solution to its quality, cost, and reliability problems - get the contractors to share how they solved problems. However, in the highly competitive world of defense contractors, the concept of sharing jealously-guarded information was not only unpalatable, it was considered unthinkable.

BMP's credo of sharing knowledge, insight, and experience created a unique data gathering, validation, dissemination, and application initiative to reverse the anti technology transfer bias and get the Navy's contractors to exchange their process improvement techniques and problem solving methods. Because many Navy contractors also supplied the other military services and because many other firms were subcontractors or suppliers, BMP's innovative initiative ultimately could be applied across the entire U. S. industrial base.

The BMP Program is based on companies' voluntary sharing of information and is executed through its unique on-site survey process. Teams of impartial experts from government, industry, and academia document best practices worthy of sharing. These surveys are not audits, a concept largely misunderstood in 1985. Today, more than 150 surveys have been conducted, more than 5,000 practices documented, how-to guidelines published, an Internet site established making BMP's resources easily accessible, and a partnership set up with the Department of Commerce and the University of Maryland at College Park. BMP's Center of Excellence and ten satellite centers around the country serve the entire Department of Defense and all of American commercial and government industry.

BMP's goal is to improve the quality, cost, and reliability of goods and services provided to the Department of Defense. BMP is meeting that goal and has spread the benefits of its goal to a wide range of other customers beyond it's original target [The Navy acquisition community.] The data gathering, validation, dissemination, and application innovation has made BMP a credible "honest broker" for technology transfer. BMP is helping the U. S. industrial base change its culture to meet the increasing pressures in global marketplace competition by fostering cooperation among firms to maintain U. S. dominance.