Operations Excellence Council minutes: Feb. 21, 2019
The Operations Excellence Council provides a senior management forum focused on delivering leading-edge science, and developing a strong commitment to, and culture around, research and operational excellence throughout the laboratory. The council supports timely, transparent and effective decision-making on operational programs. It communicates customer feedback, needs and priorities, and reviews lab performance targets and metrics.
Diversity and Inclusion Share
Kim Sawyer, deputy laboratory director for operations/chief operations officer, provided welcome remarks at this morning’s “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.” The event was well attended by students around the area, with tremendous support from mentors within the laboratory. Early introduction for these girls help build the pipeline for future generations of female engineers.
Maria Curry-Nkansah, chief operations officer for the PSE directorate, questioned the low population of African-Americans in the demographic data. A postdoc assessment is currently underway. Maria will be in touch with HRS Senior Director and Chief Human Resources Officer Julie Nuter.
Variable Pay Program
HRS Compensation Manager Kim Martens welcomed and introduced the Principal Compensation Analyst Jill Rea. Kim moved on to discuss the Variable Pay Program Project. This program rewards employees for the diverse exceptional contributions they make to the laboratory’s mission and other mission relevant outcomes.
The broad-based employee bonus plan project will have the following three stages:
- Discovery (February – March)
- Cover interviews with senior leadership team
- Create overall project communication plan for employees
- Conduct key stakeholder interviews and focus groups and create a presentation of findings
- Plan Design (April – July)
- Create straw models to be tested and refined
- Socialize final designs and conduct final approval meetings with Argonne internal sponsors, Argonne Compensation Committee and DOE Argonne Site Office
- Implementation (August – September)
- Create comprehensive program implementation and communication plans
- Develop revised administrative procedures and communication materials
- Communicate to all eligible employees by 9/15/19 (for FY2020 implementation with first payout 1/2021)
Sibson Consulting will conduct focus groups to obtain input from human resource managers, managers and employees.
Maria Curry-Nkansah pointed out that the current merit system requires participation on impactful projects to be eligible for bonuses. Maria asked how personnel selected for such projects are chosen to ensure all groups (including underrepresented staff) are afforded these opportunities. Julie Nuter indicated this was helpful input going forward as the pay analysis study is imminent for this this coming year.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Purnell introduced Sue Rogers, manager, business systems and reporting, Dave Skelley, BIS relationship manager, and Geethanath Marri of the University of Chicago. Purnell continued with an update on Workday Financials. Current issues include:
- Accounting configuration is not compatible with DOE requirements
- Implemented new chart of accounts tied to DOE Standard General Ledger
- Unreconciled accounts between financial system and STARS
- Mid-year cutover required two-system reporting
- Ineffective communication/change management
A draft organizational chart included two sub-committees; DOE Reporting and Internal Reporting. Kim commented that representation from directorates or division directors need to be added onto the second committee.
Dan Carlson asked Purnell what we’re doing to prioritize triage. Purnell indicated Vector tickets are assessed and addressed. Maria pointed out that Vector requests are closed out before a solution is in place. Jeff is working with BIS and Service Management to provide more effective on issues and develop a more robust solution. Kim Martens believes training needs to be addressed.
Next steps include finalizing governance model, complete detailed project plans, commence with communication plan and identifying additional resources to assure success.
ACTION: Chief operations officers will check with division directors to identify any current issues where sponsors are considering cutting off funds due to what they perceive as inaccurate financial data on their programs.
BIS Business Transformation Manager Michael Rabbitt introduced BIS Service Management and Support Manager Jim Dust, for a presentation on Service Management: the management and delivery of services that meet the needs of the customer, through a culture that promotes a customer-service mindset and continuous improvement. Two customer hubs for services include ServiceNow and Vector.
Service Management benefits to the lab include:
- Improved customer satisfaction
- High-quality services
- More effective communication
- Single access point to request Laboratory Operations services
The next steps include training for customer service. Service Management has been introduced to a few divisions with a few others scheduled.
EOF Division Director Dan Carlson discussed the Mechanisms Engineering Test Loop Operations in Building 308 (NE Division). The MTEL team is hopeful they can monitor remotely without manning the facility 24/7.
Karen Hellman, interim senior director for Infrastructure Services, mentioned the packaging of UF6 Cylinders in Building 350. The team will wear specific masks and gear during the removal and is educated with several techniques to keep safe. Although this is a risky operation, they are taking all the right steps to complete this job correctly.
PSC Deputy Associate Laboratory Director George Srajer talked about the high-risk work being conducted in AES: sputtered thin film deposition and vacuum oven operation. Subject matter experts completed reviews and noticed the released pressure valve was low. The system was not used for years and now involves cross-divisional communication.
Kim Sawyer appreciates the issues being brought up during the OEC. This is a forum and she encourages the sharing because transparency is important, as is accountability.