Original Date: 04/26/1999
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Space Leadership Council
Improving customer satisfaction has always been embedded in Marshall Space Flight Center’s (MSFC’s) enterprise goals and objectives. In the 1990s, the Center entered into a new era of doing business through better leveraging and partnerships where each partner is considered to be a customer. One of the first tests of using a leveraging/partnership approach was the International Space Station (ISS) involving MSFC; NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC); Teledyne Brown Engineering; Boeing; and Defense Contract Management Command, Birmingham. Recognizing that traditional practices were no longer conducive to this arrangement, MSFC and its partners established the Space Leadership Council (SLC) in January 1996. The SLC is a way to provide contractually compliant NASA products and services by improving communications and key processes to the satisfaction of its customers.
To ensure the project’s success, the SLC wanted to make improvements in communications, processes, proactive teamwork, performance and recognition, and employee development. Therefore, the group examined the common enterprise missions, goals, and objectives of its respective organizations to formulate a council that operated within these parameters. The SLC next set goals to establish, facilitate, and maintain a common communications network; meet or exceed NASA requirements and expectations for delivery of products and services; establish a viable commitment to achieve an honest focus on common goals; and improve the performance of all participants who supported the NASA project. To achieve these goals, the SLC formulated strategies that would identify customer needs and concerns, determine root causes and develop solutions, localize recurring problems, eliminate errors, plan for continuous improvement, and communicate successes and lessons learned. The SLC process consists of monthly meetings that rotate from partner to partner, where critical issues are addressed and mutually agreed priorities are set. Plans are jointly developed in pursuit of the group’s vision. Process action teams were also formed to produce fundamental change and process improvements. The SLC recognizes the performance and accomplishments of significant contributors at all levels throughout the partnership.
Since the SLC was implemented, the process action teams have actively pursued and impacted various issues such as personnel training needs, improvements in the acceptance data package process, the handling/shipping of high-dollar hardware, and a process for handling Alert Bulletins. The SLC is accomplishing its goals, and continues to evolve. As a result, communications have greatly improved and a common understanding is shared among all the partners. Other accomplishments include the establishment of a structured cooperation, collocation of partners to facilitate teamwork, and the sharing of quality assurance databases.
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