Delivering projects for Defence despite pandemic 

The immediate impact caused by the pandemic has permeated through many industries. Defence is no exception. However, defence was able to quickly adjust to sudden changes such as reduced number of personnel on sites, online communication and new priorities.


On a normal day, Navy's base on Garden Island, NSW may have hundreds of people present working on programs, but with social distancing and other rules set as a response to COVID-19, the majority of them are now working from home. 
 

BAE Systems Australia is the managing contractor for the DDG sustainment program commissioned by the Commonwealth of Australia.

Co-located with a number of subcontractors and Navy at Garden Island, BAE Systems Australia coordinates and manages the development of the DDG sustainment solution. 

Shaun, the Deputy Enterprise Program manager, is one of those who remained on site. 

Shaun

He says that despite the restrictions, which saw 80 per cent of BAE Systems Australia employees work from home, the teams deliver services required by the Commonwealth: 

“It’s quite a sight to see. We are managing this complex program, with a large number of workers offsite and are still able to deliver it. It’s great to see it’s working.” 

Shaun explains that for most people being on site is integral to their work as they interact with the customer and multiple stakeholders. 

For the majority this has been replaced with online calls.

“We have noticed several instant changes. The email traffic has significantly increased and some people ended up working odd hours. We are trying to introduce some standard working routines to make sure we touch base with our staff and that they aren’t doing a large amount of additional hours.”

With less than a quarter of personnel on site, Shaun says they had to adjust to this environment and ways of working. 

Health and safety of our staff remains the priority for BAE Systems and staying connected is linked to it.

“It’s satisfying to see how the business can adapt to the current environment and maintain this focus on the health and wellbeing of our people.” 

Shaun says this challenge of adjusting to a new way of interaction, also brought a positive change: 

“There is an increasing amount of engagement across not just our organisation, but the Destroyer Enterprise and the Commonwealth.”

 

What could have impeded the work, instead brought forward the capability of the business to quickly adjust and respond to Defence’s changing priorities:

“There has been a shift in priorities and we are prioritising the maintenance activities to align with Navy’s requirements.” 

Some aspects of our everyday life have been irreversibly changed and transformed but, as Shaun says, the commitment to our work remains strong serving the national interests: 

“We are working in an area that is vital to the national security of Australia and I’m proud to contribute where we can.”


 
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BAE Systems Australia 8 May 2020