Jonathan Gordon (X43) and his crew stand with their KPI book. Photo by Lexi Whitehead

Celebrating the KPI Board of the Quarter Winners

Published November 16, 2022

Jeff Fose (X43), Jonathan Gordon (X43) and Charles McElrath (X18) and their crews won the inaugural key performance indicators (KPI) Board of the Quarter in the Virginia-Class Submarine Program.

A KPI board is a tool foremen use every day to facilitate conversation with their crews, typically at the start-of-shift muster. It includes information on safety, people, quality, throughput, cost, and actions and learnings.

These winners were selected among hundreds of their colleagues due to their active engagement with the development, sustainment and enhancement of their KPI boards over the last three months. This accomplishment reflects the hard work and dedication these three foremen have shown in using their boards to engage their teams and improve performance.

Charles McElrath and his crew stand in front of their KPI board. Photo by Lexi Whitehead

The Impact of an Outstanding KPI Board

Foremen use KPI boards to facilitate discussion, provide relevant information, and review the previous day’s performance and the upcoming work during muster. “It helps break the ice with the crew. It gets everyone talking. Once people are communicating, the day goes by with few issues,” Gordon said.

Having these conversations helps prevent issues and maintain a safe environment. For example, McElrath’s crew prioritizes the safety section on their KPI board and discusses the topic regularly to prevent injuries by reporting issues and reducing hazards.

Beyond using the boards as a basis for discussion, these foremen have found success because their boards highlight the information that the crew wants to see. Fose asked his crew what information would be helpful to them on the board and involved his crew in board development.

“We kept changing what was included until we figured out what the crew wanted to see on the KPI board,” he said. The process worked for Fose’s crew and led to an effective board. Members of the crew find it helpful to have a place to go to get information on performance and see the impact of their work.

Foremen have also used the people section of the board to highlight wins and successes, as well as recognize their crews. “I like when we recognize people on the crew. Getting recognition keeps team morale up,” said Deana Stephan, a member of McElrath’s crew.

Gordon and his crew feel similarly. They enjoy focusing on positives and celebrating each other’s successes, both in the shipyard and outside of work. This recognition has helped the crews embrace the boards and make them a part of their daily routine.

Jeff Fose and his crew stand in front of their KPI board. Photo by Lexi Whitehead

KPI Boards at VCS Moving Forward

In early 2022, the VCS Program implemented a new initiative for KPI boards to engage crews, align work toward goals, resolve issues and improve communication between the deckplate and leadership. “KPI boards are a key component of daily operations. They help the crew and foreman have an interactive conversation on the previous day’s events and the upcoming work. It benefits the team to understand their performance and whether they’re winning or losing on a daily basis,” said VCS Trades Director Scott Jones.

Like Fose, Gordon, and McElrath, other foremen are leveraging KPI boards to strengthen their crew’s performance and highlight relevant information for their teams. “We congratulate this quarter’s winners, and look forward to what the next quarter has in store from our outstanding teams,” said VCS Trades Director Vernon Eason.