BAE Systems Naval Ships – Quality Maturity Model Development


BAE Systems provide the world’s most advanced technology-led defence, aerospace and security
solutions. The globally recognised organisation is responsible for the design and manufacture
of Naval ships and submarines, as well as their state of the art combat systems and equipment.
Project7 [P7] commenced engagement with the Client to design and implement a Quality Maturity
Model [QMM], as a means to introduce effective, quality practice into every part of BAE Naval
Ship’s 4000-strong workforce and organisation – integrating modern quality principles as a way
of life.

The Model offers a blueprint for transformation to a proactive, process-led approach to quality
improvements, across all functions; supporting lower cost and on-time delivery of each vessel.
As well as challenging traditional Inspect and Repair quality cultures, to help improve Right First
Time [RFT] and Continuous Improvement [CI] cultures.


Prior to project activity, BAE were facing multiple issues, stemming from complex and extensive timescales.

Due to the complicated nature of Naval ships and their associated combat systems, the Client was regularly met with Design to Commissioning timescales of between five and seven years. Many issues which emerged during manufacturing, build and test phases have their origins in earlier supplier, procurement and design processes.

Such prolonged timescales can often cause delay and obscurity to feedback between functions – in turn, risking repeat concerns, high rework and correction costs. Consequently, this presents considerable obstacles in regard to timely problem-solving.


With these key issues at the forefront of the project, P7 created the Quality Maturity Model to
enact the concepts of:
• Internal customer and supplier handover points
• Agreed quality measures
• Prompt and structured problem-solving activity

The philosophy behind these concepts aids identification of issues and opportunities, helping to
build a Right First Time culture throughout the organisation.

The QMM developed by P7 consists of ten activity strands which mesh the behaviours, tools and
mechanisms required to help the organisation move from passive quality control to active quality

1. Leadership
• Quality metrics at handover point
• Leadership behaviours and governance to support activity

2. Communication
• Structured Quality reviews between internal functions
• Consistency of language and purpose across functions

3. Management
• Quality handovers or gateways to minimise functional silos
• Local ownership and authorship of processes

4. Behaviours
• Data-driven and logical decision making
• Situational Leadership

5. Risk Reduction
• Risk assessed process design
• Proportional problem-solving and controls

6. Management Reviews
• Outputs and deliverables checked to conform
• Managers and Leaders’ process confirmations

7. Continuous Improvement
• Structured problem-solving techniques
• Involvement and improvement programmes

8. Partnership
• Build internal customer and supplier relationships
• External supplier development activity

9. Customer Focus
• Stop Call and Wait escalation principles
• Agree critical Quality characteristics

10. People
• Capability mapping and development
• Assistance and training for success

The Management board provided strategic leadership for the model across the organisation,
with accountability through each Director. All functions identified facilitators to coach the detail,
support reporting, and, as the activity matured, participate in design of the Quality Maturity Model,
according to five level targets;

• Level 1 – Pathological: Compliance, when identified, enforced
• Level 2 – Reactive: Correction, when identified, enforced
• Level 3 – Calculative: Systems & Management to reach requirements
• Level 4 – Proactive: Self-correcting issues, building process robustness
• Level 5 – Generative: Quality is a precondition to all activity

Deployment of the QMM was progressed and supported through all functions over a five-year
period. Levels four and five of the model were developed collaboratively with the functional leads
to take account of internal process confirmations, external ISO audits, changes and developments
of ISO 9001 and EFQM models.

Deployment and achievement of the QMM step target was a key organisational objective, and as
a result was incorporated within the shared annual performance incentives for all Naval ships.

Impact on Performance