hroughout the nation, the 1990s has been a period of belt-tightening and streamlining, as economic realities have driven innovative efforts to sustain excellence at a lower cost. At Berkeley Lab, 1995 witnessed a major Laboratory-wide process improvement program that will yield a $5 million annual savings in operating costs. Such restructuring, including a 15-percent reduction in overhead support of Operations and Directorate units, will allow the Laboratory to continue its world-class science output at a lower cost to its customers.

Led by Deputy Director of Operations Klaus Berkner, the comprehensive review and assessment process identified duplications, low-value activities, and improved methods of performance. Modest staff reductions and more efficient service delivery ensured that the Laboratory would remain cost-competitive with a leaner, more responsive support structure. Early process improvements included a transition to electronic time-reporting and procurement systems, restructuring of the delivery of services in Environment, Health and Safety, and consolidation of site services.

A new Administrative Services Department was established, beginning an effort to move from many self-contained administrative support structures to a shared-resources system, designed to serve units that are aligned either geographically or programmatically.

The Department of Energy, under its new financial plan, launched a national campaign for economy and downsizing to accommodate an anticipated $14 billion, five-year budget reduction. In partnership, the DOE/Oakland Operations Office and Berkeley Lab pledged to rethink the way jobs were traditionally accomplished, and jointly committed themselves to seven principles of operation to guide their work. The principles became a national model within the DOE network:

DOE oversight will move from "prescription and permission" management to performance evaluation.
DOE will not duplicate oversight responsibility which resides in other agencies.
The intent of oversight will be to assess contractor management systems, commensurate with the risk to DOE.
The DOE/Laboratory complex will institute outcome-based management assessment and apply best management practices and commonly accepted industry standards.
Laboratory contractors have full responsibility and accountability for all of their adminstrative, programmatic and regulatory functions.
DOE's role is scientific program definition, stewardship, planning and funding of Laboratory programs and infrastructure, and performance review.
The goal is to consolidate management activities by eliminating redundancy and integrating functions to achieve cost-effectiveness.

As an outgrowth of these principles, DOE and the Laboratory revised established requirements for work-for-others proposals so that cycle time for approval was cut in half-an achievement cited by the Secretary of Energy as exemplary.

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