Steamship Authority launches implementation phase of HMS Consulting report’s recommendations

Posted: June 13, 2019

FALMOUTH (June 13, 2019) – After completing two of the 10 recommendations for improvement contained in an external review of its operations, the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority has moved into the implementation phase on the remaining eight (8) recommendations and set timetables for their completion.

Following a daylong public workshop and two additional days of staff work with representatives from HMS Consulting and Glosten Associates – the firms that, along with Rigor Analytics, performed the comprehensive review of the Authority’s operations that was released in December 2018 and February 2019 – proposed implementation plans were presented to the Authority’s Board at a meeting on Saturday, June 8, 2019 in Hyannis. The plans were approved by a unanimous vote of those members present.

“I, along with everyone at the Steamship Authority, appreciate the importance of this independent review of operations to identify areas for improvement. These multi-day workshops provided the Steamship Authority Board, Port Council and staff with additional context regarding the resources, risks and timelines necessary to support these projects moving forward,” General Manager Robert B. Davis said.

The Authority has developed implementation plans for the following projects:

  • Implementation of a Safety Management System (SMS) and a Quality Management System (QMS) in support of a move toward a process-based culture.
  • Implementation of a Learning Management System (LMS) in support of a move toward a process-based culture.
  • Developing a mission statement and promote it throughout the Steamship Authority and its constituent communities.
  • Developing and maintaining a strategic plan to provide the SSA with medium- and long-term decision-making guidance and a basis for measuring organizational performance.
  • Developing and maintaining metrics that are tied to the strategic plan for measuring the performance of SSA supervisory staff.
  • Satisfying the critical resource needs in the engineering department and further evaluate additional needs.
  • Realigning of operational departments and potential addition of an operations department head.

HMS and Authority staff agreed during the course of the workshop that two of the remaining recommendations – to hire a Health, Safety, Quality and Environment manager and to increase external recruiting – had been completed. Additionally, the Authority has added a director of marine operations to its management team to further a goal of realigning its organizational structure.

Mr. Davis noted that the timelines for accomplishing these improvements range from several weeks to several years and that, even after the projects are completed, maintaining the improvements will be an ongoing process for the Authority and its employees.

Following a Request for Proposals, the Authority Board voted in June 2018 to hire HMS Consulting for a contract price of $217,976 to conduct an independent review covering five aspects of the Authority’s operations: vessel operations, fleet maintenance, management structure, public communications and information technology systems. By the time the main portion of the report was released in December 2018 and the subsequent release of the Public Communications supplement in February 2019, the Authority had already made significant progress on improving its operations in a number of areas, including safety and training, vessel maintenance, operations, information technology, internal information management and public communications.

For more information on the Steamship Authority’s implementation of the HMS Consulting recommendations, including more detailed implementation plans and a timetable for the projects, visit