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Pearl Harbor Shipyard Project Team wins Big on USS Louisville Availability

NAVSEA News Wire

Release Date: 5/24/2004

By Marshall Fukuki, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and IMF, Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR Hawaii -- Members of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard's USS Louisville (SSN 724) project team stepped up to the plate and hit out-of-the-park homeruns in reducing overtime and increasing work accomplished. The weapons of choice for the Shipyard's "Louisville Sluggers" were Theory of Constraints (TOC) and Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) concepts. All naval shipyards are applying these initiatives to improve productivity and efficiency as part of the Naval Sea System Command's (NAVSEA) Shipyard Transformation Plan. In early 2002, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard became the pilot yard for TOC/CCPM and initially tested the system at Fleet Maintenance Availability Project - Submarines (FMB). It was then extended to Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) availabilities. Louisville was the Shipyard's first submarine Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) to incorporate these concepts.

That wasn't the only reason for the Louisville project making it into the record books. The availability had one of the largest overall work packages (55,000 man-days) and lowest overtime rates (21 percent) among submarine SRAs completed in recent years at Pearl Harbor.

The project team's challenge included higher than normal maintenance and intensive modernization requirements. A huge amount of new work was added during the availability. The start of the SRA was delayed two months because Louisville was deployed for over eight months, which contributed to higher maintenance requirements upon her return.

In addition, a very large modernization package was done during the SRA. In spite of all this work, the project finished on time Jan. 10 according to the revised schedule.

Cmdr. Michael Jabaley Jr., commanding officer of the submarine, called the SRA "an unqualified success. The project team . returned Louisville to the fleet in fine condition, with an overwhelming advance in combat effectiveness.

"I appreciate the work done and thank the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for its outstanding effort."

Lt. Cmdr. David Hunt, project superintendent, said, "We had the right people to make the project successful."

The big difference between Louisville and other SRAs was the implementation of TOC/CCPM, he observed. "It's a behavioral change in the way you manage your performance. It's very hard to do when not everyone is . working to the same system."

Hunt scheduled nearly 100 key people associated with the project to receive anywhere from half a day to two weeks of training on the concepts. "It was something new to accept," said deputy project superintendent Clem Lopez, "but, as we went through the training and pre-planning phase, then actually executing our work using the Concerto scheduling program, we began to understand the tools and their benefits." One of these resources was the Concerto program. Compared to other scheduling software, "it was, by far, the best and easiest to use," said Hunt. "It gave us a clear-cut task priority list."

Assistant project superintendent Herbert Farm said, "It was a plus-up in managing priorities."

One of Concerto's features is a color code that flags jobs slipping in schedule. "It's structured to ID the jobs you should be working on," he said. "We saw the effectiveness of that on Louisville."

Lopez noted, "It's not perfect, but has a lot of potential. Concerto tells you straightforward the job tasking that needs management's attention. With PSS (Project Scheduling and Sequencing, the previous scheduling program), you would analyze various data points to identify a problem area."

TOC/CCPM employs a strategy of controlled release of work, said Hunt. Instead of opening up as many jobs as possible, "you only open those you can actually work to completion."

For example, instead of opening 20 jobs, you might only open two, he explained. However, by doing it that way, in the end all 20 are finished faster. "There's less multitasking for the workers, less pulling them away from job to job," Hunt said.

He also observed a drastic decrease in discrepancy reports filed by mechanics. The average number of outstanding Deficiency Logs (DLs) on an SRA is 25 to 30 daily, but Louisville was below 10 daily. "I had a highly motivated team dedicated to helping the Shipyard implement Theory of Constraints and Critical Chain Project Management . and giving the new system a fair shot," Hunt said. "At the end, we all saw the power of the new tool."

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