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NEWS | Nov. 26, 2019

Shipyard and consulting group team up to improve processes

By Max Maxfield, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

When representatives from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility and from the Boston Consulting Group teamed up to improve processes and workflow in Shop 31 Work Center-402, Ball valves, they realized they would need to physically transform the ball valve workspace in conjunction with process improvement to reach their overall workflow improvement goals.

According to Romel Ramos, a machinist (bench mechanic) with Shop 31, the inside machinist shop, employees from Shop 31, with help from employees from Shop 71, Painters and Blasters; and Shop 56, Pipefitters, worked together to create a more productive workspace in the ball valve work center. This included getting rid of “clutter” and adjusting the floorplan.

“The biggest change in my opinion was getting rid of the clutter: unnecessary cabinets, old chairs, and extra equipment that hasn’t been used in a while,” said Ramos. “Our new floor plan makes for a more smooth and organized workflow, and with the assistance of the status board, it gives us a better understanding of the progress of each job and what future work still needs to be done.”

The momentum and command support behind the Naval Sustainment Systems-Shipyard effort also helped fix some equipment challenges the mechanics had been working around.

“The biggest change to the machine side of Ball Valves was when leadership was able to fast track our second Vertical Turning Lathe, getting it hooked up to power and inspected by maintenance,” said Alec Fosmo, a machinist with Shop 31. “With this second VTL now being operational, I can double my work capacity, get more components repaired, and get back to other projects more quickly.”

Shop 31 employees were able to transform the workspace while continuing ball valve work center operations.

“Employees who didn’t have the proper qualifications for certain jobs, or those whose work was at a standstill were delegated to making the changes within the section,” said Adam Shepard, a machinist (bench mechanic) with Shop 31. “The ordering of equipment and machine hook-up was also moved up in priority.”

A new lunch area was also created away from the workspace that will help ensure dirt, parts being repaired and food are all kept separate from each other. While most of the workspace transformation is complete, there are a few other improvements that still need to be made.