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NEWS | April 21, 2022

Improvement Processes Reduce Materials Backlog for Deck Plate Workers at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard

By Marc Ayalin Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility

Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF) has made strides recently by improving and streamlining a receipt inspection process for when maintenance materials and parts arrive at the shipyard.


The effort is part of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Naval Sustainment System – Shipyards (NSS-SY) program that began in 2019 as a pilot program designed to remove barriers to productivity. The process improvement at PHNSY & IMF was directed by leadership to resolve a bottleneck in the receipt inspection process, which allows certified individuals to approve parts or materials before they can be used in shipyard projects.


According to Dan Yamane, Director of Quality Assurance for PHNSY & IMF, the first half of 2021 had a significant backlog of those parts and materials requiring receipt inspection. This backlog affected the timely distribution of material and parts to shipyard projects undergoing maintenance availabilities.


“The backlog of material exceeded 1,600 items that needed inspection for projects and upwards of 1,900 items overall for all material, including non-project material,” Yamane said. “The backlog was preventing the projects from receiving the much-needed material to execute scheduled work on the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) projects such that key maintenance events were in jeopardy.”


According to Yamane, this issue required help from within the shipyard and from across the NAVSEA corporation to resolve. To engage in this process, a shipyard team from several shop codes was assembled to identify courses of action to solve the backlog problem. The first of these included having a diverse team of individuals from various PHNSY & IMF departments travel to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNS) in Kittery, Maine, to evaluate their processes. While at the New England-based sister shipyard,  the PHNSY & IMF team identified ways to streamline their own inspection process at home in Pearl Harbor. Another course of action was inviting several non-nuclear inspectors from other naval public shipyards to work at PHNSY & IMF to perform receipt inspections while several active-duty military personnel were re-assigned to assist within the receipt inspection branch.


Additional courses of action included required overtime that was implemented across the whole non-nuclear inspection division while the Engineering and Planning Department reduced the cycle time for resolving receipt inspection deficiency logs from weeks to a matter of days. The receipt inspection metrics were also changed to monitor performance on a daily basis. A value stream analysis was also performed for the entire material process from ordering to material delivery. Lastly, a material readiness team (MRT) was instituted to focus on critical material and a weekly schedule was issued to the projects and non-nuclear inspection that focused on shipyard priorities and job start dates.


“These actions resulted in a noticeable reduction in material within receipt inspection,” Yamane said. “Although, brute force actions were used to drive the backlog numbers down, the sustainable actions were tied to priority streamlining processes.”


For end users on the waterfront, this streamlined effort to reduce backlogs was a dynamic attempt in increasing the ability for deck plate workers to get their work done in a timely manner.


“Material delay time associated with receipt inspection has seen significant improvement since the shipyard team took actions to improve the process,” said Kevin Alford, project superintendent for USS Mississippi’s (SSN 782) extended dry-docking selected restricted availability (EDSRA). “Getting material into the hands of our deck plate workers is vital to our success at returning Mississippi to the fleet on time or early. We have experienced markedly fewer and shorter material delays thanks to these improvement efforts, allowing us to get needed material back to the waterfront and onto the submarine quicker than past availabilities.”


PHNSY & IMF is a field activity of NAVSEA and a one-stop regional maintenance center for the Navy’s surface ships and submarines. It is the largest industrial employer in the state of Hawaii, with a combined civilian, military and contractor workforce of approximately 7,100. It is the most comprehensive fleet repair and maintenance facility between the U.S. West Coast and the Far East, strategically located in the heart of the Pacific, being about a week’s steaming time closer to potential regional contingencies in the Indo-Pacific.    


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