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NEWS | June 2, 2022

NSS-SY Spotlight: Waterfront pillar

By Aime Lykins Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility

The Naval Sustainment System-Shipyard Waterfront Pillar is more than simply a notion for operational improvement. It is a living program that empowers employees at all levels to express their ideas on how to work more effectively through following and improving Project Management Fundamentals.

The pillar focuses on education and training, planning ahead, coordinating with other shops and codes, day-to-day execution, removing barriers that delay tasks and elevating problems to project leads when necessary.

In the words of the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Michael Gilday, we must Get Real to Get Better, which means Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility must evaluate the facts and understand what the data collected from the shipyard is telling leadership.

“The Waterfront Pillar and NSS-SY positively impact the workforce by focusing on executing our PMF production system flawlessly,” said Rear Adm. Scott M. Brown, deputy commander, Naval Sea Systems Command Industrial Operations, following two recent visits to PSNS & IMF.

The vision of the NSS-SY Waterfront Pillar is safely repairing and maintaining submarines and ships, and returning them back to the fleet on time. The production system is centered on PMF, and applying these tried and true techniques to daily operations, and improving their deployment through shared best practices.

“My consistent message is that NSS-SY and the Waterfront Pillar are there for you to improve your ability to do your job and help our naval shipyards safely deliver high-quality work in support of the warships underlying our national defense,” said Brown.

From January through March 2022, an initiative team supporting USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) ran a schedule adherence pilot program using supervisor led daily priority lists to increase communications among the project team operating on a 24-hour work cycle. The pilot was conducted on Roosevelt’s propulsion area of responsibility, which represents 20 to 25% of the project’s scheduled workload. The schedule adherence pilot was centered on holding systems accountable to better enable employees to consistently perform their primary responsibilities while elevating barriers to assistant project superintendents. A team of more than 40 employees participated in the pilot and continually provided feedback on PMF processes to find the best adherence practices for future availabilities, to include USS Ohio (SSGN 726).

The program also created additional bandwidth for the supervisors and zone managers. The supervisor DPL meeting eliminated multiple one-on-one conversations throughout the day that would normally occur between a supervisor and multiple zone managers. Specifically for a zone manager, the program freed up bandwidth to focus on the Short Range View window to further identify and prevent problems from occurring.

“In my opinion, our greatest success was the organizational alignment of trades and management,” noted Greg Noah, Shop 56, pipefitter supervisor, who served in the role of in-plant pipefitter supervisor. “Another success was an increase of accountability. Having daily conversations concerning job specifics really put a spotlight on the work and what was needed to drive jobs to completion.”

The pilot has been proven as a success due to metric improvement and buy-in from supervisors and zone managers. The measurement of success was not only improved on-time starts and finishes, but daily work progression and increased throughput. The pilot changed the thought process to be more proactive than reactive.

“Measurable WINs are: improvement in on-time starts and finishes, resulting in reduction of work riding on time—all important aspects of maintaining an executable and predictable schedule,” said Patrick Cox, deputy assistant project superintendent for CVN 71. “The program centered on accountability by tracking day-to-day commitments and providing accurate details by doing the homework prior to the meetings.”

Going forward, the intent is to continue to use the processes implemented during the pilot and knowledge share the methodology to other AORs.

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