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NEWS | July 21, 2022

NSS-SY Spotlight: Inside Shop Pillar

By Aime Lykins, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility

A new standardization and improvement process is underway at all four naval shipyards thanks to a pilot program at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

The Naval Sustainment System-Shipyard Inside Shop Pillar focuses on predictability regarding work completion, and improving repair and manufacturing capabilities. During the preliminary stages of the NSS-SY program, a Production Control Center was established within PSNS & IMF’s Shop 31, Inside Machine Shop, to help meet that goal.

“The mechanics and supervisors in Building 431, Inside Machine Shop, are very good at what they do, but they have had to work around a system that doesn’t fully support them,” said Ray Howard, NSS-SY Inside Shop and Infrastructure lead. “The efforts from the Inside Shop Pillar and NSS-SY team aim to improve that system.”

Using visual tools, the PCC is designed to proactively monitor and remove workflow disruptions and provide non-stop execution of work, including critical path, controlling path, and critical systems work to meet project deadlines. This requires a dedicated inside shop team, supporting trades and code representatives.

As the NSS-SY Inside Shop Pillar gained steam, it was determined that the Shop 31 PCC would be an effective tool for all the machine shops within the corporation, which initiated an effort to bring all four shipyards into alignment. Over time, a Standard Operating Procedure was developed to help each shipyard stand up a PCC, and establish a framework for meetings, communication practices and processes.

As part of initial work center operational improvements, an improvement plan was developed for select work centers within Shop 31 to include Hydraulics/Air, Short-run, Complex Cell, Valves and Miscellaneous. Improvement plans for the remaining Shop 31 work centers will be implemented throughout 2022 and into 2023. Each Shop 31 work center will go through a four-week improvement, modernization and standardization process, the first step being a Lean 5S workplace cleanup and the installation of crew boards. Improvements will have a direct impact on the work center’s ability to increase capacity, and improve the core metrics for on time deliveries and production throughput.

“The work center standard transformation process will create clean, organized and safe working environments,” said Mike Jeppesen, Shop 31 operations director. “This process will increase workflow by identifying areas for incoming and outgoing laydown areas, create areas for work in process, and stopped assist trade laydown areas. This will put in place clear and identifiable label plates and signs for each process area and work stations.”

Equipment and process trainings will be built into work center standardization plans in an effort to help existing and new mechanics develop and adhere to best practices. The purchase of new tooling, equipment and machinery will have a direct, positive impact on work centers and their ability to increase throughput.

“The Machine Shop has been labeled as 'the black hole' for many years due to the fact the work being accomplished on the components and parts are not visible to anyone outside the building,” said Jeppesen.

“Many people do not realize that when a component is disassembled and inspected, it may need multiple repairs and require manufactured parts. Repair work is accomplished in multiple work centers throughout the shop, requiring all components to come back together for assembly and testing. Currently we have an antiquated system that does not allow us to build a comprehensive schedule for all that work,” he said.

With a goal of 80% on time starts and deliveries, the PCC and work center operational improvements will help the Inside Shop meet its target. The next step to improvement is proper scheduling.

“Proper scheduling for Inside Shop is the next target and we are teaming with other pillars to accomplish this. It’s about making the system work for supervisors and mechanics, so they can work start to finish,” said Howard.

A collaboration between the Inside Shop and Waterfront Pillars is being put together to determine the path forward to build a project management system which will allow schedule capability and visibility to all.