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NEWS | Oct. 25, 2022

NSS-SY Spotlight: Planning Pillar

By Aime Lykins, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

Each U.S. Navy asset entering the shipyard has a unique journey, with planning and scheduling creating a roadmap toward successful project completion. The shipyard’s maintenance, modernization and retirement projects require detailed preparation and careful analysis to determine how many calendar and resource days will be needed to execute numerous evolutions. The Naval Sustainment System - Shipyards Planning Pillar helps command leadership determine where improvements can improve efficiency and reduce stoppages and unplanned work.

The NSS-SY Planning Pillar is focused on identifying and eliminating consistent sources of unplanned work, and to ensure adherence and accountability to the right planning processes. Unplanned work is historically high for Chief of Naval Operations availabilities; 30% for submarines and 22% for carriers. The goal of the Planning Pillar is to eliminate repetitive unplanned work and reduce total unplanned work by 5% for carriers and 13% for submarines. To support this focus area, the two primary initiatives implemented by the Pillar team are the Planning Improvement Control Board and the Milestone Adherence Board.

Chaired by Naval Sea Systems Command Program Executive Offices, which are responsible for all aspects of life-cycle management of their assigned programs, the Planning Improvement Control Board has been implemented to follow a discrete stagegated process to identify sources of unplanned work, assess root cause analysis, identify return on investment, establish impact targets, and realize resource-day savings based on availability timelines. The PEOs are organizationally aligned to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition.

“Rear Admiral Downey, PEO Aircraft Carriers, has become an advocate for the Planning Pillar and existing Carrier Team One processes that play well into the NSS-SY construct,” said Devin Johnson, project superintendent, Code 312, Aircraft Carrier Program Office. “His support and critical questions have caused us to modify the planning process to lock in external maintenance requirements a year before the availability starts. This will provide less churn on modernization and external maintenance requirements from outside the project team; allowing for a more consistent planning to execute the project.”

One NSS-SY inspired method to reduce unplanned work is to ensure an availability or recycling project has a mature, original work package established prior to starting work. To achieve this, it is critical that availability milestones are established to support the package lock key event. A package lock is securing an availability’s work package with what tasks are going to be required, specifically with respect to modernization or alteration type work items.

This requires that work packages are sequenced in a way that they support each other and are adhered to. Since no CNO availability has achieved 100% compliance, a Milestone Adherence Board, chaired by the respective PEO, has been established for both carriers and submarines to develop and track predictive metrics focused on adhering to key planning milestones.

“The MAB focuses on modernization readiness assessment milestones has greatly increased adherence to those milestones. It also requires planning product delivery to the shipyard project team for integration from the contractors and sponsors across the Navy,” said Johnson. “Prior to the focus from the MAB, we struggled to get installation team schedules at the required due date, and now we get 90% or more of the work schedules from installation teams by the due date.”

Every pillar in NSS-SY plays a part in ensuring our employees have the ability to function at their fullest potential, with the tools they need. Even when these pillars are strengthened individually, the whole shipyard has the potential to feel the benefit.

Employee feedback plays a vital role in providing leadership with the information they need to Fix or Elevate issues and keep our shipyards focused on the future. To share your ideas, contact your department NSS-SY advocate or visit the NSS-SY SharePoint page via the PSNS & IMF homeport, under the Projects tab.