Two Navy civilians assigned to Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Corona Division have developed a web tool that is revolutionizing the way the Navy does business.
Enter eCANNAB; a one-stop, web-based material cannibalization management tool for type commanders (TYCOMs) and naval shipyards. eCANNAB allows users to process, track and report maritime cannibalizations across the fleet.
“Before eCANNAB existed, there was no central place to find the number of cannibalizations throughout the Navy and the shipyards,” said David Drake, operations research analyst and co-creator of the tool. “We solved that problem by not only consolidating that information and putting it all in one place but also by making it available to everyone in the Navy, enabling leadership to develop solutions to fix the process for requisitions of last resort.”
Gone are the days of poring over outdated spreadsheets and flipping through dog-eared pages in dusty green logbooks, with no way to get a holistic view of all material cannibalizations happening across the fleet. Now, the eCANNAB workflow application capability allows TYCOM and shipyard personnel to track, manage and route cannibalization actions in a single application.
The tool provides data within a business intelligence environment for metrics and reports and uses NSWC Corona data sources to correct and improve historical cannibalization data. eCANNAB integrates data from type commanders (TYCOMs) and shipyards, supporting automated reporting to higher echelons and decision-makers.
“Cannibalization is the last resort for requisition of any kind of material; anything on a ship that they’d need to meet their mission,” said Drake. “That could be anything from radar, sonar and weapons components to pumps, power supplies, engine components, damage control, propulsion equipment and more.”
Cannibalized parts are pulled from either mothballed or active, in-service “donor” ships, with cannibalization actions occurring daily. Reasons for cannibalization can include manufacturer delays, unavailable off-the-shelf parts and other supply chain challenges. Now that the Navy can track cannibalizations across the fleet and analyze trends, however, it can plan for extra parts or foreseen shortages to mitigate the impact.
“Let’s say the Navy notices a lot of one particular submarine part coming up for cannibalization in eCANNAB,” said Drake. “The Navy can now track that and develop solutions to try to avoid cannibalization for that part altogether in the future. It does amp up our overall readiness and ability to deploy.”
The application’s integrated workflow functionality streamlines the process of requesting and approving cannibalizations for users, reduces data errors, and provides near-real-time data for metrics and reports. Data entered from workflow analytical dashboards designed through Oracle Business Intelligence provide near-real-time metrics and reports of current and historical cannibalization actions, all in one central location.
The developers created eCANNAB in roughly six months, with the initial soft launch taking place in late 2017. Since then, NSWC Corona has been working to add upgrades and new features during periodic “Spiral” releases. Spiral 2 was completed in September 2020, with bi-monthly deployments throughout fiscal year 2021. The latest release, 2.3.3, was deployed May 7.
Apart from providing fleet and enterprise cannibalization visibility, eCANNAB helps quantify material readiness impacts. It is sponsored by fleet commanders and utilized by both fleet and system commands, including Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and Naval Supply Systems Command as the primary tool to manage cannibalization processes and reporting.
“I feel this is the most important thing I have worked on in my time as a NAVSEA employee,” said Drake. “That is a pretty strong statement, but this will directly contribute to Navy ship readiness. It allows both short- and long-term solutions for material shortages.”
Kevin Barrett, fleet assessments branch manager and co-creator, agreed.
“This gives the Navy the ability to capture, validate and utilize cannibalization data to enhance fleet readiness,” said Barrett. “It starts with having experienced the shortcomings of previous processes and systems and understanding the problem you want to solve for the fleet.”
The previous cannibalization process was antiquated and dependent on naval messages, spreadsheets and emails with no centralized or easily accessible database. That led to the inability of Navy Sailors and civilians to gather metrics, present accurate and complete data, and track material “paybacks” from the borrower to the donor ship, restricting systems command efforts to take responsive and immediate corrective actions.
“When I was on active duty, I lived through the inability to use anything but very basic record-keeping for this process, so there’s nothing like the school of hard knocks to help you come up with a vision, then carry that vision to making it a deliverable to help the Navy solve problems,” said Barrett.
The future of eCANNAB will include expansion for other emergent material requests like material diversions and cross decks. Additionally, NSWC Corona is already working to increase the accessibility of eCANNAB on more Department of Defense networks, such as Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES).
“We have spent a lot of time focusing on how NSWC Corona can lean forward to help make the Navy five- and 10-times faster, and this is a great example,” said Commanding Officer Capt. Khary Hembree-Bey. “One good idea from a talented teammate became a game-changing data tool for the entire fleet in a matter of months. It is now completely flipping the way the Navy has handled these transactions for many years. It’s about doing our part to help build that better, more modernized, networked fleet. We’re proud of what Mr. Drake and Mr. Barrett have created in support of our nation’s warfighters.”
NSWC Corona Division has served as the Navy's independent assessment agent since 1964. With more than 3,900 engineers, scientists and support personnel, Sailors and contractors, NSWC Corona is located in Norco, California, with detachments in Fallbrook and Seal Beach and personnel in 14 additional locations. The NAVSEA field activity provides transparency for warfighting readiness through data analytics and assessment, engineers the fleet’s Live Virtual Constructive training environment, and assures the accuracy of measurements as the engineering advisor for the Navy and Marine Corps metrology and calibration programs.