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NEWS | April 2, 2019

Bush Project Implements New Initiative to Save Time and Improve Workflow

By April Brown

Throughout their lives, people look for ways to improve. When it comes to the workforce of Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) and naval assets that come in for maintenance, processes are frequently researched, and analyzed on how they can be better.
Rob Bogle, NNSY Lead for Implementation, is part of a cross-functional shipyard and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) team that looked at the Job Readiness Cell (JRC) used by the shipyard, and came up with a plan that would improve the way business is done on the waterfront in a way that is valuable to both NNSY and its ships undergoing maintenance.
USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) is
PHOTOS BY SHELBY WEST • NNSY PHOTOGRAPHERthe first project at NNSY that is part of a new Lean Six Sigma process, incorporating Point of Use (POU) as part of the JRC structure which continues to build teamwork, relationships, and inspire and create innovations that help the shipyard and naval assets complete their missions. JRCs began several years ago at NNSY to provide project mechanics tooling, material, consumables and a work facility co-located with the carrier or submarine—or sometimes even on the ship.
"Ships and Sailors belong at sea,” said Bush Commanding Officer Sean Bailey. “We welcome new efforts to improve efficiencies and we are optimistic that our combined efforts will help make this the most successful Docked Planning Incremental Availability (DPIA)."
To commemorate the historic event, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held on March 8 for the new POU in Bldg. 369 that showcased materials, tools, and storage that will eliminate valuable loss work time.
“This change is something we really needed. Under the old system with the JRC, we had a team of ‘spiders’ and ‘striders.’ Each work cell had spiders who would identify all of the consumables and all of the tools that would be needed for the work execution,” said Bogle. “The strider team members would have to go to a lot of different locations across the shipyard picking up tools, materials, and consumables, which caused workers to lose valuable work hours.”
After research, analyzing data, and following the steps of process improvement, the team came up with a streamlined plan that would effectively reduce lost work time. It is configured from a centralized work execution area, and increases workflow by adding portable tool rooms, a central material envelope for the kitting of materials, various methods for obtaining consumables, and a rip out material laydown area manned by a pier master to account for everything that is removed from the ship.
“This type of execution area is open to support every shift worked during the availability. This POU system is not only valuable, it is essential to our mission because it will help drive good work behaviors,” said Bogle. “With this, the workers don’t have to stop work and go across the shipyard to get a tool or material, carry tools or materials around, or leaving them in a job box somewhere.”
This new process allows the workers to pick up their kit at the beginning of their shift, go to their designated work area, perform their job, and at the end of the shift, they will drop off any rip-out materials they have to the pier master.
“Having the POU in place is really going to improve the project environment for our mechanics executing value added work. It is vital that we effectively utilize the productive capacity of every mechanic, which helps us get closer to the goal of completing each availability on time or ahead of schedule,” said Thomas Perri, Code 900P Engineering Technician.
He added, “We are working on getting color coded radio-frequency identification (RFID) Material Control Tags (MCT) that would provide a reliable and efficient method of visual identification of the intended storage location/destination and the ability to electronically track our valuable naval rip-out material assets.”
The RFID goal is to provide the ability to identify the location of rip-out material 24 hours a day and throughout the entire availability.
“When fully implemented the RFID MCT’s would provide real time tracking of every piece of rip-out material as it flows through the repair/refurbishment process, including each time it is sent back to long or short term storage locations,” said Perri. “The tags would save valuable man hours and money by dramatically reducing the risk of misplacing or losing rip-out material.”
The Lean Six Sigma team project members are excited about how the new changes are going to have a positive impact on the shipyard, morale, and project execution.
“This process is intended to value the time you spend here at America’s Shipyard, and increase your potential to perform real work that will contribute to our mission of delivering ships back to the fleet safely and with first time quality,” said Shipyard Commander Captain Kai Torkelson. “The Point of Use is a perfect example of taking care of our workforce on the waterfront by centralizing the project teams and their materials needed to complete their jobs throughout the DPIA.”
The new POU is part of the shipyard’s optimization plan. The shipyard’s Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Process Improvement Team assigned to the ship will continue to analyze and improve processes throughout the availability. The results and metrics will add value to improve elements and processes for future availabilities.