Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Maine —
“Take a number and wait, please.” Anyone who has been to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s Pass and ID Office has had the experience of pushing a button, taking their slip of paper, and having a seat to wait. Depending on how many people are ahead of you, you could be in for a long wait. Even after you wait for your turn to be called to the window, what if you have the wrong paperwork and your issue cannot be resolved? Now you have to start the process all over again. All that time was wasted causing frustration and loss of productivity due to time away from your work site. This scenario can now be a thing of the past thanks to the Pass and ID Office’s implementation of a new digital queueing software system.
The new digital queuing system is a mobile application that can be accessed via web browser or mobile device, utilized on a walk-in or call-in basis, and allows for appointments to be scheduled ahead of time. The team working the windows is provided a heads-up as to who is coming and what they are coming for, giving them the opportunity to communicate what paperwork is needed via the messaging function.
“The digital queue has been amazing,” said Pass and ID Office worker Joe Fox. “Numerous contractors and shipyard workers have told me they love the new system – it has certainly helped me do my job more effectively.”
In addition, this system can still easily handle walk-ins if the user prefers the traditional, “take a number and wait” method. Upon arrival people will be entered into the digital line by the pass office greeter. Users can also call the Pass and ID Office directly for assistance in scheduling a visit should they have any issues.
Implementation of this new system was inspired by a visit to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from Assistant Secretary of the Navy, James Geurts. During the visit, Secretary Geurts challenged the shipyard to look at available technologies and find ways to utilize them to make good processes great.
“Initial plans to roll out the system were accelerated when the team recognized that removing the physical line at the Pass and ID Office also supports the physical distancing requirements to minimize the risk of spread of coronavirus,” said Kostantine Karahalios from the shipyard’s Innovation Project (IPx) team, who took the lead on this project. “Everyone involved was energized by Secretary Geurts' call to action and dove in with an open mind and worked hard to make it a reality.”
What was initially designed to upgrade efficiency has had the added benefit of physical distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, giving both employees at the Pass and ID Office and those arriving on yard an additional layer of defense.
“One of our focus areas at the shipyard is on small improvements that add up to big wins,” said Shane Comer, IPx Deputy Project Superintendent. “This new digital queue app will avoid minutes, or hours in some cases, of non-value added work for each visit to the Pass and ID Office. Add that up over days, months, and years, and you get huge savings for our employees and contractors.”
The next phase of the project is to extend use of the software to the commercial vehicles inspection and base access process.
Innovation and improving efficiency in shipyard processes are vital to the NAVSEA goal of expanding the advantage for the U.S. Navy. The need to improvise, adapt, and overcome is amplified during the coronavirus pandemic. With this disruption in the standard order of business, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is looking beyond just being “open for business” toward improving our business with a new sense of urgency. Improvements to processes that result in saving time increase productivity, and in turn supports NAVSEA’s number one goal of on-time delivery of ships and submarines. Utilizing existing technology to improve productivity and safety for the workforce helps move the shipyard forward as America’s leader in attack submarine maintenance and modernization.
To access the new digital queueing application online, visit: https://kiosk.na4.qless.com/kiosk/app/home/191