BREMERTON, Washington —
More than 700 employees at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility are taking advantage of portable tablet technology that increases efficiency, reduces delays and puts valuable information within reach, wherever they are working.
The tablets, which are part of the command’s Mobile Workforce Enablement initiative, have been rolling out across shops and codes during the past several years with many early adopters. MWE started with tablets to help address specific tasks but quickly evolved to more once end-users got hold of the technology.
“The creative ways tablet users have put this technology to work is impressive,” said Kip Dotson, MWE program manager, Code 200e, Engineering and Planning Department. “Those on the cutting edge have also been encouraging others to explore the possibilities so now the uses for the tablet have really started to snowball.”
Word-of-mouth increased the demand for the technology so the MWE Community of Practice was formed, providing early adopters of the technology a forum for sharing system advantages, quirks and opportunities for efficiencies. The group meets regularly covering topics such as usability issues, battery life, handheld scanners and functionality. Code 109, Information Technology, and Code 1120, Security, have been enthusiastic and instrumental in removing roadblocks and bringing additional ideas to the table.
“The lean office, security specialists, and IT leadership have all been amazing partners,” said Tonya Shuler, innovation, technology and safety lead, Code 200, Engineering and Planning Department. “They have put in a great deal of time and effort to move our command in the right direction, and all with a ‘yes, if’ positive, collaborative mindset. They always look to support their customer.”
This collaborative mindset paved the way to continue improving productivity and access to technology.
“We have successfully covered the shipyard with a wireless network and are now working to expand that network internal to the ships from bow to the stern and from the highest mast to the keel,” said Wade Schmidt, Chief Information Officer and IT Director, Code 109, Information Technology. “We have more than 4,500 laptops and 700 tablets in use and we expect to double those numbers in a year or two, and we are working to enable voice and video.”
As tablet use continued to gain strength across the command, a strategic planning session was held in January to explore ways to include mobile devices in production and business processes. Several programmatic ideas are now being worked to expand user access to information whenever and wherever it’s needed.
“If mobile devices like shipyard-approved phones and tablets were issued command-wide, we’d enter a golden era at PSNS & IMF,” said Nina Noket, pipefitter apprentice, Shop 56, Marine Pipefitters. “The need for paper processes, equipment, storage and supplies would be significantly reduced or eliminated.”
To help spread awareness of the technologies now available to teammates, the MWE CoP implemented a communication plan that included a logo designed by Robin Lee, visual information specialist, Code 1166, Visual Information Design Center.
“We wanted something modern and fresh that showed how deckplate workers and technology connect,” said Shuler. “We’re really pleased with the easily identifiable look that we can now use in briefs and outreach materials.”
Tablets are just one of the mobile technologies either in use or that will soon be used in the shipyard. The MWE CoP is also working on portable laptops and hard drives, handheld scanners, RFID and other technologies.