Louisiana Center for Manufacturing Sciences (LCMS)

The LCMS initiative studied measures for improving production planning in the U.S. shipbuilding industry.  This study involved a comprehensive survey of current production practices in Tier 1 and Tier 2 shipyards and development of a TO-BE production planning environment for these shipyards.

KBSI was awarded a contract by the Louisiana Center for Manufacturing Sciences (LCMS) to study measures for improving production planning in the U.S. shipbuilding industry.  The study involved a comprehensive survey of current production planning practices in Tier 1 and Tier 2 shipyards, development of a TO-BE production planning environment for these shipyards, and development of a roadmap for implementing and achieving the TO-BE vision.

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Common Parts Catalog (CPC™)

The CPC™ initiative developed a standardized process and methodology for product characteristics/data modeling that allows Tier 2 shipyards to represent and communicate part information without ambiguity or redundancy.

A common problem in the shipbuilding industry is the lack of standardization in parts catalogs; in other words, the industry lacks a standardized process or methodology for product characteristics/data modeling that would allow them to represent and communicate part information without ambiguity or redundancy.  For individual organizations, this void results in large, unwieldy, and unorganized catalog systems that make it difficult to search for and re-use parts.  A typical second tier shipyard has a parts catalog with at least three to four times the number of parts currently in use by the enterprise.  Over time, when existing parts cannot easily be located, duplicate parts with new part numbers are created, perpetuating and exacerbating the cataloging problems.

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Facility Engineering Work Products System (FEWPS)

In the FEWPS initiative, KBSI leveraged the eTEAM solution for life cycle product management to create a system for tracking and managing requests in the development of facility engineering work products.

The process of developing complex systems or products typically requires participation from multiple specialties and organizations:  domain stakeholders, technology engineers, modeling and simulation analysts, system engineers, and managers.  Managing this development, because of the inherently complex, long-term, and multi-organizational nature of the work, is a challenging proposition that involves a number of facets and tasks:  request instantiation, disposition, and monitoring; generating and submitting a requirements package; tracking the outcomes of submissions; monitoring the status of outcomes; and generating reports, budgeting, and prioritization.  These operations currently tend to be performed manually and, as a consequence, are labor intensive and prone to errors.  There is no collaborative working environment and no centralized access to data.

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Sustainment Technologies for Aircraft Depot Maintenance (S-Physics)

KBSI is developing a roadmap for depot information integration and situation based planning, scheduling, and control system support.  KBSI is taking a scientific approach, studying the MRO environment, its fundamental nature, the underlying physics of MRO operations and processes-planning, scheduling, execution, control—the issues of dealing with aging workloads, and the processes that perform the repair.

The driving principle at the core of the Sustainment Technologies for Aircraft Depot Maintenance (S-Physics) initiative, now in Phase III, is that planning and scheduling in a depot maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) environment is a unique activity.  Manufacturing systems make explicit the need for prior planning:  i.e., the coordination of resources prior to the initiation of the work.  Manufacturing systems assume that the lead-time to perform the coordination of resources (whether it be an acquisition activity, worker training, etc.) can be described and used in determining the appropriate schedules used by shops and management for setting baselines, tracking work, and setting budgets.  In the MRO environment, however, these systems prove inadequate.  The information managed by such systems is insufficient, and maintained at the wrong level of granularity does not incorporate knowledge of the true state of repair (with respect to work or resources) as well as provides faulty baselines based on infeasible plans and therefore schedules and provides skewed estimates of the resource requirements necessary to complete a given workload.

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Medical Materiel Knowledge Discoverer (MMKD)

MMKD is a configurable, dashboard driven knowledge discovery system that allows users without data mining expertise to perform cutting edge knowledge discovery.  The technology helps the DoD Medical Logistics community meet the challenges of troop deployments in ever widening combat scenarios.

The Medical Materiel Knowledge Discoverer (MMKD) is a knowledge discovery system for the Department of Defense (DoD) Medical Logistics community that goes beyond simple data mining.  The changing nature of military conflicts in the world favor an emphasis on the rapid deployment of troops in an ever-widening variety of scenarios and locales.  These developments raise significant logistical challenges and risks for, among other military branches, the DoD medical community.

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Agile, Wireless-Enabled Workflows for Ship Manufacturing & Repair (AWSM™)

The AWSM™ technology represents a new paradigm for ship manufacturing that redesigns manufacturing processes and uses computing and wireless technologies to deliver information–activity statuses, resource availability, design and scheduling changes–to every user, work crew, or process involved in the project.

A central challenge in any large-scale manufacturing environment is to effectively adjust to production and procurement glitches that ripple across and continually threaten manufacturing schedules.  The ship manufacturing industry is no exception.  With manufacturing projects that stretch over years and involve numerous divisions, materials, facilities, and manpower, how can U.S. shipyards achieve the kind of proactive flexibility needed to develop and maintain the most efficient and cost-effective production schedules?

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Transformation in Maintenance & Repair (XFMR)

The XFMR solutions concept allows for interactive critical chain re-sequencing, constraint violation identification, and automated critical chain plan option generation.  These capabilities are transforming Air Logistics Center (ALC) operations to warrior-centric, highly adaptive, and more efficient sustainment enterprise activities.

The Transformation in Maintenance and Repair (XFMR, or “transformer”) research effort identified the critical method and tool technology voids that must be addressed in transforming Air Logistics Center (ALC) operations to warrior-centric, highly adaptive, and more efficient sustainment enterprise activities.  Central to addressing these voids is a set of key technologies that support a critical chain program management (CCPM) approach based on Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints (TOC).  The XFMR solution concept includes a set of Critical Chain deconfliction tools that provide critical chain re-sequencing, constraint violation identification, and automated and optimized critical chain plan option generation.

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Ship’s Lifecycle Affordability Model (SLAM)

SLAM takes a systems dynamics approach to cost modeling for the U.S. Navy’s early-stage life-cycle cost estimation.  This innovative approach combines discrete, linear, and hierarchical cost-estimating methods with activity based costing and non-linear system dynamics modeling tools to create cost models that refine themselves.

Cost estimating methodologies and tools currently used by the U.S. Navy do not accurately determine the impact of early-stage design decisions on either acquisition or life-cycle sustainment costs.  Early-stage cost estimation in ship building is an inherently difficult task due, in part, to the absence of firm definitions for specific ship components, including those for the structural design, propulsion system design and components, combat system design and components, and most auxiliary systems definitions.  Many of these details, in fact, are not known until later design stages.

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Material Identification & Procurement System (MIDAPS™)

One of the most significant, on-going problems facing shipbuilders today, in both new construction and ship repair is the inability to efficiently identify, procure, and deliver to the job site the material necessary to complete the job.  Exacerbating this difficulty is the tendency for job materials lists to be developed over an extended period of time rather than all at once at the outset of building or repair operations.  Most of the major equipment list and materials are identified prior to the contract signing as part of the estimate, while the balance of material requirements are identified as work progresses, providing little or no lead time for engineering, purchasing, or other departments to effectively perform their functions.  This kind of halting procurement scheduling further compresses an already tight production schedule, placing additional stress on material management coordination and supporting information systems.  The results are inflated cycle times, less than optimal throughput, and devastating cost overruns.

KBSI’s Material Identification and Procurement System (MIDAPS™) automates the planning, procurement and management of materials for manufacturing and maintenance and repair operations (MRO).  Implemented at Bender Shipbuilding & Repair Co., Inc., the MIDAPS™ technology addressed Bender’s need for organizing and coordinating the material procurement process.  At Bender, material information is developed, maintained, and tracked by a large number of departments, each with a different interest in the material.  Estimating is concerned with initial major material identification.  Engineering needs design information.  Procurement requires vendor and cost information.  Planning requires availability dates, and production requires that the physical material be in the right place at the right time and with the right accompanying information.  To complicate matters further, changes to materials and their attributes (cost, suppliers, availability, need by dates, design information, etc.) occur frequently, but are only recorded in the subsystem that deals with the particular attribute change.  Histories are difficult to maintain, and even more difficult to track.

The MIDAPS™ technology tackles these issues by addressing the high level of interdependency between multiple materials management activities and information systems—activities and systems that must account for constant change.  The MIDAPS™ technology provides an information-integrated approach to the synchronizing of construction activities with materials management using a rapidly re-configurable, centralized relational database management system.  The system stores data related to jobs, materials, and shipyard departments in this centralized database, allowing users across the shipyard to view real-time data concerning the status of materials in production and procurement.  Users can also perform other material management activities like procuring materials, creating material estimates, and automatically generating requests for quotes (RFQs).  The MIDAPS™ Analysis Agent, a set of problem detection algorithms, analyzes data for individual jobs and alerts users of potentially significant material procurement issues.  The algorithms scan the data and uncover materials that are past due, were ordered too late to satisfy the schedule, or were ordered too early and may cause inventory problems.

The MIDAPS™ technology gives Bender an efficient, integrated, and synchronized material system that addresses Bender’s need for responsive and effective material management.  While the MIDAPS™ technology was developed to meet the requirements of the shipbuilding industry, it also includes a number of customization features that make it easily adaptable to any generic MRO environment, providing material identification, procurement, material statusing and decision support for the complete life cycle of materials.  The results at Bender included job cost savings, a reduction in cycle times, an increase in profitability, and an increased throughput capacity—results that can benefit any manufacturing or MRO environment.