The LIDS technology enables single-source access to logistic data in varying formats, media, and storage locations and provides efficient logistics data management and migration. The technology gives shipboard maintenance personnel the means to access, manipulate, and manage distributed logistics data sources in support of systems maintenance activities.
The ever-expanding range of storage media, formats, and systems developed to provide shipboard access to maintenance information has resulted in a corresponding increase in the time spent accessing this information. Shipboard maintenance personnel spend an inordinate amount of time searching for pertinent maintenance information, obtaining access to the information, determining its relevance and currency (e.g., applicability of the information to equipment with a particular configuration), and converting it to forms usable for maintenance–all time that could be more productively spent performing maintenance tasks.
The advent of standards for digital data representation, coupled with major advances in computer technologies (e.g., advanced hardware, network and satellite communication systems, platform emulation devices, etc.), provide significant aid to the development of systems that can provide a single, transparent interface to the full range of needed information. Among these are standards and technologies developed through the Computer-Aided Acquisition and Logistics Support (CALS) initiative. However, the transition will not occur overnight. Older systems that are now in place were developed to paper presentation and vendor proprietary digital standards that existed at the time the products were developed. The nature of this environment dictates that any shipboard information system must not only support access to CALS compliant data, but also to a broad mix of non-standard digital and paper data.
Shipboard Digital Logistic Information Environment
The purpose of the Logistics Information Delivery System (LIDS) effort for the Naval Surface Warfare Center was to develop a Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) CALS solution enabling single-source access to logistic data maintained in varying formats, media, and storage locations, efficient logistics data management, and graceful migration toward a digital logistic information environment. Upon completion of Phase II, KBSI provided shipboard maintenance personnel with the means for effectively accessing, manipulating, and managing distributed logistics data sources in support of shipboard systems maintenance activities. Users were provided with transparent, single-point access to logistic data although it may be maintained in varying formats, media, and storage locations. They also were provided with support for managing logistics data through a process designed to assist with the transition toward a fully digital logistics information environment.
The benefits of this effort can be measured in terms of both operational and economic gains in organic maintenance capacity, timesaving, responsiveness, and flexibility. Shipboard maintenance activities can be significantly enhanced through the adoption of well-designed processes coupled with automation technologies. Significant efficiency gains are realized through the provision for transparent access to heterogeneous data sources that will, in turn, improve quality and reduce the amount of time required to complete maintenance activities. The accompanying legacy data conversion and management strategy also helps maintenance management to evolve today’s stand-alone systems characterized by inaccessible, incomplete, and often inaccurate data toward an environment that supports transparent, single-point access to needed logistics data. In the absence of the proposed technology, the rate of progress toward the desired environment will continue to be slow and haphazard.
The system built through this SBIR effort has tremendous commercialization potential because many industries must support remote maintenance and repair operations, including commercial shipping, petrochemical plants and their pipelines, offshore drilling platforms, and automotive repair facilities. The technologies are applicable wherever people need ready access to great volumes of information in a form that is easy to use.