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.
In the first stage of the initiative, KBSI used the Integration DEFinition (IDEF) family of modeling methods to model and develop an AS-IS baseline of the scope and semantics of production planning as conceived by different stakeholders in the industry (including suppliers and tool providers). This stage involved developing AS-IS models for individual shipyard production planning functionality, tools, and methods, with the aim of abstracting and generalizing across these shipyards to develop a composite AS-IS model. The function models were developed using KBSI’s AIØ WIN® software, a tool for advanced function and activity based cost modeling and analysis. The model development was performed in collaboration with LCMS and other industry stakeholders, an approach that added depth to the models by including the perspectives of several domain experts and furthering understanding and buy-in of the roadmap development process among industry players.
With this AS-IS baseline in hand, KBSI began work on developing the TO-BE vision of production planning: i.e., modeling how an improved production planning system would look and function. This stage of the project involved identifying and compiling the issues, concerns, problems, and challenges associated with current production planning practices, including gathering information concerning how these issues and problems impact the cycle-time and cost of ship production and overhaul. Using this information, KBSI then defined and modeled the characteristics and features of a TO-BE production planning environment, including mapping the current state of the art in methods and tools—in use or available—that support production planning processes in the AS-IS baseline and that could support future requirements in the TO-BE design. In addition, as part of the TO-BE vision development, KBSI identified other government organizations and industries, in the U.S. and abroad, engaged in similar initiatives and whose work the LCMS project later leveraged.
Phase II Development
The final stage of the project involved developing the roadmap itself: i.e., the LCMS Production Planning Roadmap designed to help transition production planning in the shipbuilding industry from the current, AS-IS state to a TO-BE environment that addresses the identified industry needs and the technology and capabilities voids that were discovered. KBSI compared the AS-IS and TO-BE models, identified the cross currents and gaps between them, and structured the gaps into thrust areas and projects within the thrust areas to focus transition work. The development of this roadmap not only resulted in a plan for a streamlined production planning environment, but also helped improve existing technologies and triggered the development of new technologies to plug any gaps. A Roadmapping Workship with industry experts and other stakeholders was used to gather feedback and to refine and augment these models.
The end results of the project were comprehensive AS-IS and TO-BE models of production planning that also document the connections and gaps between these two states. These gaps will be the focus of thrust areas and projects that will seek to bridge the gaps and achieve an optimal production planning environment. KBSI’s work in the initiative provides LCMS with a comprehensive understanding of current production planning shortcomings, a model of an optimized production planning environment including the tools, methods, and technologies to support this vision, and a plan for transitioning to this environment. These results will help the U.S. shipbuilding industry reestablish its competitiveness in the global market.