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.