Outfitting Process Improvement
Project Participants: General Dynamics Electric Boat
Project Start: June 2007
Reducing VIRGINIA-Class Submarine (VCS) construction costs to $2B and cycle time to 60-months are the primary goals to increasing acquisition and maintaining the submarine industrial base. With the VCS design essentially complete and the bulk of the construction work ahead, one of the greatest opportunities for cost savings and cycle time reduction lies in the outfitting realm, as outfitting activities consume 1.5M man-hours and over 30% of the total VCS manufacturing span time.
This project analyzed the major processes employed during the outfitting stage of construction, then identified and prioritized opportunities for improvement and evaluated improvement options. This included analyzing foreman time constraints, current scheduling methods and techniques, as well as understanding the various hand-offs of work, information, and material. In addition to analyzing and improving current processes, this project also investigated the latest in equipment and information technologies to determine if their implementation could significantly reduce the costs and span times for final shipboard installation and outfitting.
The process/tool improvements resulting from this effort have already saved $1.8M per VCS hull, and are expected to grow to approximately $5M per hull when fully implemented. In addition, it is expected that as much as 30% of the time spent in early outfitting activities will be eliminated. At the conclusion of the project, there were 10 initiatives that were fully implemented, another 22 initiatives in process and 7 more potential, future initiatives. Some specific benefits of this ManTech project include, but are not limited to: increased presence of foremen in outfitting work cells; increased number of outfitting activities while cylinder/section is in vertical position; earlier layout work for attachments, inserts, cut-outs, and tank marginal plates; reduced amount of manufacturing activities happening in outfitting work cells; and increased efficiency in hand-offs of material, information, and work within and among crews.
Because VCS construction activities are shared between General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News (NGSB-NN), results from this project have the potential to benefit both yards.