VCS Shipyard Material Flow Processes and Technology
Project Participants: General Dynamics Electric Boat
Project Start: July 2010
Process Engineers at General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) are currently executing an effort to drive down the costs associated with material flow within the VIRGINIA Class Submarine (VCS) construction facilities at its Groton and Quonset Point facilities. The two phased, 21 month project could save the Navy as much as $2.6M per VCS hull once implemented.
The first phase will include “process walks” and development of detailed Current State Value Stream Maps (VSMs) focused on documenting the flow of material from storage to the trade shops, from storage to the submarine outfitting or final assembly area, and material movement within trade shops. These Current State VSMs will be reviewed with the area operations personnel to identify top inhibitors to flow that result in increased cycle time, wait time, transaction errors and reduced material availability performance. This analysis will then lead to Future State VSMs for each targeted area to identify the desired material flow scenario that will lead to improved performance given existing factors of capital equipment and space. These ideal scenarios, along with additional market sector research, will result in an Improvement Action Plan that will be executed in the project’s second phase.
Phase II activities will focus “proof of concept” testing of enabling manufacturing technologies in the following areas:
Wireless tracking (RFID) of material in shops, outfitting, final assembly and test
Wireless picking to reduce material touches and expedite material issue
Point-of-Use technologies that can issue material at the worksite
Innovative Material Delivery including “milk run” distribution
Outfitting Material Delivery and Staging
Once these technology pilots have been tested and evaluated, the team will develop the Metric Improvement and Savings summary that will document both the expected and realized savings from each of the various technology applications. The Savings Summary will provide the critical information used when determining the plan for implementation in the Groton and Quonset Point VCS construction facilities.