Outfitting Tools & Processes

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Project Participants: General Dynamics Electric Boat

Project Start: January 2013

The U.S. Navy and General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) have a joint initiative to reduce the construction cost of the VIRGINIA Class Submarine (VCS). The Navy ManTech Program is participating in this initiative with specific focus on improving manufacturing processes for ship construction.

Outfitting the VCS is complex, involving the installation of thousands of parts into tight spaces by highly skilled tradesmen. Oftentimes these trades are dependent upon specialized equipment and internal support service organizations (Quality, Rigging, Test, etc.) to accomplish a task. The timeliness of the support these organizations provide to the Outfitting trades is critical to their meeting cost and schedule objectives.

Improving the alignment of the Support Organizations’ goals and objectives with the Outfitting Department has been identified as a major opportunity for cost reduction. These disciplines have a direct impact on the trades’ ability to perform value added operations by limiting trade access to the unit, providing necessary documentation and verifying quality evidence necessary for work to proceed. A major focus of this project is to identify opportunities to minimize the impact of these organizations on the Outfitting process and develop strategies and an implementation plan to accomplish this. Modular manufacturing outfitting strategies will improve trade productivity and minimize construction support cost (staging and delivery of services to the modules) by establishing a repeatable and reproducible process. Productivity enhancements will focus on establishing standardized shop floor metrics and implementing a mentoring program for the Outfitting trades and those organizations that directly impact Outfitting Cost and Schedule.

These improvements, once implemented, could potentially save an estimated $595K per VCS Hull. These savings will result by minimizing interruptions to the construction process. While the project focuses specifically on improvements benefiting the VCS, the same benefits described here can accrue to all U.S. Navy ships.

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