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AVON01a.JPG Avondale Applications of a PWBS

Large Photograph
Avondale Shipyards Inc. (ASI) was the first major U.S. shipbuilding firm to respond significantly to initiatives advanced by the Maritime Administration created and administered National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP). The U.S. Navy has been the primary beneficiary. In April 1979, a prepublication cut-and-paste copy of the NSRP booklet "Outfit Planning" was left with Charles (Chuck) Starkenberg, an ASI vice president. The booklet contained photographs of the effective outfitting techniques developed by Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (IHI) of Japan. Chuck was asked to show them to A.L. (Al) Bossier, Jr., Avondale's President, who at that moment was away on a visit to the Ogden Corporation, then Avondale's owner. According to Chuck Starkenberg, when Al Bossier saw the publication he immediately wanted to adopt the methods. He told Chuck, in effect, "Lee Rice, an Ogden group vice president, just advised that our industry is going to experience a recession over the next five years and while he doesn't know what we should do differently, he does know that Avondale's current methods will not suffice." Al Bossier quickly retained IHI to jump start the transfer of modern technology which featured adoption of a product work breakdown structure in place of a system work breakdown structure and integrated hull construction, outfitting and painting. Afterwards, the Maritime Administration's Office of Advanced Ship Development partially funded the effort. In return, Avondale conducted five seminars that were aimed at furthering understanding of the better methods by other U.S. shipbuilders. During most of the next two decades, Avondale applied the IHI approach for construction of oilers and other ships for the U.S. Navy, for the construction and overhaul of commercial ships, and for heavy construction other than ships.

AVON01b.JPG Avondale Applications of a PWBS

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Simultaneous with his 1979 decision to rapidly adopt the product-oriented methods developed by IHI, Avondale's President was negotiating a contract to build three complex product carriers for Exxon, a company that had ships built by IHI. According to Chuck Starkenberg, Al Bossier, in effect, told all of his senior managers at a group meeting, "In a few weeks a team of IHI people will arrive to survey our practices and make recommendations for how to adopt their much more productive methods. If any of you do not like it, you have an option. Quit, or else I will fire you!" Thus, all the basic requirements were in place to profoundly improve productivity. The shipyard had a cooperating customer who understood the implications of Al Bossier's goal, NSRP publications that described the logic and principles of the IHI approach, expert consultants, and the top manager's expressed determination to let no traditionalist be an obstructionist. In response to one of the first IHI recommendations, hull-construction planning was integrated with planning for outfitting and painting and Chuck Starkenberg was assigned as the planning manager. At that time the keel was about to be laid for the last of a flight of three Navy oilers. Because system-by-system outfitting of the pump rooms in the previous two oilers was very ineffective, Chuck Starkenberg changed the hull-erection schedule and advanced certain material-required dates. He completed the integrated planning in time for the third oiler's pump room, as shown in the photo, to be blue-sky outfitted per a product work breakdown, with people working smarter not harder in a safer environment.

AVON01c.JPG Avondale Applications of a PWBS

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When Avondale shifted to integrated hull-construction, outfitting and painting another project, building container ships, was in progress. Outfit planners had anticipated that the traditional method would be used for landing mufflers for the main-propulsion diesels, i.e., lower them into the machinery spaces, moved them sideways and then jack them into position on machinery-space overheads. However, with the recent mandate for integrating hull-construction, outfitting and painting, a planning revision directed that the insulated and painted muffler assemblies be landed on overhead blocks when the blocks were upside down. Thereafter all large mufflers were fitted the smart way, including those for Navy ships. The experience confirms an opinion offered by Dr. H. Shinto, a former IHI chairman, "The American worker is excellent. All you have to do is change the minds of management."

AVON01d.JPG Avondale Applications of a PWBS

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Avondale workers responded favorably to the integration of hull construction with outfitting and painting. Outfitters in outfit-intensive naval vessels were especially appreciative. No longer did they have to climb to a ship's main deck while carrying tools and often fitting components, and thence have to descend through mazes of temporary-service cables and hoses to relatively dark and confined work sites below. Fitting on block when blocks are upside down is far less fatiguing, far more productive, and significantly improves quality.

AVON01e.JPG Avondale Applications of a PWBS

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Outfit work in shops is especially favored by older workers who have skills honed by experience but who are not as effective if they have to do the climbing and carrying associated with work on board.

AVON01f.JPG Avondale Applications of a PWBS

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The IHI methods that Avondale quickly implemented, improved accuracy and thus also improved productivity because the two are inherently linked. The new methods included work flows for hull-block construction (see PWBS1-06a and PWBS1-06b) and systematic heating and cooling to accurately shape hull parts (see PWBS1-06e, LH5-01c, and LH5-04a through -04d). They also included substitution of pin jigs (similar to BA12g) for the costly molds (LH5-01c) used for making curved panels, and outfitting on unit as shown in this photo for a Navy oiler (T-AO).

AVON01g.JPG Avondale Applications of a PWBS

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Since Avondale workers were unaccustomed to the composite drawings that showed a mix of systems, in order to facilitate their introduction to outfitting on unit and on block, they were furnished with scale models.

AVON02a.JPG Avondale Applications of a PWBS

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The IHI outfitting techniques, used by Avondale since 1979 for building U.S. Navy oilers, feature: more straight pipe in parallel runs than ever before, most pipe bends limited to 90 or 45 degrees, pipes on common supports, high-impact-shock-approved U-bolts for attaching pipes to their supports, and painting in process. Much work that had been done piece-by-piece on board in relatively inaccessible sites was converted into safer work in shops.

AVON02b.JPG Avondale Applications of a PWBS

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This outfit unit, assembled by Avondale workers for a Navy T-AO, is a good example for explaining how man-hours required for assembly are related to its weight. The weights of dense components, such as the pumps with their motors, are disproportionate to the man-hours required for fitting. Thus, the pump and motor weights are ignored and only pump foundation weights are considered. When the man-hour/weight ratios for a number of completed outfit units are plotted, something approaching a normal curve should be obtained. If not, the analyst has to look further for the exceptional components for which required fitting man-hours are disproportionate to weights.

AVON02c.JPG Avondale Applications of a PWBS

Large Photograph
This outfit unit, assembled by Avondale workers for a Navy T-AO, is a good example for explaining how man-hours required for assembly are related to its weight. Side view.

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