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CHIPS Articles: Software Modification Looks to Save Millions, Keep Fleet Afloat

Software Modification Looks to Save Millions, Keep Fleet Afloat
By Brian Melanephy, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division Public Affairs - December 8, 2016
PORT HUENEME, Calif. (NNS) — In January 2015, Lt. Larissa Cottrill, previously assigned to Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (SURFLANT) attended a Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Lean, Six Sigma event in Norfolk led by Capt. Seiko Okano, SEWIP program manager at the time.

During this continuous process improvement (CPI) event, there were a number of action items taken away and worked.

However, one action in particular, which identified a then unknown issue related to modernization planning for chief of naval operations (CNO) availabilities, was taken by Cottrill and a small subset of Okano's SEWIP Team. The issue was highly complicated and impacted more than 150 modernization stakeholders, but given the significant impact on the fleet, the team did not shy away from the challenge.

Okano's lean event served as a catalyst for a nearly 1 1/2-year endeavor which will now have game-changing implications for CNO availabilities planning and execution for the surface fleet.

In the midst of the project, Cottrill changed duty stations to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division, and became Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) integrated combat systems project officer. However, the move did not take steam out of the project.

The original problem stemmed from changes made to Advance Planning (AP) milestones for CNO availabilities during Integrated Project Team Development planning meetings were not being effectively communicated to the more than 150 modernization stakeholders, including program offices, warfare center divisions and others. As a result, modernization stakeholders were perpetually late with planning deliverables, which then created a domino effect which led to excessive premium costs, availability delays, added service costs, and ultimately lost operational days to the surface fleet.

The team not only identified the breakdown in communication, but developed an innovative solution using the Navy Data Environment (NDE), along with a carefully crafted input process involving the type commanders (TYCOMs) and regional maintenance centers, which resulted in an effective and efficient process to communicate milestone changes to all stakeholders. More specifically, the team implemented a software modification in NDE which created an additional tab for AP milestones, with the ability to edit and publish as milestones are changed, resulting in immediate communication of changes to stakeholders.

This software modification and the associated input process will have unparalleled implications for CNO availabilities, planning and execution for the Navy's surface fleet — mitigating the loss of more than 130 operational days a year while saving the program offices more than $60 million yearly in premium costs and TYCOMs more than $2 million year in support service costs as a result of availability extensions. This projected savings is larger than any other CPI effort to date across the Department of the Navy.

"This was absolutely a team effort, which included significant contributions from stakeholders across the modernization community to make this happen for the fleet," Cottrill said.

The software modification was approved by all stakeholders in May 2015 and approved by Director, Fleet Maintenance, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Rear Adm. Richard Berkey; Program Executive Officer (Ships), Rear Adm. William Galinis, and Director, Fleet Maintenance, Rear Adm. Mark Whitney in September 2015.

The modification went live in October.

The modernization planning improvement team, led by Cottrill, included more than 20 personnel from Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems 2.0; SURFLANT; Commander, Naval Surface Force Pacific; Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces; Regional Maintenance Center Management Office (NAVSEA 04), Surface Warfare (NAVSEA 21); Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center; Surface Maintenance Engineering Planning Program; Commander, Navy Regional Maintenance Centers; and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division.

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