Publication Abstract

Decision Support System for Shipyard Sequencing and Planning

Hill. T. W., Greenwood, A., & Finke, D. (2006). Decision Support System for Shipyard Sequencing and Planning. ShipTech 2006. Panama City, FL.


The American shipbuilding industry is facing a major challenge to reduce construction lead-times while reducing operating costs and increasing flexibility. Current shipbuilding practice relies upon outdated planning, scheduling, and coordination techniques across all levels of the shipbuilding enterprise. In addition, critical performance characteristics (e.g., workstation requirements, impact of variability, bottleneck interactions, and shop capacities) are often inadequately defined across the operations’ value chain. An effective way to improve performance – especially to reduce overall lead-time – is to plan from a systems or holistic view that spans the entire shipyard and considers all programs and production processes concurrently. A systems view helps reduce suboptimization by considering all work areas and all products at the same time. Of course, this results in a very large, complex system. One way to deal with the complexity is to use models to capture the salient behavior of production systems. This project utilizes a hierarchical modeling approach to more accurately estimate and significantly reduce overall ship production lead-time, as well as provide means to better estimate and manage capacity within the NGSS shipyards: Ingalls, Avondale, and Gulfport. The improved planning capability, both in terms of methodologies and tools, will span multiple ship construction contracts and multiple shipyards concurrently and result in lead-time reduction by balancing, at a high level, workload across programs and shops, identifying bottlenecks and focusing analysis on exploitation of the bottleneck, providing better coordination of work between shops, improving resource allocation, and improving sequencing of work within and across shops. Various modeling, simulation, and optimization methodologies are utilized at each level of the hierarchy in an effort to achieve system optimization and ultimately reduce construction lead-times. This presentation discusses the components of a decision support system, their interrelationships, and gives a status update on the development and implementation of the system.