NORFOLK (NNS) — A new team of innovation pioneers is paving the way to process improvement at the Navy's four public shipyards.
The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Mobile Implementation Team (MIT) was formed as a way to share innovative products and solutions between the shipyards. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard's (PSNS) Susan Simms was working in process improvement when the opportunity arose for her to travel to the different shipyards and share innovations.
"We have a lot of mechanics who have developed products or are coming up with ideas on how to improve at their respective shipyards," said Simms. "It's my job to work with these mechanics and bring them and their hard work to the other shipyards to share what innovations are available for them."
MIT members traveled to Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) Oct. 18 so Simms could introduce Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (PHNSY) Shipfitter Scott Margenau to NNSY's Shop 11 mechanics. Margenau demonstrated two of PHNSY's tools, including one he developed.
"Our shipyard created a depth measurement tool that ensures we are properly measuring the depth of pits in removal sites. We were able to modify an existing V-WAC gauge so that it could slide on a straight edge and measure a much larger surface than originally we were able to accomplish," said Margenau. "Also, I created a weld assist tool so I'm able to magnetically attach tools and material to the walls as I'm working in the space."
When Margenau created his tool, he had no idea how his ideas might impact the Navy. So when he was offered the chance to travel and share his ideas, he was happy to step forward. "Susan and the Mobile Implementation Team want to see the ideas that are out there so we can implement them and share them across the shipyards," he said.
Simms added, "It's important for all of us at share our ideas and tools so we can work together as a team and improve. One shipyard may be working on an innovation that another shipyard may have input on how to make that innovation better. And sure enough if one shipyard is in need of these innovations, the other shipyards may need them as well. That's what we do with the Mobile Implementation Team."
During the visit, Simms also met with three shipyard employees who have been working on their own innovations, including Shop 11 Three-Dimensional (3-D) Modeler Keith Alexander and his A.K.A. HI-LO gauge tool (see November 2017 Service to the Fleet), Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (ACNR) Mechanic Leroy Jones Jr. and his ACNR flexible bag condenser stand (see May 2016 Service to the Fleet), and Quality Assurance Specialist Todd Brown who is working on a database for assurance checks.
"When I created the gauge tool, I had no idea how much it could help the other shipyards," said Alexander, who recently returned from a tour to the other shipyards with the Mobile Implementation Team. "It was exciting to go to the other shipyards and showcase the tool. I was able to see that none had a tool to do the plate alignment so it was well-received by all."
Process Improvement Manager for the Rapid Prototype Center (RPC) Martrail Parker is working alongside Simms to find those innovative ideas and tools from NNSY.
"No matter how big or small an idea, it can make a huge difference for the work done at our shipyards each day," said Parker. "You never know if it's possible until you try. And with this program we have, we not only have a chance to bring to life some of those great ideas that have been had here at NNSY, but we also get to see firsthand that other shipyards are also working hard to make the job easier and safer for all. It's truly a group effort to service the fleet as we do at the Navy's shipyards and together we can strive for excellence."
If you have an idea for an innovation or would like to share a technology already developed and used at the shipyard, contact Parker at 757-778-4181 or firstname.lastname@example.org.