Developing complete baseline schedule will better assess performance against its planned maintenance work to identify causes and effects of low performance”
Depots have not included all its planned work in its baseline schedule for a key performance metric, experienced monthly variability in fiscal year 2019 for a variety of reasons, including parts shortages, lack of asset availability, and changing customer needs, and it is undertaking several initiatives to minimize such changes.
Depots are essential to maintaining surge capacity and readiness for DoD, and they play a key role in sustaining weapon systems and equipment in peacetime, as well as during mobilization, contingency, or other emergency. Specifically, depots provide materiel maintenance or repair requiring the overhaul, upgrading, or rebuilding of parts, assemblies, or subassemblies, and the testing and reclamation of equipment as necessary on weapon-system orders placed by the military services.
Depot maintenance is an action performed on end-items—such as vehicles, weapon systems, or other equipment, or their components—in the conduct of inspection, repair, overhaul, or modification or rebuilding of these items. Depot maintenance activities range in complexity from system inspection, to rapid removal and replacement of components, to the complete overhaul or rebuilding of a weapon system.
Depot maintenance requires extensive industrial facilities, specialized tools and equipment, and uniquely experienced and trained personnel. Given the wide-ranging variety of items—in terms of type, size, and number—on which the depots conduct maintenance, these services must engage in proactive and accurate planning.
Such planning is intended to ensure the timely availability of welders, mechanics, electricians, engineers, and other specialized personnel; to ensure that facilities are appropriately equipped and configured; and to ensure that the correct spare parts are available to complete the maintenance work.
Depots identify the detailed time frames, parts, and components required for maintenance on the end item. The depot maintenance process across the services generally involves three primary steps—planning, disassembly, and rebuilding:
Planning occurs when the depots begin to plan the maintenance needed by a particular end item.
Disassembly occurs once the depot receives the end item and is ready to begin maintenance on it. During this step, the depot workers inspect the end item and its components to determine, within the scope of work, the type and degree of repair required, or whether any of the parts require replacement. The depot workers may determine that they need to conduct different kinds of repairs based on the time that has passed, or how the warfighter has used the end item, since it last underwent maintenance.
Rebuilding occurs following disassembly, when depot workers rebuild the end item with new and repaired parts. In general, the depot workers follow a sequential process when rebuilding the end item, and this necessitates the timely availability of new and repaired parts to ensure efficient reassembly. Once depot workers rebuild the end item, they also test it and validate its use by a military unit.
Modernizations are approved and scheduled based on attributes such as safety and security, survivability, communications and technology, reliability and maintainability, obsolescence, warfighting, cost, and return on investment.
There are several key enablers to efficiently maintain and modernize the Navy’s growing fleet of battle force ships over the next 30 years. In order to achieve the long-range maintenance and modernization requirements in this plan based on the FY 2020 Shipbuilding Plan, the Navy must address industrial base capacity and capability, shipyard level loading, workforce and facilities investments.
For private shipyards, the Navy conducted a market survey for available and potential commercial dry docks and is developing a long-range plan to increase the number of available certified dry docks. The PSI initiatives address industrial base health and workload stability, contracting, change management and availability execution at private shipyards.
For example, Private Sector Initiatives PSI include a change in how growth and new work items are approved. Small value changes historically account for 70 percent of growth and new work, utilizing pre-priced changes will significantly reduce cycle time for approval.
The Navy is committed to working with private industry to provide them a stable and predictable workload in a competitive environment, so they can hire the workforce and make the investments necessary to maintain and modernize the Navy’s growing fleet. This will help ensure the Navy attains best value.
The Navy continuously works to smooth the workload by addressing identified peaks and valleys in the workload. Like the private shipyards, the public shipyards benefit from a stable and predictable workload enabling them to conduct the work, train the workforce, and maintain their infrastructure.
Navy operates large industrial depots to maintain, overhaul, and upgrade numerous weapon systems and equipment. The depots play a key role in sustaining readiness by completing maintenance on time and returning refurbished equipment to warfighting customers. Recommendations include procedures to ensure depot input on metrics, develop guidance for depot customers, and analyze the causes of maintenance changes; and that a complete baseline is developed.
Navy is also improving their performance metrics in order to better manage depot maintenance. The initiative to develop a new performance metrics framework shows promise, but depot officials said they have significant concerns about how and who factor in their input when developing the new metrics. It is particularly important to develop procedures to ensure that it will incorporate depot stakeholder input into the new metrics framework for the organic industrial base through iterative and ongoing processes.
Doing so will allow Navy to develop maintenance-related metrics that are beneficial for helping officials at all levels to assess and improve depot performance. Moreover, Navy does not yet have a complete baseline to accurately measure the effectiveness of its planning for depot maintenance. Establishing a complete baseline will allow for better assessment how well it has planned its depot maintenance work by comparing this plan against actual performance.
Steps have been taken to plan and execute depot maintenance more efficiently and effectively, including several efforts to revise its depot maintenance planning process, and to analyze and address the reasons for changing customer needs. Steps have been taken to link depot planning timelines to better align resources and requirements.
However, developing guidance for depot customers to link these timelines would better position depots to make decisions based on the most accurate information possible, as early as possible. Additionally, systematically analyzing the causes of changing customer needs would help identify why depots experience such variability in their workload. This, in turn, would better position the service to identify specific solutions for reducing such unplanned changes.
Two primary factors for the delays were unplanned work arising during the maintenance availability, and workforce challenges such as not having enough people or having too many inexperienced workers.
To identify the requirements for specific ships, NAVSEA coordinates the development of a “baseline availability work package,” which represents the technical requirements needed to ensure a ship reaches its expected service life and meets its operational commitments. NAVSEA planners then use these technical requirements as a basis for developing the detailed work package, which describes the types of maintenance needed.
Schedule for completion, among other things planners start developing the detailed work package up to 30 months before the start of a maintenance period. Approximately 2 months prior to the start of work on the ships, these planners finalize the detailed work package and any changes to the detailed work package from that point forward are considered unplanned work.
According to the Navy, detailed work packages include a reserve for new work, typically 5 to 10 percent, to account for unplanned work that is expect to materialize after the planning is completed. Further, the actual new work often exceeds this reserve, which contributes to causing maintenance delays.
NAVSEA officials stated that accurately planning workload requirements and the cost for maintenance periods to support Navy budgets is difficult because the Navy relies on estimates that are developed as much as 2-½ years prior to the actual beginning of work on the maintenance period. The Navy has reported in its annual risk and internal control assessments its inability to accurately plan for shipyard maintenance.
Beginning in 2016, the Navy reported a trend in underestimating the overall cost of ship maintenance in annual risk and internal control assessments. The assessments stated that the Navy’s policies for defining work requirements, developing cost estimates, and executing shipyard maintenance resulted in inaccurate cost and duration estimates.
According to NAVSEA officials, shipyard performance can include delays to work progress associated with job- specific material and equipment issues and work stoppages awaiting technical resolution. However, we identified multiple letters that specifically identified parts or materials as the cause of delays rather than shipyard performance.
Unplanned work-- any changes made to the detailed work package after it has been finalized prior to the start of a maintenance period, contributes to the most delays in aircraft carrier and submarine maintenance periods.
Unplanned work continues to cause maintenance delays and contributes to the Navy’s inability to present accurate estimates for shipyard maintenance in Navy budgets. NAVSEA officials stated that accurately planning workload requirements and the cost for maintenance periods to support Navy budgets is difficult because the Navy often relies on estimates that are developed more than 2 years prior to the actual beginning of work on the maintenance period.
The Navy has reported in its annual risk and internal control assessments its inability to accurately plan for shipyard maintenance. Beginning in 2016, the Navy reported a trend in underestimating the overall cost of ship maintenance in annual risk and internal control assessments. The assessments stated that the Navy’s policies for defining work requirements, developing cost estimates, and executing shipyard maintenance resulted in inaccurate cost and duration estimates.
Navy risk and internal control assessment indicates that these issues have persisted, stating that shipyards have had longer depot maintenance durations than expected, increased overhead costs, and reduced operational availability of Navy ships.
In order to improve ship maintenance planning and better account for unplanned work, the Navy conducted studies during fiscal years 2016 and 2017. In determining the parameters used to forecast ship maintenance requirements, the Navy relied on 1) outdated or inaccurate estimates in planning documents such as the technical foundation papers used to plan maintenance for specific ship classes, and 2) planning factors used to forecast ship maintenance that did not reflect actual shipyard performance.
In 2017, NAVSEA hosted a planning summit to discuss potential improvements to accurately planning ship maintenance. According to NAVSEA officials, prior to this summit, planning documents were formally updated on an infrequent basis when substantial changes had been identified. The planning summit revealed the need to revisit planning documents on a more regular basis.
Following the summit, NAVSEA established procedures for reviewing and updating planning documents on an annual basis, and immediately began updating planning documents based on the most recent 3 years of historical data to support shipyard maintenance planning and budgeting processes.
According to shipyard and fleet officials, aircraft carriers and submarines undergoing maintenance had longer planned durations than similar previous maintenance periods. For example, shipyard officials stated that they recently updated workload requirements estimates to extend the duration of a certain type of planned maintenance for submarines.
NAVSEA officials stated that they revised planning factors for ship maintenance to improve estimated workload requirements and cost factors and plan to analyze the results from the revised planning factors annually to monitor whether the changes improve estimates and to make adjustments as needed.
According to NAVSEA officials, they will not know whether the changes they are making result in improved estimates until work on ship maintenance periods using the revised planning documents and planning factors is complete—a process that may take several years.
1. Having personnel with right skills
2. Having the right equipment
3. Weapon Systems arrive for repair as planned
4. Availability of spare parts
5. Condition of weapons systems arriving for repair
6. Having enough personnel
7. Sufficient engineering support/technical data
8. Having the right facilities
9. Collecting metrics to track efficiency
10. Carrying over unfinished work at end of year