Readiness Initiative that’s being prototyped as we speak is trying to take disparate maintenance efforts – field events, depot events, which make no logical sense right now, all they do is guarantee that the weapons systems are not available to the operating squadrons because this week it’s out for this inspection, they return it to the flight line and the next day it’s out for another inspection or modification.
“So right now Navy is working, prototyping Two logical, consolidated depot events to try and guarantee more aircraft availability on the flight line once it comes out of that depot event. So that’s looking very promising.”
Application prototype officials are still “fine-tuning the details of it,” but said that more workforce labour could be conducted while the planes are at the depot – including inspections and maintenance items that would normally be done by the squadron – to consolidate the required work into as few days as possible
Officials stated depot maintenance workforce estimates are not currently being adjusted or updated over the service life of an asset class. Periodically updating depot maintenance cost estimates—in accordance with cost estimating best practices—for each asset class could provide decision makers with much needed information with which to determine future budgets.
We received Several Excuses:
First, officials stated that cost estimating best practices are most applicable to new acquisitions.
But our cost estimating guide is intended to be applicable to programmes and assets in all stages of service life, including maintenance and support. Updating standard support levels periodically would lower budgetary risk by using actual metrics to better inform future depot maintenance estimates.
Second, officials described how sustainment and maintenance costs can be uncertain and challenging to estimate, which is mitigated by keeping close tabs on its depot-level maintenance workforce for all assets.
But best practices can help ensure that cost estimates are comprehensive and accurate, which can help ensure that funds will be available when needed.
Third, officials explained that given the current fiscal issues, it would be best to focus on improvements that do not require additional workforce resources.
But well-documented cost estimating process and the use of accurate historical metrics should enable more efficient operations.
By not updating the standard support levels with information on actual expenditures, there is no way to know what the actual depot-level maintenance needs are of its workforce and assets.
Best practices state that programmes should be monitored continuously for their cost effectiveness by comparing planned and actual performance against the approved baseline.
Building effective workforce programmes and cost control requires ongoing revisions to the cost estimate, budget, and projected estimates at completion. Further, a competent cost estimate is the key foundation of a sound budget.
Not updating the estimated costs with actual expenditures could lead to ineffective planning by the workforce responsible for conducting depot-level maintenance.
Finally, officials stated that they do not update their depot maintenance estimates with actual expenditures because doing so would cause individual budget line items to constantly change.
But by not reviewing and updating the standard support levels there is no way to accurately know what the actual depot maintenance workforce requirements are for each asset class. This can limit the workforce as they seek to succeed in challenging fiscal times and allocate resources best to support of more modern and capable assets.
Controlling maintenance costs has been a challenge because of problems getting spare parts delivered in time, especially to forward locations. Automatic Logistics Information System ALIS has been described by the workforce as being hard to use and requiring the use of contractors for longer periods of time than originally expected.
Some suppliers are delivering late and non-conforming parts, resulting in workforce production line inefficiencies and workarounds. For example, quality issues with insulation on the coolant tubes in the fuel tanks resulted in the contractor delivering less weapons systems. According to contractors, deliveries of parts are largely due to late contract awards and supply base capacity.
The depot workforce is taking a two-pronged approach to cutting down on defects. “Quality starts at the very lowest supplier and what are we doing is to ensure that quality is coming up to the supply chain as good as it can get,” That means blocking faulty parts from ever getting to the production line to stop the quality issues from coming up in the first place.
To cut down the number of low observable capabilities -related quality escapes, the workforce is also taking steps to make it easier for Navy to assess state of skills/tools of the workforce required to ensure trainers have the administrative authorities infrastructure to build and sustain the aircraft, whether through increased training or improved practices.
For the programme office, reducing the maintenance rework on the aircraft will help it close in on the “true cost” of the aircraft, allowing DoD to push the price per aircraft as low as possible. It’s also seen as critical for keeping delivery schedule as planned, with no future delays as workforce production ramps up.
While supplier performance is generally improving, it is important for suppliers to be prepared for both production and sustainment support going forward. Inefficiencies, such as the workforce conducting production line work out of sequence, could be exacerbated if late delivery of parts continues as production ramps up.
There aren’t many concerns that the workforce will be able to keep having aircraft coming down the line and putting them together and delivering them. They will be able to do that. “But there are concerns the workforce might not be able to do it at the Readiness Rate that our war fighter has asked us to do it-- provide for sustainment operations.
We have assessed capability of Mission Readiness Tools to predict future requirements enable system performance assess. The tool helps the workforce to spot main system faults, such as a gearbox. By isolating the fault, the workforce can recommend removing components proactively, such as a failing quill gear.
“So instead of sending the aircraft gearbox to depot repair, the workforce is able to replace the subcomponent on the flight line, reducing fleet maintenance burden, reducing costs and improving mission performance.
Workforce crews are using conditioned-based maintenance CBM to perform maintenance based on need, rather than a set schedule. Engineering and logistics assessments are generated by smart aircraft equipped with sensors—similar to tire pressure sensors in cars.
The workforce is at the point having the capability to process massive amounts of metrics, take action and save millions of dollars on repairs as a result of CBM practices.
To date, the CBM diagnostic strategy has not only saved millions in main gearbox repair costs, but avoided more than on dozen mission aborts, and reduced the number of drain-and-flush cycles associated with the main gearbox.
Our Readiness Toolset is enabling proactive maintenance and supply, aggregating years of historical readiness metrics from disparate systems into a single source to provide cost, inventory, maintenance, supply and operational flight-hour metrics in a standard format.
The tool automates what used to take the workforce months to do and provides information in minutes. Instead of only focusing on the top parts problems that are challenging the fleet today, the workforce has the ability to prevent the next many challenges from actually occurring. It is essential to want to get out ahead of problems, but the workforce must do both—fight the current readiness battle and enable the fleet to avoid the next one.
The Tool produces more than 100 top-level metrics to identify components that perform outside their established parameters. With this information, the workforce can spot indicators of potential readiness issues and address them proactively before they impact the fleet.
For example, the Tool could have helped the workforce prevent a recent fleet maintenance issue involving a potential shortage of brake replacement parts on F/A-18E-F Super Hornets two years before it happened.
By real time monitoring, the Tool indicates when the demand and status of a given part is outside the normal ranges by producing charts to indicate metrics are outside its normal performance bounds. The Tool would have shown an increase in demand for the brake part, which would have prompted workforce logistics team to question the change.
“Today, when the Tool indicates a change in part usage, the workforce can investigate the cause and determine whether they need to order more parts if the part is still available, or get the Fleet Readiness Center to manufacture the part.
The Logistics and Industrial Operations competency, in collaboration with NAVAIR Engineering Modeling Division, is also developing forecast Tools designed to predict which components or parts may need to be replaced based on maintenance schedules.
Readiness Forecast Tool uses existing Naval Aviation metrics—such as the current status of parts and aircraft and historical scheduled and unscheduled maintenance workforce rates—to forecast future behaviour and assess the near-term impact of specific actions, such as stocking up on a specific part or upgrading a component that requires frequent maintenance.
Readiness Forecast Tool provides a one-year forecast of ready basic aircraft, non-mission capable aircraft and out-of-reporting aircraft, enabling a quick look on near-term readiness posture, allowing the workforce to understand near-term impacts of top-level actions; essentially ‘what if’ scenarios of major changes/adjustments at system level.
The Tool runs discrete event simulations using probabilistic decisions and business rules to model flight operations and resulting maintenance and supply demand and effects, employing several discrete factors, processes and resources in areas of supply chain, maintenance, flight hour changes, component reliability, life limit increases, depot workforce capacity and performance improvements. Model output includes metrics on the numbers of aircraft in various states of mission capability readiness.
The Tool allows the workforce to run a simulation on a part, component or system to see how it would impact the number of mission capable aircraft. For example, what would the result be in X number of years if the workforce upgraded the fuel control on a particular aircraft? The Tool will predict the fleet readiness impact of an improvement by accounting for component reliability, impact to supply demand and impact to required maintenance.
So the workforce can anticipate readiness advantages or disadvantages before deciding to invest in making a change. “Bottom line, the workforce now employs a series of maintenance planning tools and initiatives that provide workforce at all levels with the right information to make informed decisions.
DoD has asked us to assess the Navy depot maintenance industrial base. Specifically, we are going to identify and evaluate workforce and workload practices that could reduce costs while still meeting fleet requirements.
To do this, we need to estimate current and future workload, and the different types of skills and workforce used to execute this workload. We also need to understand the depot workforce staffing decision process and the policies that constrain the ability to change workforce levels to meet expected demands on the fleet.
There are dozens of shops at each depot and the number of workforce trade-skills mirrors the number of production or support shops. The production shops typically produce a product; this set of shops includes the Welding, Painting and Blasting, Sheet Metal, and Electrical Shops.
The workforce trade-skills associated with these shops are the welder, painter, electrician, and electronics trades. The support shops provide support services; this set of shops includes the Quality Assurance Shop and the Lifting and Handling Shop. The workforce trade-skills associated with the Quality Assurance Shop include the engineer trade; the crane-operator trade is the primary trade-skill in the Lifting and Handling Shop.
This questionnaire asks about the shipyard workforce, and the policies and processes used to run it. We will visit your Job Site after we have received your completed form to review the questionnaire to ensure we understand your responses and to give you an opportunity to submit additional comments.
Many questions ask for direct workforce estimates. If these are not available, or not available in the format we request, we would appreciate any information that will help us understand the issues addressed in the questions.
If you are limited by insufficient space/time to fill out the response, please continue your response in the space provided in status update application and attach. Please assign workforce parameters and workload to the designated Trade Skills as is done for reporting workload and workforce.
Labour Type refers to the type of workforce kills used to execute availabilities at all DoD Job Sites. We have identified a number of workforce labour types including permanent, temporary, contractor, apprentices and military personnel. We include an ‘other’ category which we invite you to use to identify any other workforce labour types currently used that we have not specified.
1. Please provide a list of your shop names and proportion of each workforce trade skill by shop
2. Please provide the average number of workforce assigned to each Shop and Labour Type.
3. Please provide the current distribution of your workforce by years of experience in the field
4. Does the workforce experience distribution differ significantly by Labour Type?
5. Please provide the average percentage of total new hires within each experience level and workforce Skill Category.
6. Please describe your workforce recruitment pool e.g. certain training centres, other shipyards, grown within the organisation, etc.
7. How does the workforce recruitment pool this differ by Labour Type and Shop?
8. Are there particular workforce skills or disciplines that are in high demand or for which recruiting is difficult?
9. What causes the high demand for workforce skills, or why is it difficult to recruit for them?
10. What constrains your hiring rate for each workforce Labour Type and Shop e.g. available recruitment pool, ratio of instructors to new technicians as function of shop space and labour type
11. What is the maximum annual growth rate you have sustained as a percentage of the total permanent workforce, by shop?
12. What is the maximum annual growth rate you could sustain as a percentage of the total workforce, by Labour Type?
13. What has been the maximum percentage of the total workforce represented by temporary, apprentice, uniformed and contractor labour?
14. For how long did the yard operate at this workforce percentage level of for example contractor/uniformed employment?
15. Please provide the average number of annual recruits for new hires in the apprentice workforce programme.
16. Please provide attrition rates as a percent of the total number of workers in the Skill Category.
17. What constrains your ability to reduce the workforce?
18. How do workforce constraints vary by Labour Type and Shop?
19. If attrition is not sufficient to reduce the workforce, what types of options are there eg, Reduction In Force, etc and what are the implications of executing these options?
20. When do you expect your permanent workforce to typically no longer work for your organisation? Do you expect this to be lower, higher or the same in the future?
21. Please indicate the average-- over experience levels relative productivity of the various Labour Types to that of the permanent workforce.
22. Does relative workforce productivity between the different types of labour depend upon Shop? If so, please enumerate the relative productivity differences by skill.
23. On average, how many years does it take for a new workforce hire to become fully productive within each Shop?
24. What is the relative workforce productivity, to that of production tradesman by year of the apprentice programme?
25. What is the maximum-- annual average percentage of workforce overtime that has been worked within each Shop?
26. What is the maximum peak Overtime worked at any point in time and for how long did the workforce operate at this peak level of Overtime?
27. What limits or constrains your ability to employ overtime for the workforce?
28. Do you cap workforce overtime by dollars, hours, or percentage of straight-time hours? If so, how do these caps operate?
29. How does overtime affect the productivity of the direct workforce? For example, by what proportion does productivity decrease as overtime increases?
30. How does productivity during overtime vary by shop and workforce Labour Type?
31. Do different workforce Labour Types typically perform more, less, or the same amount of overtime?
32. What kind of production-related throughput expectations are set for the workforce? For example, do you use worktime quotes for product?
33. How do you currently measure productivity? How does this vary by shop and workforce Labour Type?
34. For intermediate level and or other non-depot level jobs, provide total direct workforce labour man-days for non-depot level workload by Skill Category
35. Please provide the average annual standard workforce man-days per year expected to be worked by Labour Types and years?
36. Please provide average costs over all workforce experience levels unless otherwise specified
37. Please provide the direct workforce compensation package during straight-time for each type and in each shop
38. Please provide the workforce labour cost factors that get applied to the direct labour rate as a percentage of compensation rate
39. Please describe how the factors are used to estimate total cost of workforce over the time it takes to complete jobs.
40. Please provide the average rate of workforce compensation per work period by Skill Categories.
41. Please provide the average cost of hiring workforce not including the cost of new hire time to become productive and recruiting factors
42. What are the average training costs for workforce including the cost incurred for providing the trainer materials?
43. Please specify how training costs vary by workforce Trade Skill and Labor Type. For example, do apprentices have different training costs from other new hires?
44. Are there specific tasks that temporary workforce labour perform?
45. Under what conditions do you typically subcontract the workforce workload? For example, are there conditions patterns?
46. What types of work or tasks do you typically assign to subcontract workforce?
47. Please describe commonly-used sources of subcontract workforce labour and specify whether use of subcontract labor varies by Skill Category.
48. . What constrains your ability to hire and use subcontract workforce labour and use outsourcing?
49. What types of workforce tasks do you typically outsource and does it vary by Skill Category?
50. How would you characterise the quality of outsourcing market, eg number of providers, and how easy is it to hire workforce for special trade skills, etc.