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About this book

This book highlights the main features of shipbuilding management which lead to successful completion of shipbuilding projects. A brief review of the market context for the industry, its historical development are given to explain how shipbuilding arrived at its current structure. First pre-production including design, planning, cost estimating, procurement of materials and sub-contracting. Then, the production sequence outlines part preparation, hull assembly and construction, outfitting and painting, testing and completion. The importance of human resources and management organisation are explained. Building a ship is a complex project, so the principles of project management are described, first in general terms and then with specific reference to their application in shipbuilding. Finally managing the progress of a shipbuilding project and achieving completion are emphasised.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Background to the Industry

Abstract
The starting point for any shipbuilding project is a potential contract. Therefore the market is an appropriate place to begin a discussion of shipbuilding management. Any shipyard can only operate in the context of the market demand for its products. The importance of shipping is outlined and the main types of commercial ships. The demand for these ships derives from replacement of old ships, development of new trades and improvements in ship technology. A shipyard needs to research and understand all these and maintain close contact with the shipowners in the market.
A brief overview of historical development of shipbuilding is offered, including the increasingly rapid developments since the introduction of steel for ship construction, power for ship movement and operation and new shipbuilding technologies. These include welding, large cranes and dry docks, though the importance of the management activities is emphasised.
George Bruce

Chapter 2. An Activity Map of the Shipbuilding Process

Abstract
After the brief look at the shipbuilding industry, this chapter outlines the process of building a ship and the activities required from start to finish. This outline uses an “Activity Map”, which provides an overview of ship production, showing the stages of a ship project and also the major functions of a shipyard which are needed to realise the project. Each intersection of a stage and a function indicates an activity. The stages of a shipbuilding project start with the overall company strategy, including marketing, then the evolution of the project through design, planning, procurement, production, trials and completion. Post delivery service closes a loop back to marketing. The functions in a shipyard manage the main activities through the life of the project and include design, planning, procurement, production engineering, production, commercial, human resources and quality management.
George Bruce

Chapter 3. Competitiveness

Abstract
All shipyards, and the activities they need to perform, operate in a market environment. This is in most respects a competitive market in economic terms, though it can often be distorted by political effects. Political influence on the shipbuilding market has always existed, and will continue to do so. Any shipyard management therefore must manage as far as possible the external environment in which it operates. A shipyard must also seek to be competitive through improving its business activities. Competitiveness is the ability to win and perform shipbuilding orders and remain in profitable business. It requires analysis of the performance of all shipyard activities to identify, using readily measurable performance factors and often through comparisons with other shipyards, where they can be improved.
George Bruce

Chapter 4. Overview of Project Management

Abstract
This chapter offers an introduction to project management, starting with a look at what are the main features of a project. These are something different from regular production of simple items in large numbers, which characterises much of industry. They are not routine operations although many of the activities in ship construction are relatively routine. Often ships are built in a series of more or less identical vessels, but each ship can be considered a project. There is a goal, to build the ship, a fixed start and end date, many disciplines required, many stakeholders and risks which need to be managed. Projects have a definition phase to give clarity on what needs to be done, a planning phase to make all necessary preparations, an execution phase to complete the work and a closure phase to ensure close out and learn lessons for the future.
George Bruce

Chapter 5. Shipbuilding Company Strategy

Abstract
A starting point for any ship project is an overall shipyard strategy. This will define the ship types the management intend to build, the way in which the shipyard functions will operate, the facilities and subcontractor requirements. Main suppliers will be identified, as well as any other external organisations which can help or influence the shipyard. Development may be required to improve competitiveness and to allow the construction of the ships selected. Each development is a project, requiring careful planning. The volumes of production and the material flow require to be analysed, and the production equipment specified. For a major development, a suitable site must be found, major facilities decided, especially a dry dock and major buildings and equipment acquired. A financial analysis is essential to ensure viability.
George Bruce

Chapter 6. Ship Project Strategy

Abstract
The strategy for the construction of a new ship requires solutions to a number of questions. For the initial strategy, the solutions are provided in outline, then they increase in detail once a contract is secured and the project develops. The first issue is to decide what is to be produced which is determined by the design activities. The initial design gives enough information for the strategy, in parallel with initial planning which determines the timing of the work. The next question is where to build a ship, which may include subcontractors and more than one shipyard site. Initial resource needs are then required, including people and equipment. Major items to be procured must be identified and finally decisions on how the work will be carried out. The initial strategy is developed into detailed work preparation as the project proceeds. A new project may identify a need for changes to some of the shipyard operations.
George Bruce

Chapter 7. Commercial Activities

Abstract
While most of the activities in shipbuilding are technical it has to be remembered that the ultimate objective of the shipyard is to make profits and so stay in business. So the first requirement for a shipyard management is to obtain profitable contracts. As a result, the commercial activities are fundamental and begin as part of the company strategy, including use of industry forums to promote the company. They also have to be closely aligned with the technical activities so the two are mutually supportive. The commercial function is generally responsible for dealing with the customer and for the development of a suitable contract. It carries out estimating of the project costs and is responsible for the financial elements of a contract. The conclusion of a project, the commercial personnel ensure that the completion criteria are satisfied and all due payments are received. An overview of general contract principles is presented and some specific ship contract requirements.
George Bruce

Chapter 8. Materials Management

Abstract
The increasing percentage of items for a ship which are bought from suppliers resulted in an increasing role for materials management. This is to ensure that all the materials and parts for the construction of a ship are received and will meet the requirements of the owner and regulators which place quality and operational requirements on these items. For successful construction, the shipyard management needs the items to be made available to the production departments of the shipyard when required. Within the constraints of the market for the products required and regulations, there is another shipyard objective which is to minimise the cost of what is purchased. Maintaining good relations with suppliers is critical. Materials management also includes maintaining sufficient inventory at the lowest possible cost and ensuring safe storage and handling of materials.
George Bruce

Chapter 9. Ship Design for Production

Abstract
The design process for a ship is primarily concerned to ensure successful, safe operation to meet the owner’s requirements. Increasingly in order to build the ship efficiently and at the lowest possible cost, design has expanded to include all the detailed information needed for production. Working alongside other functions, the designers can help to reduce costs by matching the design as closely as possible to production capabilities. This includes making use of standardised materials and parts where possible, maximising the sizes of units and blocks and arranging the equipment and services so that as much work as possible is completed in the workshops. This has considerable potential to reduce costs and the time taken for construction of the ship.
George Bruce

Chapter 10. Planning

Abstract
The chapter provides an overview of shipbuilding planning and a brief overview of some important planning tools. These are bar charts, as the simplest form of planning, logic diagrams to show the sequence of work on a project, Gantt Charts for the scheduling of work stations and two network planning techniques, which are Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) and Critical Path Method (CPM). The planning develops as the project is rolled out and the information available increases. Several stages of planning are identified, staring with overall planning for the shipyard, through a project network to departmental schedules and workstation scheduling. Some potential problems in planning are identified, such as conflict between project planning and local scheduling, and how they may be overcome is explained. The importance of a work breakdown structure is emphasised as a basis for planning.
George Bruce

Chapter 11. Cost Estimating

Abstract
The cost of a ship or any other large, made-to-order product must be estimated, in the first place to determine whether the construction of that ship is a viable project for owner and shipyard. Estimating problems exist because a ship construction project is always the creation of something novel. Further the information on which an estimate can be based is not always available until late than it is available. Initial estimating methods include use of ship parameters, including weight, capacity and dimensions. As information becomes available, more detailed estimates can be made using past production data. Maintaining a database of past performance is critical, as is prediction of future capability due to new developments. The estimate will be a guide rather than an accurate statement of the cost, so is always a potential risk to a project.
George Bruce

Chapter 12. Steel Part Preparation

Abstract
The provision of accurate cut steel parts is fundamental to successful ship production. The chapter outlines the main activities for part production, the equipment options and procedures required. Information on plate and stiffener parts is presented. An overview of pipe production and some comments on other outfitting are also in the chapter. Part production can be outsourced in some cases and the positive and negative aspects of this are described. Part production is also the stage of shipbuilding most amenable to automation, and the benefits of this are also outlined. The need for a financial analysis of the alternative processes which are available is emphasised, based on a sound production data base.
George Bruce

Chapter 13. Assembly

Abstract
Shipbuilding is primarily an assembly industry, using the parts created in previous processes. For a well-developed shipyard, using the most efficient processes, the assembly activities consume the largest proportion of steelwork man-hours. Considering first steelwork assembly, this is usually carried out in several stages which are minor assembly such as brackets, sub assembly, including girders, units including panels, and blocks which are substantial structures. In a small number of shipyards the blocks may be combined prior to incorporation in the ship into complete ship cross sections or rings which may weigh several thousand tonnes. Specialised workstations can be used for flat and curved panels, with some automation. Past data and analysis is essential to develop the most efficient processes. Assembly includes outfitting, from small modules to substantial machinery space units. Assembly should include paint coating, to fulfil the objective of minimising the work which must be completed at the construction stage.
George Bruce

Chapter 14. Ship Construction

Abstract
Ship construction is still often the most labour-intensive stage of shipbuilding, unless the shipyard is well organised and uses large blocks. Ships are constructed usually in a dry dock, though in some cases on a slipway or on flat ground, in which case they are launched using a ship lift. Minimising work at this stage is important because the same task can take many more labour hours than earlier in a workshop. Using large blocks or units requires very good control of accuracy as the assemblies are very difficult to adjust. Some shipyards therefore use smaller units, more typical of shipyards in the second half of the twentieth century. Efficient use of the construction site is important because it is the most expensive facility and how quickly a ship can be constructed dictates how many ships can be built and hence the shipyard income.
George Bruce

Chapter 15. Quality Management

Abstract
Quality management is mandatory for many companies in that if they do not have an acceptable, formal quality system then customers will not consider their services. When it is formally defined, quality management requires quality planning, quality assurance, quality control and continuous improvement. The overall stated objective of these is to ensure that the production process is so organised that it will ensure that the finished products satisfy customer requirements. For shipbuilders an important element in quality is managing the accuracy of parts and assemblies, to minimise the required manhours. The use of control charts is a major element in quality management for shipbuilders. Using the data obtained from control charts and other records provides a basis for continuous improvement of the production processes.
George Bruce

Chapter 16. Human Resources

Abstract
Ships are really built by the people in the shipyard so dealing with the people, the human resources, is a significant element in shipbuilding management. Whereas equipment can be purchased at any time, workers must be recruited, and often trained. They generally have a choice of where to work, and so need an incentive to be retained because they are always free to leave for alternative employment. When the shipbuilding industry is busy, there is often a shortage of skilled labour. When there are few orders, shipyards may need to reduce their workforce, and this creates problems. An analysis of the skills and age profile of the workforce gives a basis to establish what recruitment and training may be required. A suitable payment system is needed to help retention of labour. The labour force has an important role in avoiding pollution and excessive waste from the processes in use.
George Bruce

Chapter 17. Progress Monitoring and Control

Abstract
Once a shipbuilding project is started, it is essential that processes are in place for the monitoring of progress. Even if progress is exactly according to plan, which is often not what actually happens, it is necessary to know that for certain. More importantly if progress deviates from the intention, and that is usually the project slipping behind the schedule which was planned, that must be identified. Monitoring is carried out at the detailed, work package level, to provide rapid information on any delays. Local delays can result in key events in the shipbuilding programme being late, causing project delays and cash flow problems. Anticipating problems is critical to maintaining a project schedule. Earned value management is useful provided the data available is reliable and timely.
George Bruce

Chapter 18. Management Organisation and Information Systems

Abstract
The organization of a shipbuilding company is important. The activity map shows both the sequence of a project with the outcomes required at each stage and also the main functions in a shipyard. Either of these can be the basis for organization, though in most cases shipyards use function because that focusses on technical capability. The best organization is some form of matrix to combine the two. An organization which follows the work breakdown structure is good, as it makes communication easier. An effective management information system is essential so that all management has access to necessary status data. Effective communication is then improved, so the management can concentrate on those aspects of a project where problems have been identified.
George Bruce

Chapter 19. Completion and Evaluation

Abstract
After the completion of any project, including a ship, the final activity should be to make an evaluation of how the work was conducted. Final evaluation of the shipyard work can be largely carried out on delivery to provide feedback to future projects, although feedback at all stages of a project will support local improvements at any time. It is important to make a thorough and truthful evaluation, both to avoid making the same mistakes in the future and also to identify and spread good practice.
An important part of the closure of a project is ensuring completeness of all documentation, delivery of required certificates to the owner and other parties and accounting for all financial matters. Some outstanding problems and issues arising as the ship begins service are inevitable. Dealing with these in a timely and efficient way can be a benefit in seeking new orders for the shipyard.
George Bruce

Backmatter

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