Original Date: 02/10/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Build Strategy Development and Implementation
In the mid-1990s, Bender Shipbuilding and Repair Company, Inc. aggressively started to redefine the way it does business. To increase its competitiveness in domestic and international shipbuilding, Bender created a build strategy team based on an integrated product team concept.
In the mid-1990s, Bender Shipbuilding and Repair Company, Inc. redefined its building process and resource management to regain and go beyond its market share. Bender aggressively established integrated product and process teams to develop and integrate a build strategy. Previously, Bender did not have a defined company strategy; each of its five yards operated completely differently and independently from each other. Thus, Bender was prone to budget over-runs, late deliveries, decreased profits, and unsatisfied customers.
Bender’s solution required a change in business culture. This meant developing a detailed build strategy as a design and build process agreed to by engineering, material management, production, and testing plan disciplines. This strategy reflects the collective agreement of all company disciplines.
Bender’s early effort established work areas with individual workstations for various ship components. Without the five yards as almost separate entities, the workforce was aligned to support an assembly line process for a better defined cycle schedule bringing materials and workers together at the right time. Bender proactively conducted training of all employees to understand how they built ships in a better integrated method. Employees, through repetition of their general duties, became more effective in accomplishing all necessary tasks.
Bender also partnered with international companies to learn new techniques in shipbuilding. It transformed its previous stick-build yards to unitized construction to make the building of separate sections of a ship more efficient through parallel construction. Different sections could be built in work areas protected from the weather in order to have maximum use of Bender’s heavy lifting equipment for moving the units.
Components of Bender’s build strategy include facilities and equipment; assembly principles; pipe, paint, and tank strategies; planning and scheduling; work stations; engineering; quality assurance; and manpower. Having implemented this build strategy, Bender has increased its shipbuilding capabilities from three ships to six ships a year, with a goal of eight ships a year. Bender has also increased company profits and improved employee morale and customer satisfaction.
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