Surface Warfare Magazine
Sharing stories and news from Sailors across the U.S. Navy’s Surface Forces
 
7/1/2015
 
No More Force Revisions!

Let’s face it, there are some things in life that are just difficult to deal with and we have to accept that they aren’t going away; flies, taxes, spam (email, not the canned stuff). And as a Sailor, Force Revisions (FR) can be added to that list. Or can they? This pesky, paper dependent process has long been a drain on time and a headache for Sailors everywhere. Still, they’re necessary in today’s Planned Maintenance System (PMS).

Could life on a Navy Ship actually exist without FRs? It might not be as far-fetched as you think. U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF), Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), and Commander Pacific Fleet (CPF) are looking into this concept as well as other steps to reduce the administrative burdens on Sailors. Thankfully, many initiatives have helped to bring these issues to light. They include the CNO Reduce Administrative Distractions (RAD) initiative of 2013, Commander Naval Surface-Force Pacific (CNSP) 3M Summit Survey of 2014, as well as feedback on today’s PMS from maintainers.

While a successful program since the 1960s, current Navy PMS is not perfect. Of course, nothing is, but that is not stopping leadership from continuously challenging themselves to give Sailors the best tools and processes available. Reducing the burdens that can be such a large part of PMS today is a high priority. That’s why USFF, NAVSEA and CPF have commissioned a joint venture called the Future of PMS (FoPMS). This program is a modernization of the Navy’s Planned Maintenance System. FoPMS ties the many current PMS initiatives into one streamlined program that will bring about much improved software and procedures. Current initiatives include tools like SKED 3.2, Tailored Force Revision (TFR) Packages, Configuration-based PMS, PMS Change Indicators and TFR templates. All are independent projects to be blended together into a cohesive, improved system.

So what are all of these burdens on Sailors? Well, let’s start with the one whose name is in the title of this article: Force Revisions. Today FRs are sent to ships via DVDs in the mail. This is a necessary mechanism to periodically update over 85,000 PMS documents. Unfortunately, at this time, there is no other way to digitally transmit this bulk upload of changes. The Fleet receives these changes quarterly for submarines and carriers and semi-annually for Surface ships and shore activities. One thing to note about these DVDs is they contain all of the documents that apply to ships, not just revisions. As of right now, infrastructure doesn’t support sending only the changes. It’s all of the documents including the changes. Chances are you’re reading this because you’ve had to implement an FR which is not fun to say the least. It’s not fun because the PMS program is a very paper dependent process and that is especially true for implementing FRs. Current policy drives the need for administrative focused 3-M inspections and requires hard copy PMS documents like the 13 week File and numerous Lists of Effective Pages (LOEPs), MIP and MRC reports. Managing all this paper work and the changes that go along with it, is very time-consuming.

 

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Let’s look at an example of a quantity of documents processed for an FR (Figure 1). The most recent Force Revision (FR 2-15) for DDG 100 had 303 MIP changes and 1,349 MRC changes. MIP and MRC use often overlaps between multiple work centers which means DDG 100 will process 553 MIPs and 2,581 MRCs creating an excessive amount of man-hours in FR processing.

FIGURE 1. QUANTITY OF DOCUMENTS PROCESSED FOR FR 2-15
Figure 1

To give a better idea of just how time consuming this can be, assume it takes one minute to process a change for a document. The latest FR for DDG-100 would see sailors spending over 52 hours processing PMS document changes (See figure 2). So if there are 62 DDGs in the Fleet, that’s over 3,238 man-hours. This 52 hour requirement is solely for prioritizing and replacing changed documents and does not include even more time consuming tasks like line-outs, initials and approvals. More on that in a bit.

FIGURE 2. TOTAL MANHOURS TO COMPLETE BINDER UPDATES FOR FR 2-15
DATA ASSUMES 1 MINUTE PER CHANGE
Figure 2

Why do we need all these hours for paperwork? Isn’t this the digital age? Wouldn’t it make more sense for Sailors to log into a computer, see the tasks at hand and perform them? Tasks, it should be noted, that are up to date? Of course it would. This is something called “continuous distribution” and it is in the plan for the Future of PMS. Think of it as having the latest information available to you. You wouldn’t have to worry about updating all your changed MRCs each Force Revision. The MRC would already be in its latest form because, internet connection permitting, it’s continuously updated. Right now the infrastructure for this is lacking but that is being addressed. In the meantime, PMS Change Indicators and TFR packages are helping to ease the burden of Force Revisions until the Future of PMS eliminates them completely.

Since we’re talking about MIPS and MRCs, we can’t forget about lineouts. PMS documents can be complex, ambiguous, and contain excessive warnings, cautions and notes. It’s up to the Sailor to identify problems and recommend improvements and since these procedures can contain multiple equipment variants, Sailors must determine what does and does not apply to them when scheduling maintenance. They then have to go through the documents and lineout all the steps that do not pertain to them.

How can lineouts be a thing of the past? The following short term enhancements have been implemented in SKED to aid in the FR review and lineout process. PMS Change Indicators is a tool built into SKED 3.2 to help quickly identify changes to documents. Additionally, SKED 3.2 has electronic documentation features that reduce the need for pen and ink changes. But much more is in the works with TFR packages, Equipment Maintenance Plans (EMP) and Configuration-based PMS. These efforts give sailors equipment specific MRCs so they can spend more time working on procedures that pertain to them rather than deciphering what is relevant and what is not. This will ultimately eliminate the need for scheduling aids and procedure step line-outs.

With so much of the burden on Sailors to manage all facets of PMS including improving the accuracy and quality of PMS documents, their feedback is needed more than ever. Unfortunately, the current Feedback Report system (FBR) does not make this easy. This brings us to our next administrative burden on Sailors that needs some relief.

In addition to FBRs being hard to track once they’re submitted, alerting the engineers ashore of issues with technical applicability or accuracy of the PMS document in question is placed on the maintainer. There are also the burdens that go with processing Advance Change Notices (ACNs). While ACNs provide rapid resolution to urgent or critical maintenance issues, the process is suboptimal and not integrated with the standard PMS scheduling software in the Fleet.

The Future of PMS initiative is going to change this with a fresh, new tool called the PMS Service Request (PSR). The PSR will be a tool meant to inspire customer service and communication. Unlike the Feedback Report, after a PSR is created and approved by leadership, it will become visible to the engineers as well as to all PMS Activities who use the same configuration in question. This added visibility will hopefully foster communication. The Activities will be able to add their comments and give a “thumbs up” if they agree with the PSR or give a “thumbs down” if they disagree. This could really help an engineer come up with an optimized solution. In addition, the Sailor who initiated the PSR can track it easily and see what others have to say about it. By leveraging network technology and increasing visibility to all involved activities, the PMS Service Request will be more streamlined and allow for quicker responses. So if we were able to get rid of Force Revisions, end lineouts, and fix Feedback Reports, would that put an end to Sailors’ administrative burdens? It would certainly chip away at them but another issue still remains: inefficient use of Sailor manpower.

Because 3-M tools are being developed and maintained by various organizations, they don’t work smoothly together. This results in a sailor having to enter and track data in multiple, disconnected applications. For example, if Sailors find a discrepancy on a piece of equipment, they might have to put it in a safe condition and then go to another application to order parts and so on and so on. In an ideal world, the world that will be the Future of PMS, all of these applications will be connected. If Sailors run into an issue while conducting PMS that requires parts, they could simply click on a link that would take them to R-supply, or whatever the supply program of the future is, and order the part. FoPMS won’t be taking over the applications, just connecting to them which will save Sailors’ time.

Finally, no one likes bad grades. At least no one who takes pride in doing their job well. Nothing will make good Sailors cringe more than seeing their PMS accomplishment rating go down, especially if it’s due to situations beyond their control. But that can happen since some maintenance is not being accomplished due to a lack of tools that support PMS logistics forecasting. MRC documents are not always consistent and don’t specify volume or quantity of parts and materials needed so that Sailors can successfully complete maintenance requirements. Making this problem even harder to manage, systems are not tied to logistics for forecasting what is needed to support PMS. This leads to reduced PMS accomplishment ratings and aggravation for the Sailor. Again, it goes back to linking systems together. If all the applications could network with the supply system, Work Center Supervisors could order what they need. SKED 3.2 is making improvements to this but the ultimate solution to networking systems lies with the Future of PMS. FoPMS will update the documents to contain this necessary information. Data collection points will also be added so Sailors can input how much of their supplies they actually use so that supply quantities of the requirements become more accurate over time. For example, if it takes one pump of grease to grease a bearing, a data collection point could see just how much is being used per pump and predict when you’ll need a new tube of grease.

It’s clear that USFF, NAVSEA and CPF are making serious efforts to reduce the administrative burdens Sailors face every day when performing PMS. We’ve already hit on some of the current initiatives in place that are helping but it’s important to note that this is an ever-evolving process. SKED is constantly being upgraded to improve the overall user experience and make scheduling maintenance easier. TFR Templates, with equipment maintenance plans, are being tested this year with an expected arrival to surface ships in 2016. These Templates are being created using TFR data to assist with PMS schedules, standardize MIP and MRC usage, and tie PMS to configuration.

In addition, NAVSEA is also engaged in other PMS content initiatives designed to reduce PMS complexity and ambiguity which will lessen the strain on Sailors. These include Reliability Centered Maintenance based Fleet Maintenance Effectiveness Reviews (FLEETMERs), streamlining HAZMAT and PPE requirements, as well as standardizing situational requirements and their applications across maintenance activities. In case you haven’t heard, FLEETMERs bring together specialists and Sailors to verify the applicability and effectiveness of MRCs as well as to improve the quality of the procedures.

The ultimate solution for reducing the administrative burdens on Sailors lies with the Future of PMS. By tying the current and short term initiatives together with new ideas and technology, the Future of PMS will reimagine the Navy’s Planned Maintenance System. It’s an overhaul and modernization effort that will bring Navy PMS into the 21st century and standardize it across the Fleet. The end-state of the Future of PMS is a streamlined system with continuous distribution, Equipment Maintenance Plans and improved software tools. More importantly, it’s an effort to let Sailors know their voices are being heard and something is being done. (See table below for a look at the current state of PMS and what’s to come.)

The Future of PMS won’t happen overnight. This is a six year plan that will solve the problems of today’s Navy PMS. However, reducing administrative burdens on Sailors is a priority right now.

For more information on the Future of PMS or anything you’ve read in this article, go to the “Reinvigorate PMS” milBook page on milSuite.mil. You can also provide feedback or request information by sending an email to pms@navy.mil. We look forward to hearing from you. Surface Warfare Magazine

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