Surface Warfare Magazine
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NAVSSES Reaches Milestone
for DDG 51 Machinery Control System Process

Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station successfully resolved their 1,000th System/Software Problem/Improvement Report (SPIR) using an internally developed process, July 1.

The process ensures decisive, clear and consistent distance troubleshooting guidance and support for DDG 51-class machinery control systems (MCS).

In February 2013, the DDG 51 Machinery Control Systems Branch at NAVSSES began using a process developed by a group of its engineers to improve the workflow of providing in-service engineering support to ships, shipyards and regional maintenance centers (RMC).

Photo by MC2 Carlos M. Vazquez IIThey created the Fleet Support Process (FSP), which established an email entry point where anyone needing help with DDG 51 MCS issues can submit their support request. The email routes through a carefully developed process so an in-service engineering agent (ISEA) can solve the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Before the FSP, requests came to the group in many roundabout ways making it difficult for engineers to track an issue's progress, said Noam Oz, program manager for DDG 51 class machinery control system fleet support at NAVSSES. Now anyone needing assistance submits an inquiry via email to

Since the inception of the new FSP, the team has improved its SPIR closure rate to almost 92 percent. In 2013, the first year, the team closed 308 SPIRs followed by 509 in 2014, and they are on pace to reach 450 by the end of 2015.

Oz said it is difficult to compare their closure rate today to before FSP implementation because the metrics are not available. He said one of the main goals of the new process is to develop metrics that help them become more efficient in serving the customer.

"Two of our great achievements of the FSP are that it enables us to capture meaningful and actionable metrics, and it is successful by the empirical data reflecting a 90 percent plus closure rate," said Oz.

Another goal is to share the information gathered by NAVSSES with all ships in the class, RMCs and shipyards. Oz said everyone benefits from the information because often ships, RMCs and shipyards will encounter similar issues and their knowledge of previous SPIRs helps them resolve problems on their own.

Oz said he and a few other NAVSSES engineers (referred to as the gatekeepers) monitor the email box and send an immediate reply to the requestor letting them know their issue was received, and it will be assigned to an ISEA for action. They assess the issue and assign the task based on knowledge of the problem and availability.


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In the past most of the work was directed to only a few engineers because they were whom the ships knew to contact. Now, the "gatekeepers" evenly distribute work amongst all the engineers in the branch so no one person is overburdened.

"Before we had maybe six engineers getting all the calls from ships," Oz said. "There was a lot of duplicity and uneven distribution of the workload."

NAVSSES engineers work with more than 60 ships in the DDG 51 class - of which there are five to seven variants of machinery control systems going through different stages of modernization.

Oz said his team developed a spreadsheet showing the variant of each ship and which machinery control systems it utilizes. Oz then created a list of engineers (with a primary, secondary, and tertiary) who are most knowledgeable for each variant of machinery control system. This ensures the best possible person is working an issue.

The results he looks for with FSP are improved quality of work, reduction of time to complete the job, and lowering the cost to do business, said Oz. So far, he is happy with the outcomes.

"It's been amazing what we've accomplished in only two and a half years using this process," said Oz. "The real reward is when we get fleet feedback saying the process works." Surface Warfare Magazine

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