Ship maintenance

Navy plans to improve vessel maintenance contracts to ensure availability on time and on budget

Lt. Cmdr. Taylor South, right, assigned to the Forward Deployed Regional Maintenance Center (FDRMC), and Kevin Eppleman, a civilian diver assigned to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC), perform an inspection of the cruiser’s propeller Ticonderoga-class guided-missile USS Hue City (CG 66) in Souda Bay, Greece, July 3, 2017. US Navy photo.

SAN DIEGO – The Navy is considering several changes to its surface vessel maintenance practices to reduce costs and on-time deliveries, including considering a new contract model and performing opening and inspection work early enough to that the results influence the solicitation of the industry. .

The Navy had previously allocated availability for vessel maintenance as part of a cost-plus multi-vessel construction (MSMO) that prioritized a predictable workload for the industry, and in 2011, it began to evolve into a contract multiple award / multiple order (MAC-MO) firm fixed price configuration that prioritized cost control.

“We’ve gone from building MSMO over the last couple of years to more of this firm, fixed price environment, and so as I’ve been watching this over the last year, what I’m going to tell you is that we were in a sort of era with MSMO where timing was the number one driver and we didn’t pay much attention to costs, and today we are entering this new firm fixed price environment where we really have focused on cost control and the industry has really responded to it, ”said Vice Admiral Tom Moore, Commanding Officer of Naval Sea Systems Command, last week at the Symposium on Maintenance and Modernization of the fleet, organized in San Diego by the American Society of Naval Engineers.
“But I think the pendulum has probably swung too far the other way, there’s probably a middle ground between the two. So we’ve had a chance to try out this MAC-MO and some of the new stuff over the last couple of years, and I’ve asked my staff to go take a look, now that we’ve learned how it works and we know lessons learned from MSMO, is there a hybrid model that can provide the same level of cost control that we see today in the firm fixed price environment, but that would also provide a bit more predictability and stability for the private sector industry so they can go out and plan better? “

Rear Adm. Jim Downey, NAVSEA deputy commander for surface warfare and commander of the Navy’s regional maintenance centers, told the conference that the move to MAC-MO fixed-price contracts “causes us to increase our planning, and most of those ships are on schedule. In fact, he said, 90 percent of the ships currently undergoing maintenance and modernization are on track to be delivered on time.

Downey said in a presentation to the panel that the Navy expects about 135% of its recent surface vessel maintenance workload in fiscal years 2018-2020, and that this additional workload will strain the Navy and industry to be creative.

“When you look at the 135% and the amount of [upcoming docking availabilities], we need to do something different, for example offering the possibility of assigning multiple vessels and multiple or double moorings where possible, ”he told USNI News after a panel, explaining that there is efficiency gains associated with the same contractor working on two destroyers side by side, for example. Finding efficiencies – which will both keep maintenance on schedule and reduce costs – will be important with the increased workload and could inform the new hybrid contract model that NAVSEA is currently reviewing, a- he declared.

Rear Adm. James Downey, left, commanding officer of the Navy Regional Maintenance Center, answers questions during a panel discussion at the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) Symposium on Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Aug. 15, 2017 US Navy photo.

Additionally, Downey said he was pushing for the “open and inspect” job to be done much earlier in the process, so that solicitations could include a more specific set of work instead of assuming a certain percentage of job growth.

Today, he said in his presentation, the process of opening and inspecting is only required for 20% of the maintenance uptime to be performed.

“It’s not good enough,” he said.
“I would like all the openings and inspections to be done before availability and put the results in the solicitation for you to do the job”, so that the work package is accurate and the work on the tank does not show up as a “new job” later, which has an impact on costs and schedule.

“By not including it in the solicitation, it ensures that you are going to have growth and new work in availability. You have the scope (upon request) to do the opening and inspection, but not the results of it. What we do there is have the industry give us hours on what they think is needed. So this is one of the additional parts or the final parts of the availability that is undefined, ”Downey told USNI News afterwards.
“The government can go and do [the open and inspect work]. We do several assistance visits to vessels for areas that do not include such things as hot work, cutting something to see or something that would cause a system to fail because the vessel is not not available. So in some of these cases the government can do the majority of that and document the findings and put them in the [request for proposals]. And then other a little more complex work that we really need to get into the RFP, maybe we’ll need some additional contracts with industry to go ahead and do these big openings and inspections.

Overall, however, he said the Navy already had crews traveling around the world to support ships, so they could schedule opening and inspection earlier and work with officers from maintenance of the fleet to ensure that this early work would not affect the crew or operations.

Downey said he hopes to implement this increased schedule in fiscal 2018.

U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) pulls Dry Dock 6 at Naval Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF JRMC) Yokosuka on June 1, 2016. US Navy photo.

The ability to set work packages earlier and reduce the potential for new work later is inextricably linked to on-time delivery and the success of the current contracting model.

Downey noted in his presentation that, “as we go through the data… to stay on schedule, to hit budget, the data shows it doesn’t matter who is doing the job, whatever the type of vessel, whatever the port. it is done, if you have changes after 60 percent of the expected duration, the guaranteed loss of operational days.

Several speakers also said that the current MAC-MO is based on well-defined work packages, and as the Navy is developing a new “hybrid” procurement model, implementation of this model could be facilitated by improvements in specific work packages.

“I know that with a firm fixed price we have shifted a lot of the execution risk to the premiums and they now have to submit bids for them to both win the contract and make money. . I understand, ”Vice Admiral Tom Rowden, Commander of Naval Surface Forces, told the conference.
“From my perspective, I have always believed that if I could manage to provide yards with a solid and timely package in accordance with JFMM (Joint Fleet Maintenance Manual) milestones, they would deliver a good product in the end no matter what. or the contractual strategy. . The requirement to have a well-written package before availability begins is even greater in the firm fixed price environment, and I am working hard to ensure that the process is disciplined on our end so that you can be sure of the work package the industry is committed to performing are in fact what they are performing.

Downey said the Navy had previously forecast 20% – or sometimes as much as 40% – growth in new work in availability. in availability.


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