When Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic (SURFLANT) approached the Industrial Support Department at NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Norfolk about performing a pilot project adding a full Repair Parts Analysis Group (RAG) to an integrated logistics overhaul (ILO) scheduled for USS Wasp (LHA 1), the response was an enthusiastic “yes.”
“This type of end-to-end supply chain integration for the ship’s repair parts, along with the other integrated logistics support functions aligns exactly with what we’re looking to achieve as a NAVSUP Enterprise with Naval Sustainment System-Supply (NSS-Supply),” said NAVSUP FLC Norfolk Industrial Support Department Director Mike Johnson.
NSS-Supply is a combination of commercial best practices, process improvements, governance, and oversight to maximize efficiencies and effectiveness within available means. This initiative will better align numerous independent Navy supply chain functions under NAVSUP, in order to improve readiness, transparency and affordability, while maximizing the use of NAVSUP FLC Norfolk’s capacity and capability. This falls under the NSS-Supply pillar of ‘Optimize Working Capital Fund’.
“As we implement NSS-Supply, we’ll be taking on this role that will require us to integrate, orchestrate and synchronize supply chains within the Navy, including SYSCOMS, TYCOMS, organic and commercial repair activities, and other NSS efforts,” said Rear Adm. Pete Stamatopoulos, commander, NAVSUP.
For NAVSUP FLC Norfolk’s Code 500, performing a RAG is nothing new. It’s been part of the ILO process for smaller ships such as cruisers and destroyers from the beginning of the ILO program in the 1980s. An LHD provides a different challenge, due to the much larger size of the ship and the sheer number of repair parts it carries. A DDG carries approximately 15 thousand line items, where an LHD can have upwards of 30 thousand.
“Unlike our CRUDES (cruisers and destroyers) ships, LHDs do not receive full ILO services during extended maintenance availabilities,” said Lt. Cmdr. Tabitha Noel, who works at N4123 Future Readiness at SURFLANT. “Due to the large number of spare parts held onboard they do not receive the benefit of a comprehensive repair part analysis.”
She added this pilot program with Wasp will also ensure that storeroom spares are in compliance with the Navy Configuration Data Management Database/Open Architecture, align storeroom spares with shipboard true configuration and remove all excess material.
“The inventory held on LHDs is owned by NAVSUP and this will benefit their ongoing audit readiness efforts,” she added.
From NAVSUP FLC Norfolk’s perspective, this process involved identifying the warehouse space large enough for SURFLANT’s request to perform a RAG on approximately 15 thousand line items. From there, NAVSUP FLC Norfolk Code 500 and the Wasp Supply Department got to work transporting parts off the ship, a huge project performed over a period of several weeks.
NAVSUP FLC Norfolk Integrated Logistics Support Division Director Cmdr. Kevin Borkert says early communication and planning are key to ensuring successful ILO operations. Meetings with the ship’s supply officer and staff help set expectations. The process also allows NAVSUP FLC Norfolk personnel to have “eyes on” the material and storerooms being offloaded for the ILO process.
“Communications well in advance of the ILO being conducted ensures storage space, offload plans and all other details are covered in depth by the involved personnel on the team,” he added.
For the ship, the benefits fall into three major categories according to Wasp Supply Officer Cmdr. Ryan Anderson: inventory validity, configuration and safety.
He added that this process ensures controlled access to material that can be put at risk when storerooms are breached during shipyard work.
“Numerous LHDs have had their availabilities delayed due to unforeseen work breaching storerooms,” he explained. “When that happens, the material must be moved before work can continue. Financial and schedule impacts can be tremendous.”
He went on to explain that from a configuration perspective, the ILO enables the ship's COSAL (spares package) to remain updated with changes to the ship's configuration that are made during the availability. The result is a much more effective spares package at the end of the availability.
“Finally, removing all of that material makes the ship much safer during the availability,” he added. “Almost all parts and their packaging are flammable, so hot work adjacent to loaded storerooms is inherently dangerous.”
The ILO for Wasp will take place over the next several months. There are already discussions about adding a RAG to the next big deck amphibious assault ship ILO, based on the successes and lessons learned in this current pilot project.