Norfolk Naval Shipyard will be decreasing overhead positions in order to create more wrench turning positions.


Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s Strategic Framework is a tool to communicate the shipyard’s mission and vision statements, and shows how initiatives executed across the command tie together with why NNSY exists—to deliver warships. In order to bridge the gap between mission and vision, NNSY has identified four critical focus areas—our pillars. These pillars are the highest priority strategic focus areas we must urgently work to improve. They are Infrastructure; Dependable Mission Delivery; People Development; and Process Improvement and Innovation.

NNSY’s Mission Pillar Team (MPT) four focus areas were identified to help improve the shipyard’s Dependable Mission Delivery. They are: reduce overhead, optimize Direct Support Services (DSS), increase production efficiency, and inventory other direct work.

DSS are those personnel and positions that provide direct support to the mechanic performing the wrench turning work.

“We have less mechanics (wrench turners) today who perform the work on Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) availabilities than we did in 2013,” said Operations Officer (Code 300) Capt. Michael Oberdorf. “We need to raise the number of wrench turners in order to deliver the submarines and aircraft carriers back to the fleet on time and under budget.”

The efforts of the MPT are to make sure NNSY has the right level of support to optimize value that the mechanics are generating for the Navy. In order to become a shipyard of dependable mission delivery, NNSY needs the right support in the right places to get the maximum overall result for the Navy and the nation.

“NAVSEA has benchmark standards for positions on any given project,” said Deputy Operations Officer Wallace Martin. “Regardless of how much work you have on a ship, there are fixed positions you must have to execute the functions of the Naval Supervising Authority (NSA), while other DSS positions are scalable with the amount of work.”

The Operations Department (Code 300) and the Production Resource Department (Code 900) comprise approximately 50 percent of NNSY’s workforce. Together, along with the Business and Strategic Planning Office (Code 1200), the shipyard is taking a close look at all shipyard assignments to see how they will be most effectively balanced to deliver the ships on time and under budget to the shipyard’s customers.

“We have grown accustomed to work with a certain amount of people who directly support the mechanics who perform the actual work,” said Martin. “We as a shipyard rationalized why we needed more people in DSS, but that has come at a price of limiting the number of mechanics that we have on the deckplate. It’s time for us to look hard at the benchmarks that NAVSEA have provided us to ensure we are operating at maximum efficiency in order to deliver on time!”

Over the course of the next three months, the shipyard will study its number of personnel and set aggressive goals to reduce DSS to optimize NNSY to meet our mission.

“Shipyard personnel aren’t going to become unemployed during this process. But we will take the necessary steps in order to have the right balance between DSS and the mechanic,” said Oberdorf. “Change won’t come easy, but together we can do whatever it takes to build confidence with our customers and our nation that America’s Shipyard has to meet its mission of dependable delivery every time. Our Navy and country are counting on us.”

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