Shipbuilding will always remain tied to physical space, a digital twin – no matter how detailed – does not float. Despite this, over the past month, many of our clients have proven that the shipbuilding industry can look at a challenge ahead of them and adapt rapidly. Around the world, milestones are still being met, engineering is progressing, and steel is being cut all while social distancing best practices are followed on the shop floor and designers and engineers work from home.
So many of our clients have successfully made the switch to working remotely and while distancing, I wanted to highlight some of the great stories of adaptability we’ve been hearing and whose transition we’ve been helping with.
How Clients are Overcoming the Challenge
Two months ago, like almost everywhere else around the world, Lambertus Oosterveen, CAD Manager at Royal Huisman, had his commute in the Netherlands cut short. Royal Huisman had implemented measures to curb the spread of covid-19 and as a result, designers and engineers were now working on the projects at hand from home. This transition required an all hands on deck approach across every department within the office but ended up being a success thanks to an existing capability for home work and a turn towards maximizing the value of technologies like Citrix, GoToMeeting, and Microsoft Teams.
On the shop floor, work goes on. The production team has started working to maintain distance between employees, provide disinfectant, and keep the risk of contamination as small as possible. “Social distancing on the shop floor is not always easy, especially on board the ships, but we have been doing a great job,” said Lambertus. Both in the production facility and the home offices of designers and engineers, the most significant contributor to the success of Royal Huisman’s adaptations was the coordinated response of the leaders in charge. Management understood the challenge ahead and accepted the need for swift change.
At HII, America’s largest navy shipbuilder, work is still progressing at a high pace on the huge number of ongoing projects. This is possible thanks to the measures HII has put in place to minimize the spread of covid-19. Apart from implementing a daily extensive cleaning and sanitizing program, the company has introduced temperature screenings at entry points across both divisions.
Closer to home, Seaspan Shipyards has been leveraging the expertise of organizations outside the shipyard for some time and were early adopters of Workshare which provides continuous easy access to important and dynamic information. They have also been innovating to minimize the risk to their employees and stay open. As they continue work on the Canadian National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) projects, they have stepped up social distancing measures on the shop floor and transitioned their team in the office to remote. In an update to employees, Seaspan Shipyards CEO Mark Lamarre said: “continuous improvement as a shipyard ethos is something I have strongly believed in for many years, but what I have seen in the last month across Seaspan Shipyards has taken that concept to a completely different level.” All of the efforts put in place are paying off as Seaspan is continuing to meet milestones and support their community because of them.
What makes it possible
With any transition come growing pains. Shipbuilders are used to working in a changing environment and responding to those market changes dynamically, ramping up and down as needed. The underlying flexibility and commitment to continuous improvement present in shipbuilding – by integrating with the best tools, getting up and running quickly, investing in just the components you need, and transforming processes for the digital world – has proven to be a business advantage as we work together to tackle the covid-19 pandemic.
“While shipbuilding specific tools are critical to a true shipbuilding solution, we don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. Off the shelf solutions are solid and available to fill the gap between those tools” says SSI’s Director of Marketing, Michael Viala. He continues, “Times like these bring into focus just how comprehensive an approach to solving problems has to be.”
Resources for working at home
We’re proud to say that our solutions were always capable of easily being used remotely. The quick start Knowledge Base article on running ShipConstructor remotely has been widely accessed by teams around the world. Our Client Success teams, ready to troubleshoot any issues and walk shipbuilders through getting up and running remotely, have seen relatively little action as our clients have found the process simple.
As always, our SSI Learning resources are available to help those looking to shore up their ShipConstructor skills. If you or your organization need help to work with SSI remotely, don’t hesitate to contact us.