Software, services, and expertise for the business of shipbuilding.

        • Achieve a Quick ROI
        • Sliced implementations and our expertise means a benefit from day one, without a lengthy setup.

        • Integrate, Collaborate, Re-use
        • SSI’s Open Shipbuilding Platform gives you a future-proof source of truth for your shipbuilding projects.

        • Change Management
        • Get visibility into changes, understand the impacts, and have the right information at the right time to execute the change.

        • Adapt and Innovate
        • Create a local or virtualized shipbuilding environment for your global distributed workforce.

        • Design
        • The most significant opportunities to impact the cost of building and operating a ship are found in the design and engineering phase.

          Initial Design  |  Basic Design  |  Detailed Design

        • Build
        • Even a smaller shipbuilding project is immense in scope and scale. Manage the challenges that are unique to ship construction.

          Prepare  |  Fabricate  |  Assemble

        • Maintain
        • With the majority of a ship’s life taking place after it’s been built, it’s crucial to ensure that the organization has a clear picture of the vessel at all times.

          Digital Twin  |  Repair / Refit  |  Operations

        • Nexus
        • SSI Nexus is the place where users, creators, & implementers of SSI software get together. Here they discuss best practices & industry trends, tackle common challenges, gain access to the latest software, and provide input into the future of the products that bring them together.

        • MyLearning
        • SSI MyLearning is where SSI users can access detailed training exercises, materials, courses, and certifications. The self-directed training curriculum ensures that training happens on your schedule and when you need it most.

        • SSI Blogs
        • The SSI blog is your place to get insights into the intersection of shipbuilding and technology, how our industry is moving forward, and keep up with SSI news. It’s the only place to read the latest from Denis Morais and Darren Larkins, SSI’s co-CEOs.

          Lighthouse Waveform  |  Shipbuilding Solutions

        • ShipConstructor
        • Engineering information is a shipbuilder’s most important asset. Getting that information to fit your business means using a solution that is built to handle shipbuilding’s unique challenges and information requirements throughout each stage of a vessel’s lifecycle.

        • EnterprisePlatform
        • Every process in a shipyard requires data. Seamlessly sharing that data across tools in the correct format needed allows for meaningful, actionable information to be consumed throughout the organization. Providing the freedom to choose the tailored tools required for a shipbuilding project.

        • ShipbuildingPLM
        • ShipbuildingPLM is the only product lifecycle management (PLM) platform that is specifically built for the business of shipbuilding. It allows your shipyard to manage and organize information, understand change, build a foundation for digital innovation, and support MRO activities – without the risks and costs of traditional PLM implementations.

        • Company
        • Learn more about SSI and our leadership.

        • Locations & Contact
        • You need a partner with a global presence.

        • News
        • The latest on SSI and shipbuilding.

        • Events
        • Join us at our next event, conference, or trade show.

        • Partners
        • Learn more about our Platform and Development Partners.

        • Clients
        • See the industry leaders who trust SSI.

        • Careers
        • Help us make the business of shipbuilding possible.

November 5, 2019
Industry Trends

Product lifecycle management has been a missing link for many shipbuilders in recent years. Far too often implementations have taken too long, and once implemented, shipbuilders are not seeing the expected return on their PLM investment. 

Why is this? Worldwide, shipbuilders have seen the benefits of PLM and have worked with PLM experts with decades of experience, but without guaranteed successUltimately, it comes down to the fact that shipbuilding is a unique industry, and PLM systems need to accommodate that. 

Shipbuilding is Different 

Shipbuilders naturally understand how shipbuilding is different from other industries, even those that also produce large, complex ‘products.’ Unfortunately, this reality (that shipbuilding is unique) fails to be reflected in the PLM implementations in place. 

Part of the problem comes from the fact that shipbuilders practice production engineering and not just ‘regular’ engineering. It’s completely normal for a ship to be engineered for manufacture at a specific shipyard, with consideration made to the unique constraints that brings. That basic difference trickles down throughout the entire workflow of a ship’s design, engineering, and construction and affects the types of information required to make key decisions. 

Only recently have other industries begun to consider how manufacturable an item isBut in shipbuilding, manufacturability has always been top of mind and remains a key part of engineering. Engineers are constrained by the standards, catalog, and rules that were pre-setup for the project, limiting engineers to only design parts which can be manufactured.  

Legacy or traditional PLM systems don’t account for or make provisions for “Shipbuilding DNA.” Those traditional systems were created with automotive and aerospace in mind – not shipbuilding. The unique processes and workflows encountered in shipbuilding are not seen in other discrete manufacturing industries. This fact can catch PLM consultants not previously exposed to shipbuilding off-guard and can limit the potential effectiveness of an implementation. In extreme cases, it can result in a failure of the entire implementation. 

No Isolated Processes in Shipbuilding 

The legacy nature of some PLM vendors means they are frequently set up to be a closed and monolithic platform. We’ve already seen that an open platform of platforms approach is marking the way forward within our industry, especially as it relates to the Digital Twin. But the PLM solutions currently deployed are not able to cope with the agility and flexibility required to meet the needs of shipbuilding. 

Ultimately, the shipbuilders who are considering implementing a PLM solution are planning on doing more than just adding an additional system. They are fundamentally trying to adjust the way they conduct their business. Without understanding how current processes function in reality, or how those processes and workflows should look like in the future (with or without a PLM), it’s impossible to determine what solutions can actually make that reality possible. 

Choosing the Right System 

With an understanding of the processes that will be required, when it does come time to investigate PLM tools, make sure to consider the key recommendations originally outlined by SSI co-CEO Denis Morais

  1. Managing models in our industry using the traditional check-in/check-out mechanism is not going to work. Make sure the workflow of how you want your team to work is supported in the tool you invest in. 
  2. Modifications of your 3D product model should be kept in your industry specific tool such as ShipConstructor and not in the PLM tool.  
  3. Make sure you have a demonstration with a project that is of a representative size and complexityA vessel can have 10-50 times the number of modeled items compared to an automotive or aerospace project and most systems do not scale linearly. 
  4. Understand how items and documents are related. This is crucial since in shipbuilding you will have multiple drawings for production, fabrication, and modeling (profile plots, arrangement drawings, pin jigs, class drawings, assembly drawings, etc.) Drawings are not an authoring master, just a representation of the product. They should not be treated as the authoring source. 
  5. If two items have the same name, that does not mean they are the same part. Some systems have issues with this and may require another way to identify the part. An example is standard brackets which have the same name but can have different finishing, routing information, nest tape, assembly, etc. 
  6. Make sure you work through your sister ship strategy using the feature set of the PLM tool. 
  7. In shipbuilding, you include much more production within the design. It is impossible to find a 3D product model of a ship which does not already include many manufacturing decisions (material sizes, lifting constraints, block transportation constraints, forming capabilities, etc.). This is why it is very important to maintain the ability to manage the project and not just the engineering data. 

Implementing PLM in Shipbuilding Going Forward 

Implementing PLM is a challenge in any industry, but as more and more shipbuilders begin to understand how a PLM could help them achieve their business goals, it will become be crucial to be aware of what has caused implementation failures in the past.  

The unique aspects of production engineering, processes, workflows, platform capabilities, and even company culture will all play a part. However, the shipbuilders who can best determine how they do business and choose a PLM partner that is shipbuilding specific will be best positioned to experience a positive PLM implementation.  

Whitepaper: Transformation Roadblocks

For shipbuilders to see transformation success, they need to overcome the pitfalls of traditional technology implementations.

Read the whitepaper to see how your teams can overcome the 4 roadblocks to digital transformation success.

Read Whitepaper

Don't Miss These Shipbuilding Strategies

Subscribe to the Shipbuilding Solutions blog and get actionable strategies and best practices from industry experts.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.