There were approximately 2,500 people working directly on the Air Warfare Destroyer program throughout Australia, including a national Air Warfare Destroyer shipyard production workforce of about 1,700 people - with major economic benefits to thousands of people in businesses within the supply chain.
BAE Systems Maritime was contracted to build blocks for the three ships in the Commonwealth’s Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) program. Early in the program BAE Systems Maritime Division was being criticised in the media for lack of quality and being behind in schedule. Two years into the contract the AWD team turned around the problems of the past to deliver blocks which had a fraction of the rework from first blocks delivered to ASC.
The project team undertook a program of improvements to raise the quality of the blocks to meet customer satisfaction. Areas that contributed to the turnaround in performance included welding quality, work preparation and dimension control. In addition material management, production build sequence improvement and change management also significantly improved productivity.
The improvement in welding quality and dimensional tolerance reduced our costs, enabled us to hold schedule and contributed to gaining acceptance on the last four blocks of Ship 1. The release rate of work orders was about half of what was required to hold schedule and the change in approach the team developed meant that BAE Systems began issuing work orders ahead of schedule.
Part of the solution also involved importing some of the knowledge and process around dimensional control from the UK. This was vital in getting BAE Systems back on track with the build.
The team established a visual datum system on blocks through build and improved the reporting by removing the Excel reporting and moving to visual reports with traceable storage. This meant the construction team could actually see where there was the potential to go wrong.
Following the implementation of the process improvements, the AWD team shipped more blocks to the ASC early in 2013, with Block 415 of Ship 2 being defect free.