Dec 1, 2013
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The U.S. Navy spends nearly $4 billion annually on maintaining ships. Most of this work is done at public shipyards that perform some of the most complex tasks the Department of Defense must accomplish. Shipyard managers face some unique challenges. The shipyards are required to be flexible enough to meet both planned and emerging operational needs that can cause significant disruptions to schedules and workloads. Laws and policies dictating when, where, and by whom maintenance can be performed limit management options.
In this demanding environment, achieving cost-effective operations and business practices is challenging. RAND therefore investigated cost-effective workforce-management strategies, alternative workload allocations, and the relevant best practices of comparable organizations. The authors concluded that the Navy uses practices common in other organizations to manage workload variability and uncertainty. However, the Navy's workload forecasts have consistently underestimated the eventual demand on the shipyards. To accomplish the additional, unplanned work, the Navy has used overtime levels that significantly exceed cost-effective levels.
RAND found that increasing the number of permanent journeyman staff at the public shipyards could provide a hedge against future workload growth. By also helping to reduce current high levels of overtime, this option would add virtually no additional cost to that of accomplishing planned work. Although other measures (such as shifting more work to the private sector through subcontracts) could also prove useful, they would require changes to longstanding policies or statute, events not considered likely in the immediate future.
An Evaluation of Planned and Actual Workload Demand
Cost-Effective Workforce Strategies
Additional Workforce Considerations and Sensitivity Results
An Evaluation of Alternative Workload Allocation Strategies
An Evaluation of Other Organizations' Workload- and Workforce-Management Practices
Conclusions and Implications
Depot Laws and Policies Governing Management Options
Depot Maintenance Industrial Base Study Questionnaire
Mathematical Details of the Workforce Allocation Tool