Tuesday 20 April 2021

Manufacturing design management in project

The art of production planning at a shipbuilding company lies in the optimal and accurate time arrangement of stages and works on each project.

The words "project" and "project management" are firmly entrenched in the terminology used by managers across different fields and levels of management. This article describes one example of project management of complex production and shows one area where without a design approach the desired result is almost unattainable.


According to the ISO 21500 project management standard, the project needs to be understood as a unique set of processes consisting of coordinated and managed tasks with start and completion dates to achieve the goal. Achieving the goal of the project requires results that meet specific requirements, including restrictive conditions on time, cost and resources.

Project management is the application of methods, tools, techniques and skills in the process of project implementation. Project management involves combining different phases of the project lifecycle, each with results. These results are reviewed periodically as the project progresses to meet the requirements of the initiator, the customer, and the rest of the stakeholders.

In practice

Without a design approach to management, it is impossible to organize the production of complex (both constructively and technologically) products. As an example, I will cite one of the largest shipbuilding enterprises in Russia - Baltic Shipbuilding Ltd.

The plant specializes in the construction of surface ships of the 1st rank, ice-class vessels (icebreakers, multi functional supply ships, offshore maintenance vessels) with various types of main power plants, nuclear floating power units, floating desalination complexes.

In fact, these are two plants in one: shipbuilding and large engineering. So that you can imagine the complexity of the production process, I will give a few facts on one of the orders (projects) currently under construction, namely the nuclear icebreaker project 22220 (a new type of Russian nuclear icebreaker with a nuclear power plant).

The construction of the icebreaker includes the development of technical documentation, the construction of an icebreaker (including the installation of a nuclear power plant), the provision of all necessary equipment, descent to the water, mooring, running and ice tests, the delivery of the finished vessel by the state admissions committee. 

The ship has a five-year lifespan. The icebreaker (the object of shipbuilding) includes more than 7,000 pieces of mechanical engineering with a cycle of manufacturing up to two years. The attachment of the structure of parts is more than 500. The labor-intensiveness of construction is measured by millions of man-hours. The weight of the metal for the manufacture of the icebreaker hull is more than 10 thousand tons. The length of welds on the hull is comparable to the distance from Moscow to Beijing.

The art of planning

The art of planning production at such a company lies in the optimal and accurate time arrangement of stages and works on each project. At the same time, you need to take into account all sorts of restrictions imposed on each project individually, on all current projects (taking into account the impact of projects on each other and competing for resources) and on the whole enterprise. In addition, there is constant monitoring and prompt change of plans, which should also be taken into account when planning.

In general, there are many different limitations affecting each project, such as:

· The duration or target date for completion of the project, as set by the contract;

· The budget of the project, which includes all economic and financial means for the purchase of materials, equipment and systems for the manufacture of the ship, payment for the work of the design bureau, the supervisory organizations and the wages of workers;

· availability of resources for the project, such as workers, real estate (staple, boating or place on the per-construction embankment), time, production equipment (machine and work centers), materials, tool, etc.;

  • Factors related to employee safety
  • Acceptable exposure to risk;
  • The possible environmental impact of the project
  • laws, regulations and other regulatory requirements.

The PDCA methodology(Plan-Do-Check-A ct) - "planning - action - verification - adjustment") is mandatory in the planning of production, which is an algorithm of actions to manage the process and achieve its goals (Figure 1 PDCA Cycle in Shipbuilding). The management cycle begins with planning.

Planning - setting goals and processes to achieve them; Planning for work to achieve process goals and meet the consumer planning the allocation and allocation of the necessary resources.

Execution - implementation of planned works.

Accountability and monitoring - collecting information and monitoring the result based on key indicators obtained during the work; identification and analysis of deviations, establishing the causes of deviations.

Corrective actions - taking measures to address the causes of deviations from the planned result, changes in planning and allocation of resources.

[1] PDCA Cycle in Shipbuilding

Planning in shipbuilding

Planning for the execution of a shipbuilding order is multi-level - based on the construction of network schedules of different levels. In fact, the network schedule is a dynamic model of shipbuilding order, which includes the production process, documentation development and many other works (tasks). This model reflects technological and logical dependence, the sequence of work and links them over time, taking into account the cost of resources and the cost of work, and the allocation of narrow (critical) project locations.

At the same time, there is a different detail of the project, which includes several network graphs of different levels, interconnected on key points.

At the first level of detail is the general construction schedule, fixed by contractual obligations. Further, on the basis of the master schedule (or schedule of the first level), which includes key processes and checkpoints (values) of the project, as well as the technological schedule formed the calendar-network schedule of the project, each task of which in turn is detailed to local schedules of the manufacture of sections and premises or installation of specific equipment.

The figure below (Figure 2 Pyramid of construction graphs) illustrates the relationship between all three levels and the presence of the same checkpoints: the "Order Descent" checkpoint between the first and second-level graphs and the "End of the ERC" - between the second-level graph and the local schedule of the installation of the propeller column on the ship.


[2] Pyramid levels of construction schedules

We should not forget about the presence and impact on the construction schedules of adjacent schedules: the development schedule of design documentation (RCD) and the schedule of production of materials and purchased equipment. After all, in order to perform the work, production must be provided with materials and design and technological documentation.

Circular bail

Not all nodes and systems are manufactured by the shipbuilding company itself. For example, a completely different plant produces a completely different plant for a nuclear icebreaker. The processes of supplying complex systems and units to the shipbuilding production of the plant's logisticians also conduct using the design approach, controlling the design, manufacture and delivery of equipment.

All these innumerable graphs are linked, and any minute change in timing for one of the tasks leads to changes in a huge number of interconnected processes. The task of the project manager is to track these changes and their impact on the critical path of the project.

The Critical Path Method is a project time planning and management tool that is to determine the longest sequence of work (tasks) from the start of the project to the project's completion, taking into account their relationship.

When you discuss the automation of manufacturing management, there are usually only three terms:

ERP - solutions that integrate production and operations, human resources management, financial flows and asset management, focused on continuous balancing and optimizing the company's resources;

MES - systems of analysis and optimization of production in any production: class control systems of the workshop level, balancing capacity (machine, work centers);

PDM - systems that manage all information about the product: the structure and technology of the product.

However, the complex, complex and time-consuming production of piece products (e.g. shipbuilding orders) is impossible without the use of a design approach and specialized project management software.

Project management is born at the junction of these systems, managing and controlling the relationship between logistics and financial processes, production schedules, and production, taking into account the project's resources and the company's resources as a whole (Figure 3 PM Place - Systems in the Production Management Circuit). At the same time, the project management system cannot replace any of these systems in any way. It complements each of them.


[3] Project management Place - Systems in the Production Control Circuit

In the case of simple production, design and technological documentation is usually ready and verified by more than 80%. And the task before the planned department is only to plan the production process itself, taking into account three parameters: the availability of materials and purchases, available production facilities (work centers) and the provision of manpower.

If we consider shipbuilding in USA, in the vast majority of cases the process of development of RCD goes in parallel with construction. RcMP is developing a third-party organization - a specialized design bureau. The project manager must monitor the consistency and relationship between the RCD release schedules and the production schedule.

Many PDM systems now have the ability to maintain and monitor production preparation schedules, but this part becomes completely inconvenient if a large project is managed or (more difficult) by a group (portfolio) of projects where all processes are interconnected and can be in the contour of a critical project path. 


The production schedule affects not only the production plan, but also the need to purchase units and units and, as a result, the company's cash flow plan. In turn, without a planned schedule of production orders (or reaching contracted project checkpoints) it is impossible to plan the receipt of funds from the customer.

Equally important is feedback - monitoring the implementation of the project. After all, each completed order on the MSH (machine-building part) or the completed project for the supply of equipment or receipt of objects of inter-factory cooperation (part of the order, outsourced) makes possible the execution of construction work.

Separately, it is worth noting that the integration (both direct and reverse) of project management and related systems (ERP, PDM, etc.) is a very difficult task. And this task becomes impossible without the correct organization of regulatory and background information of the enterprise. 

In order for integration to be possible, end-to-end coding techniques for equipment, materials and work decomposition structures (Work Breakdown Structure, WBS) are required. 

Only with end-to-end codification makes it possible to link together all operations such as procurement, production, accounting, maintenance, technical reports.

For different productions, the approach to NSI coding can be different. Industry standards (such as SFI in overseas shipbuilding) or monopolist standards in the industry (e.g. Siemens standards) are common.

Summing up all of the above, we can conclude that project management as a methodology and a tool for planning and monitoring works on the development, preparation of production and manufacture of complex technical systems (in particular, shipbuilding products) with a high level of complexity and uncertainty is an indispensable tool of managers of all levels of the modern shipbuilding enterprise.

But the organization of project management automation is a very non-trivial task, requiring not only the application of specific information systems in the enterprise, but also the correct organization of information and business processes of the enterprise.

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