Page 63: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (March 2000)

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Ship Repair & Conversion (continued)

USN Reduces Shipboard

Planned Maintenance (continued from page 20)

NAVSEA implemented SURFMER across the entire Navy surface fleet.

Beginning in October 1996,

SURFMER engineers began a systemat- ic review of all scheduled maintenance requirements. Instead of performing reviews on a ship-by-ship basis as was done with the Yorktown pilot project,

NAVSEA implemented SURFMER sys- tem-by-system, applying the resulting revamped maintenance procedures fleet-wide. Typically, SURFMER reviews are conducted on site, at Navy in-service engineering activities such as the Naval Surface Warfare Center detachment in Philadelphia.

In addition to application of a repeat- able engineered process, SURFMER's success depends upon close teamwork between NAVSEA and AMS RCM

Backfit trainers and mentors, Navy in- service engineers, and fleet sailors with current deckplate operating experience.

These three groups work together dur- ing an intensive week-long SURFMER cycle to gain proficiency in the RCM

Backfit methodology. Two days of

RCM Backfit training is followed by three days of analysis of specific main- tenance requirements for systems under review. At the end of the week, Navy engineers submit their changes to the

Navy's PMS system for implementation in the fleet. Revisions are entered into the PMS management information sys- tem and distributed periodically to fleet units via CD-ROM by Fleet Technical

Support Centers in Norfolk, Va. and San

Diego Calif.

To date, 27 SURFMER Cycles have been completed. The most recent being

Cycle 27, which occurred the week of

February 7, at the Naval Surface War- fare Center detachment in Philadelphia.

Systems reviewed during Cycle 27 included distilling plants (flash type), mooring and towing gear, electrical gear, shop equipment, SONAR domes, waste heat boilers, and boat handling gear.

SURFMER has allowed sailors more time to perform truly necessary mainte- nance, and while having more free time to spend on liberty while deployed and with loved ones while in homeport.

MR1 Margaret Buffa, an MR (machinery repair petty officer) from

USS Gunston Hall (LSD-44), a Cycle 27 participant said, "I'm the only MR on my ship right now and have to do a lot of maintenance. I love the maintenance workload reduction I've seen from

SURFMER. It has made my life easier, and the equipment still works just as

March, 2000 well." Time savings achieved by

SURFMER to date exceed 2.3 million man-hours per year, (see chart on page 20) In addition to the time savings, asso- ciated maintenance-related consumable (e.g., oils, greases, solvents, rags, etc.) and HAZMAT disposal costs have been significantly reduced as well.

The bottom line: SURFMER achieves real, measurable results, with tangible benefits to fleet sailors. SURFMER, by its nature, is a continuous improvement process — systems originally reviewed in 1996-1997 are being revisited in cur- rent cycles. The revisits sometimes yield more reductions, by percentage, than the first time around as Navy engi- neers become more proficient in the process and more confident in the results. The next step is to institutional- ize the SURFMER methodology across the Navy's engineering community, so that it becomes the everyday way of conducting business.

Ariana Baseman is a freelance writer based in Silver Spring, MD

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