The Navy recruits a configuration management solution
The Royal Australian Navy completes an overhaul of its configuration management framework and supporting information systems with the addition of Teamcenter Aerospace and Defense
A tragic beginning
With billions of dollars in assets and a critical role in national defense, the Navy needed effective and reliable logistics information systems management.
On May 5, 1998, a fire aboard the Royal Australian Navy fuel tanker HMAS Westralia claimed the lives of four of its crew.
A commissioned study into the tragedy identified numerous areas in which improvement was necessary in the way the Navy approached product lifecycle management. This included acquiring a dedicated Navy-wide configuration management tool that would provide the impetus to rectify the deficiencies in the change management process that contributed to the Westralia incident.
Improving safety and performance
Since the time of the incident, the Navy has put enormous effort into overhauling and updating its configuration management framework and supporting information systems, an effort now being enhanced by the addition of Teamcenter® Aerospace and Defense software as the Navy-wide configuration management tool. Teamcenter is a digital lifecycle management solution.
Managing the entire logistics system
The Logistics Information Management Group, a part of the Maritime Systems Division of the Defense Material Organization, is responsible for Navy logistics. “We manage the business framework, processes, data and software that comprise the whole logistics system,” says Garry Russell, the project manager of the Navy’s Configuration Management Tool Program. “The first step in this process was to make sure that the users understood the discipline itself and the framework that needed to be applied to the Maritime Systems Division Configuration Management Tool Program. Procuring Teamcenter was the last piece of the puzzle.”
Russell explains, “All of our assets have a ‘product definition.’ The ships are built to a product structure and what the program and the configuration management tool (Teamcenter Aerospace and Defense) provide are the means to control and maintain what we call the ‘baseline.’ Each product definition is supported by a logistics support package. The program and the configuration management tool allow us to manage that definition through the entire life of the asset, so that at all times the people on the ship understand what their ship looks like and how they should repair, operate and maintain that ship to sustain its maximum operational capability. For example, a ship’s crew may report that a maintenance routine isn’t providing the results that it should. They raise a problem report to the shore support organization, and that problem report goes through the workflows that we implemented in the Teamcenter product.”
The process is well defined. “We come up with a new maintenance routine that is compliant with the technical regulatory requirements and that is fed back to the ship,” says Russell. “This is the closed loop that continually happens through the life of the asset.”
Previously, the process was primarily paper-based, with the framework oriented around what were called “stove-pipes.” One stove-pipe would look after plant maintenance; one would look after component information; one would look after publications, such as operator manuals; one would look after publications dealing with the technical definitions of equipment and so on. “Under this system, changes in one area could create unexpected impacts in another,” says Russell. “For example, a revised maintenance routine could be sent to a ship, which might report that the manual hadn’t been updated or the correct tools to support that routine hadn’t been supplied. There were systemic failures in that business process, which placed at risk our people on the ships we support.”
The selection process
Teamcenter was one of three products that were evaluated against the functional specification for a Navy-wide configuration management tool. The evaluation was a competitive tender with the contract awarded to Siemens PLM Software as the technology provider and to Product Lifecycle Management Australasia (plm) for implementation and support. Note: plm is the master distributor for Siemens PLM Software throughout Australia and New Zealand. “The hardest part of any evaluation is making sure that your framework and evaluation plan is effective,” says Russell. “Once you’ve got an effective plan, then making your selection is quite simple. So it was only eight weeks from the time that the tenders were presented to when we presented a report.”
A fast implementation
Teamcenter was purchased in September and was already in production at the first site by the end of the following June. Russell says, “Currently we have 230 licenses with one site implemented, with the remaining sites having identified the requirements for an additional 110 licenses. Further evaluation of how many seats will actually be needed will be performed at the time of implementation. Our System Program Office (SPO) sites are the end users of Teamcenter and they are located Australia-wide. For the implementation of the first project, the principal customer was in Perth; for our next project the principal customer is in Sydney; and then for the third project the principal customer is in Canberra. And there are others to come in Cairns,Wollongong and Darwin.”
Russell explains, “The first implementation of Teamcenter was, simplistically, a migration from Sherpa to Teamcenter, whereas the next SPO is one of the oldest and they have some 10 to 15 sources of data.We need to bring together all those sources of information into an integrated baseline and then migrate that data into Teamcenter. The integration capabilities of Teamcenter have proven invaluable in bringing together these numerous legacy data systems under the one Teamcenter data architecture.”
An important part of the implementation process was moving from a heavily customized, task-focused user interface to the packaged solution. “Having now implemented Teamcenter Aerospace and Defense at the ANZAC SPO, being the inaugural Navy site, we are happy that we have chosen this software,” says Russell. “The ability of Teamcenter Aerospace and Defense product lifecycle management software to stand up as a 90+ percent ‘out-of-the-box’ solution remains one of its biggest strengths.”
Best-in-class software, great support
In choosing the Teamcenter Aerospace and Defense software solution, the Navy also found a strong partner in plm, the distributor of Siemens PLM Software’s products in Australia and New Zealand. Russell notes, “The capabilities of plm and its capacity to support this project are also a strength. We may be able to buy or procure the best piece of software, but the support of this software is also very important. Here we have a mature and sound piece of software and a very sound company to support that.”