Collaborative planning in shipbuilding
On this shipbuilding project in Sri Lanka, the main challenge was misalignment between core teams: design, procurement and production teams. This increased the risk of late delivery of the project. In this specific project, this risk was also increased by :
- Long procurement lead times of raw materials coming from abroad
- Some key design decisions still to be taken by the client who needed flexility for change requests
- Unclear priorities on upstream work
To address this challenge, we set up a collaborative planning system. The first key step was to align each team on the main project goal (on time delivery) and divide this goal into milestones for each team. Project planning was built collaboratively so each team (design, procurement and production) could identify and plan their own tasks to prepare production. Two upstream flows were identified as key to prepare production:
- Information flow with design and drawings
- Material flow with procurement of raw material
Other preparation tasks related to safety, workforce need, machines and tools needs were also addressed and prioritized.
Once priorities were set for each team, a meeting structure was put in place to ensure the project would stay under control. Two weekly meetings were set up:
- Preparation team meeting to control upstream preparation work
- Production team meeting to control production planning
During these meetings, multidisciplinary teams:
- Evaluate respect to planning,
- Identify deviations,
- Initiate actions to address these deviations,
- Review priorities for coming days and weeks and
- Replan accordingly if needed
Production management ensured the link between these two meetings to make sure impact on production was considered and identified.
This transparent, reliable and realistic planning system allowed to keep the entire project under control.