Ship operators can save an average of 50% to 80%
Six Sigma is a data based decision making tool which
per drydock in unplanned growth costs if they were
emphasizes the disciplined use of facts, data, and sta
to make reliable drydock plans, create precise speci
tistical analysis. First, Six Sigma is a statistical mea
fications, and identify most repair items. The imple
surement. Secondly, it is a business strategy to achieve
mentation of Six Sigma in ship operations will im
virtually defect free, first time quality; and thirdly, it is
prove safety and customer satisfaction, and reduce
a philosophy to create the breakthrough thinking
needed for major process changes. On the other hand,
Lean Manufacturing emphasizes scheduling methods,
speed, simplification, and one piece flow.
Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing in
Through the integration of both processes, it is
planned to demonstrate that productivity will be in
creased, manufacturing costs driven downward, cycle
The University of New Orleans, College of Engi
times reduced, quality increased, and the overall health
neering is sponsoring a Six Sigma and Lean Manu
of the U.S. shipbuilding industry improved (Figure 3 2
facturing project within the shipbuilding industry.
shows the integration of the two principles). NGSS
The integration of Six Sigma and Lean Manufac
personnel are presently being trained on the principles
turing will improve productivity, decrease manufac
and processes of Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing.
turing costs, reduce cycle times, and increase qual
Twenty four pilot projects have been completed at
ity at U.S. shipyards.
NGSS. Upon completion of this project, UNO COE s
Advanced Maritime Technology Application Center will
The University of New Orleans, College of
publish final findings of the results of the pilot projects,
Engineering s Advanced Maritime Technology Appli
make recommendations for future Six Sigma/Lean
cation Center has begun a project to incorporate the
Manufacturing efforts and continue to assist NGSS
principles of Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing within
personnel in their improvement efforts. This project
the shipbuilding industry. This research project is spe
helped facilitate the spread of Lean Six Sigma through
cifically targeted at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems
out the NGSS sector by leveraging the project funding.
(NGSS) Avondale and Ingalls Operations. Through the
Based on the early successes, NGSS has decided to con
integration of the principles of Lean Manufacturing
tinue and expand the methodology. The results of this
and the tools of Six Sigma, productivity increases within
research should encourage other shipyards in the U.S.
the shipyards can occur.
to implement this program.
Figure 3 2. Lean Six Sigma in Shipbuilding