FORWARD 20 23
3 l 1 l 2023 A weekly publication of Newport News Shipbuilding
Shipbuilders test the catapults on USS George Washington (CVN 73) during its refueling and complex overhaul. The aircraft carrier is scheduled for redelivery to the Navy later this year.
The NNSFORWARD Strategy has been published annually for the past five years to provide a general understanding of the goals and objectives required to move our shipyard forward. The strategy’s five overarching objectives are in the boxes to the right.
We will demonstrate to our people that we care about them, their development and their overall well-being by focusing on basic needs.
We will transform our business to become more agile and efficient with a focus on people, technology and our culture.
Our mission of delivering great ships to the Navy supports keeping the free world safe. This mission comes with a responsibility that is at odds with a “status quo” mentality. We know it isn’t enough to simply do enough. We have to do more, be more, and stand for more. I call this our grit.
This grit, bred over generations, powers our inexhaustible drive to become smarter, more efficient and more innovative.
Our mission and our grit set us apart. From everyone.
Over the last few years, we have engaged our hands, hearts, and minds to leverage technology, create new processes, and grow ideas into reality to build a framework for NNS to more efficiently meet our mission and deliver on schedule to the Navy.
In 2023, we will leverage that framework to accelerate improvements in key areas. You can expect to participate in continuous improvement actions; to see a continued emphasis on safety, an inclusive environment, and hiring and retention; and to have opportunities to develop your strengths and skills.
Because collectively, these actions allow us to be the best shipyard we can be – a healthy business we are all proud to be a part of.
The NNSFORWARD Strategy serves as the foundation for NNS’ growth and transformation. While the five components of our Strategy remain constant: Enable Our Workforce, Transform Business Operations, Execute Efficiently, Grow the Business Base and Lead the Way, our tactical improvement efforts evolve over time as new tools are created, processes are improved, and new ideas grow.
Please take time to read this special edition of Currents. It highlights some of last year’s accomplishments, and discusses how we will continue building on our progress to be the healthy business we want to be.
I am excited to watch us succeed in 2023.
All the best,
Jennifer Boykin President Newport News Shipbuilding
We will improve our business execution by improving processes based on lean principles and continual learning.
We will sustain our core businesses and create innovative products and services; and collaborate to grow all HII segments.
We will set our company‘s vision, ensure alignment around direction, and communicate how we “win” as one team.
Shipbuilders attend a kickoff event for ANCHORS, a new employee resource group for employees who have been with the company for five years or less. To learn more about ANCHORS, or Advancing New Careers Helping Our Resources Succeed, visit MyNNS or download the NNS to Go app.
The first component of the NNSFORWARD Strategy focuses on people. The heartbeat of Newport News Shipbuilding, our shipbuilders’ dedication, commitment and strong work ethic define our business. Enable Our Workforce commits to providing an environment that inspires these attributes and shows we care for our shipbuilders, their development and overall well-being.
Last year, NNS leadership committed to three priorities that Enable Our Workforce, including innovative hiring and retention practices; accelerating craft, foreman and construction supervisor time to proficiency; and
providing leadership opportunities to strengthen management skills.
NNS conducted more than 440 recruitment events and filled 5,654 positions in 2022, despite a challenging labor market. To help retain employees, Human Resources introduced a stay survey that gave all employees a voice in NNS’ efforts to create an inspiring work environment. Actions underway include targeted salary adjustments to be more competitive with market demands, and creating more growth and development opportunities.
ENABLE OUR WORKFORCE
We also enabled our workforce by:
• Providing custom training for targeted populations among our current workforce that has resulted in an average 30% increase in craft proficiency.
• Launching the Advanced Development Program, which focuses on building networks, developing a broader understanding of the business, strategic thinking and growing personal leadership capacity.
• Deploying the Deckplate Leadership Development Program to new foremen and construction supervisors and those with less than two years of experience to ensure fundamental competencies necessary to successfully lead.
• Launching ANCHORS, a new hire employee resource group (ERG) to enhance the new employee experience through connections, personal development and growth, and building strong business and professional networks across the enterprise. The ERG is designed for employees who have been with the company for less than five years.
The second component of the NNSFORWARD Strategy concentrates on business transformation. The priority for 2022 was deployment of an operating structure using phase management to improve execution and schedule predictability.
As NNS has evolved over the last century, our work – and our approach to getting the work done – has become increasingly complex. The newly
implemented Construction Operating System (COS) standardizes work instructions and breaks down work into three-month sprints, helping leaders track progress so issues are identified and addressed sooner.
The COS is leading throughput improvement for the Virginia -Class Submarine Program. Completion of work packages has increased by about 25% on Block IV submarines since May 2022.
TRANSFORM BUSINESS OPERATIONS
We also transformed the business by:
• Standing up a Business Acceleration Division to support transformation. The division is responsible for overall strategy execution, including operational health and risk-opportunity management, as well as continuous improvement and advanced development.
• Posting Key Performance Indicator (KPI) boards across the shipyard to ensure foremen have a standard platform to communicate business outcomes and shipbuilders have a visual understanding of their progress.
Virginia -class submarine New Jersey (SSN 796) was rolled out in April 2022 from NNS’ Modular Outfitting Facility to the Floating Dry Dock, where it was submerged and launched.
Execute Efficiently is the third element of the NNSFORWARD Strategy, and it focuses on improving execution by streamlining processes based on Lean Principles and continual learning. In this area, 2022 priorities included improving material availability and delivery to construction teams.
The implementation of a control tower, a data dashboard used by supply chain professionals, aids
buyers to prioritize critical material to better address at-risk purchase orders, help minimize deckplate disruption and forecast material availability. It uses predictive analytics through artificial intelligence to create prioritized alerts to predict delays. It also uses interactive visuals and drill-through features to turn data into actionable behavior. Since its implementation during the second quarter of last year, Supply Chain Procurement’s buyer efficiency has increased 16%.
We also executed efficiently by:
• Implementing Dorothy, an artificial intelligence virtual help desk agent that helps IT respond to service desk requests more efficiently.
• Deploying short-range planning to standardize how work is sequenced in the manufacturing shops. This process improves manufacturing stability and predictability while allowing the escalation of ship priority work in a controlled manner. In 11 of the last 12 weeks of 2022, the Structural Fabrication and Assembly (SFA) and Component Fabrication and Assembly (CFA) shops had all the material, planning packages and engineering documents needed to go to work for 95% of the items due to start that week.
Shipbuilders in NNS’ Steel Production Facility work together to move an Enterprise (CVN 80) unit to a nearby platen.
The fourth component of NNSFORWARD focuses on sustaining our core business through innovation while seeking opportunities to grow, and Newport News Shipbuilding did not disappoint in 2022. Our 25,000 shipbuilders are working on 21 ships in various stages of construction and overhaul inside the gates, plus an additional 13 ships outside of Newport News.
Progress continues on the second Gerald R. Ford -class aircraft carrier, John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), and shipbuilders laid the keel last summer for Enterprise (CVN 80) before a crowd of more than 2,500 shipbuilding partners, family and friends. The refueling and complex overhaul of
USS George Washington (CVN 73) is nearing completion, while USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) is in the early stages of her overhaul. Progress continues in the Virginia -Class Submarine Program, too. NNS celebrated the Arkansas (SSN 800) keel laying in the fall, honoring a record six sponsors, and the program is tracking to deliver New Jersey (SSN 796) and floating off Massachusetts (SSN 798) later this year.
This year’s priorities included securing a key role in critical submarine design efforts; and developing and executing the plan for optimum acquisition of future aircraft carriers.
Leaders from NNS, the Navy and construction company W.M. Jordan break ground on the Multi-Class Submarine Production Facility. The building will be one of three facilities outfitted for the construction and delivery of both Columbia - and Virginia -class submarines.
GROW THE BUSINESS BASE
We also continued to grow the business base by:
• Investing in the Multi-Class Submarine Production Facility, which consists of three new buildings that will enable NNS to better support the construction and delivery of Virginia - and Columbia -class submarines. NNS broke ground in February 2023 on the first phase of construction. Work on the other two facilities is planned for later this year.
• Continuing construction on the new CVN Assembly Hall designed to boost aircraft carrier production efficiency. The Assembly Hall will total six bays and include a three-story support building.
• Continuing to share our expertise in early Navy studies that will help shape SSN(X), the future attack submarine design to follow the Virginia class.
• Continuing our partnership with the Navy to demonstrate the value of a two-ship aircraft carrier buy for CVN 82 and CVN 83 with three years of advance planning on four-year build cycles.
CVN 80 Ship’s Sponsor and Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky praised our shipbuilders during the August 2022 keellaying event and talked about the similarities between her training and shipbuilding that include endurance, fortitude, consistency and no shortcuts.
Each of our shipbuilders possesses leadership responsibilities, whether they are an engineer, welder or vice president. The final element of the NNSFORWARD Strategy is a culmination of the other four. Lead the Way establishes our collective vision, and it ensures we are aligned and driving our everyday actions to win as one team.
In the Lead the Way category, 2022 priorities included strengthening our health and safety program, renewing our commitment to continuous learning and improvement, and more purposefully connecting to our mission and purpose.
Our success is achieved with safety at the forefront of all that we do. While Newport News Shipbuilding experienced a decline of over 100 injuries compared to 2021, there is significant room for improvement. To maintain a safety focus, Environmental Health and Safety issued more than 300 communications on injury and hazard reduction topics and increased its surveillance activity across the shipyard to mitigate hazards and correct safety deficiencies. These surveillances will continue through the new ObserveNNS app to be launched later this year.
LEAD THE WAY
We also led the way by:
• Welcoming General Dynamics Electric Boat Quality Ambassador Chris Yaris to NNS to share his experience during the 2009 USS Hartford (SSN 768) collision, reminding shipbuilders of the importance of quality and the direct impact NNS has on sailors’ safety.
• Continuing to build our Team Submarine Program Management University partnership with our fellow shipbuilders at General Dynamics Electric Boat. The program launched in 2021 as a means to bring select NNS and Electric Boat shipbuilders together with Navy and supplier representatives to grow their design and construction knowledge, and improve leadership skills and business acumen. In 2022, NNS hosted two cohorts.
• Hosting special events that celebrate our workforce and their vital role in national security. These events included the Enterprise (CVN 80) and Arkansas (SSN 800) keel layings, and a prescreening of the blockbuster movie “Top Gun: Maverick.”
• Displaying “The Mission Starts With Us” banners across the shipyard to acknowledge Independence Day and remind shipbuilders of the importance of their patriotic work.
To be a healthy business in 2023 and improve our performance, we will put our operational framework in motion. This year will focus on maturing the Execution Operating System and a full deployment of the Construction Operating System on all programs. We will continue our hiring and retention efforts, as well as developing our shipbuilders’ skills and strengths to be the best shipyard we can be.
This year’s business priorities are highlighted in the adjacent boxes.
• Execute plan to improve retention.
• Execute plan to improve critical skills and proficiency of production workforce.
• Increase deckplate leader knowledge and proficiency.
• Develop plan for digital factory deployment to improve operational efficiency.
• Develop and deploy operational health framework to better focus actions based on data and analytics.
• Fully deploy the Construction Operating System across all programs.
• Develop plan to extend operating system to address upstream inputs needed for manufacturing.
• Accelerate rework reduction plan to improve first-time quality.
• Execute SSN(X)/undersea warfare wargame to inform future growth strategy.
• Execute the two-ship aircraft carrier buy campaign.
As of fall 2022, NNS turned over 1,200 of John F. Kennedy’s (CVN 79) total 2,600 compartments to the aircraft carrier’s crew. CVN 79 is among 21 ships in various stages of construction and overhaul inside the gates, plus an additional 14 ships outside of Newport News.
• Develop and execute leadership development plan focused on building a stronger performance-based culture.
Get News. Give Feedback. Follow HII: Produced by Newport News Shipbuilding Communications Division. Currents is published every Wednesday. Download the NNS to Go app or visit NNStoGo.com for the latest news and updates. To submit a story, email Currents@hii-nns.com.