New Capacity Model seeks to improve production at FRCs

AS3 Alicia Dalton from FRCMA Detachment Norfolk performs electrical trouble shooting on the A_S_48M_108 Mobile Electric Power Plant.

Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) commanding officers (CO) may soon have a new tool to better forecast and increase maintenance throughout without sacrificing safety or quality.

The Capacity Model, one thread of the Sustainment Vision 2020 (SV2020) initiative, enables stakeholders to view the workload capacity of each FRC as well as the entire naval aviation sustainment system. For the first time, the model allows for “what-if” analysis of workload across the sites to optimize repair solutions and use of resources, including equipment, facilities and personnel.

SV2020 aligns existing readiness recovery efforts throughout the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) with new solutions to ensure the enterprise is approaching readiness recovery holistically. The Capacity Model is an integral piece of this, according to Capt. Chris Couch, FRC Mid-Atlantic (FRCMA) CO.

“What surprised me the most was how well the component production processes were captured,” Couch said. “The model was accurate in forecasting component production rates.”

FRCMA is the first site where all of the workload data was collected and entered into the model.

The Capacity Model uses different types of data, depending on the type of site. For depot-level sites, historical production data is input to the model. This refers to all of the data available that tells the story about items being produced within the FRC. Router data is used to run the model for intermediate-level sites. Maintenance router data is the data that tells the artisan where to route the workload for the next task. Both can be run through an algorithm to produce a real-time analysis of where the site is experiencing constraints. These results allow leadership to not only make accurate decisions regarding equipment, facilities and personnel, but also allows them to see exactly what they can and cannot handle.

For example, if the planned capacity is based on specific equipment being in working order and a determined number of dedicated artisans, but the equipment is down or workforce challenges exist, the model can quickly incorporate the constraint and resources can be re-allocated before throughput is negatively affected.

Historically, the depots relied on trends from past years to predict workload, which assumes that needs will be the same each year, leaving sites with outdated and inaccurate forecasting information. The Capacity Model provides predictions in “real-time” allowing for meaningful and actionable results.

These modeling efforts at FRCMA identified several work centers with both over and under-utilized equipment and/or personnel. Recommendations of shifting personnel with similar qualifications from day/night shift and from work center to work center garnished an increase in production of a thousand or more components. Other non-material solutions that provided process improvements included increased qualifications for maintainers and artisans, adjusted logging of workload to increase efficiency, and documenting equipment usage. Modeling efforts also provided material solution recommendations such as the addition of equipment for specific work centers.

“The introduction of the capacity model is a game changer. It provides the NAE with global visibility of depot capacity to include the ability to perform ‘what-if’ analysis for organic repair,” said Rich Bomhold, SV2020 director

Couch expects the model to have a significant impact on the way business is done at the FRCs.

“For the first time, it accurately captured the constraints, production flow rates and logistics element resourcing for our component production process,” he said. “This allows us to allocate resources where they will have the most impact.”

This is all part of Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers push to find technologically relevant and efficient ways to allow the enterprise to operate smarter, not harder. To date the Capability and Capacity team has gathered data for shops at four of the FRCs: FRC West, FRC Southwest, FRC Southeast and FRCMA. The team is also modeling the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron.