U.S. Navy ship acquisitions are currently managed using the Ship Work Breakdown Structure, or SWBS, which decomposes ships by operational (functional) systems. SWBS was an effective tool in an era when the entire ship procurement program was physically accomplished using a ship system orientation. However as this is no longer the case, the right type of design and management information is not being collected and analyzed under SWBS. This paper describes a cooperative effort on the part of shipyards, the academic community, and the U.S. Navy to develop a generic production-oriented work breakdown structure for ship design and construction. Progress towards implementation of this new approach at a large U.S. shipyard is reviewed. Some implications of the new system and problems encountered as well as projected benefits are discussed from both government and industry perspectives.

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