Based on the work breakdown structure theory, the lean shipbuilding method guided by intermediate products is proposed in this article. The hull segment task package is divided according to the content of the shipbuilding operation. Considering the constraints of resources and personnel at the production site, the scheduling strategy of the task package is formulated. Moreover, a virtual flow production system of the shipbuilding workshop is established. On this basis, a lean shipbuilding manufacturing execution system for small and medium-sized shipbuilding enterprises is developed to achieve lean production in a shipbuilding workshop. The application results indicate that implementation of the lean shipbuilding method and manufacturing execution system can significantly reduce the ship production cycle and the number of operators, as well as improve the production efficiency.
In recent years, to resist strong international competition, manufacturers are under great pressure to develop products more efficiently and economically (Nam et al. 2016). The ship manufacturing industry, which faces fierce market competition, helps many nations’ economic systems (Rahman & Karim 2015). For example, the shipbuilding industry contributed over $37 billion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the U.S. economy in 2013 (MARAD 2015). Currently, China’s shipbuilding industry is in a downturn. If the shipbuilding enterprises want to survive and improve their competitiveness, they must reduce labor costs and shorten the production cycle. Lean production is a type of management philosophy born in Toyota Motors. One of the lean thinking goals is to eliminate waste, which can increase work satisfaction and turn waste into value. It should be emphasized that lean thinking must go beyond the company. In other words, lean thinking has to be employed from the product design to the set of activities delivered to the end customer (Barbosa 2014). Lean manufacturing technology focuses on eliminating all types of waste in the manufacturing process and reducing the lead time (Zhu et al. 2019).