Vanguard Magazine

Dec/Jan 2015

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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O n November 1, Chantier Davie Canada began refit and midlife ex- tension work on the Canadian Coast Guard's medium icebreaker, Des Groseilliers, part of a recent partnership with Babcock Cana- da that has seen both parties perform similar work on the Coast Guard's heavy icebreaker, Louis S. St-Laurent. A year earlier, the company launched its 717th ship, the Cecon Pride, a massive subsea construction vessel for operations in the Norwegian North Sea. The work represents a remarkable turnaround for a company that just over two years ago was in bankruptcy and considered by many to be out of the shipbuilding game. Since being acquired by Inocea in 2013, however, Chantier Davie has revived the shipyard in Lévis, Quebec, growing from 30 to 1,000 employees; energized new partnerships with suppliers and its workforce; and begun pursuing an ambitious workload that includes off- shore platforms, liquid natural gas (LNG) conversions, dual fuel (diesel/ LNG) ferries, ship repair and completion of the three Cecon vessels. Davie may have been the odd one out of the Na- tional Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS), but the former builder of many of the Royal Cana- dian Navy's Iroquois- and Halifax-class vessels is back in a big way. John Schmidt, Vice President Commercial, spoke with editor Chris Thatcher. E ExEcuTivE INTERVIEw 30 DECEMBER 2014/JANUARY 2015 Davie reDux Venerable shipyard rebuilds on innovation and partnerships Q Part of your restructuring has been a commitment to Lean manufacturing, a philosophy originated by Toyota to improve its processes. How are you ap- plying it to shipbuilding? It's not unique to shipbuilding; I know that in the U.S. some shipyards have gone to Lean processes. And what we are doing is not exactly in line with the Japanese "kai- zen" approach. We have hired a couple of consultants to look at our processes as well as some experienced shipbuilders to look at how we're building ships. It's one thing to have a new program where you establish a learning curve and can apply kaizen and implement the savings suggestions and the process improvements. What we are look- ing at is the overall way we build ships and how we can improve and apply those les- sons to existing builds and, more impor- tantly, to future projects. So we are fo- cusing on larger programs and trying to get ways that we can adopt process technologies, in line with our newly implemented Aveva shipbuild- ing management system that we are already implementing in the yard to integrate plan- ning, logistics, scheduling and production with the design and engineering cycle. The process improvements can be very simple things like just-in-time delivery, how we purchase things, how we receive and store parts, how we share services around the shipyard, how we manage a ship construc- tion and a ship repair division – ship repair is a lot different from ship construction, but the demands on the labour force can be quite competitive, so how do we actually segregate the needs and specialize people? So we are really defining it as process improvement. We've adopted Lean tech- nologies by using the workforce as part of that process, part of that self analysis, and identified areas where we can improve. Q Given where you were in 2012, have you had to rebuild relationships both with your workforce and with your sup- pliers? It was like starting over again. We had sup- pliers with a lot of experience with Davie, some good and some bad, and we had to prove to them that this was not just a short-term restart, that we had a plan and the right people in place going forward. We had to do the same with the community – with the city council, the mayor of Levis, the province, the chamber of commerce,

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