Norfolk Naval Shipyard opened its first tool vending room Dec. 1, giving shipyard workers easy access to more than 500 low-cost tools and expendable items from pliers to measuring tape, screwdrivers to highlighters, and gloves to drill bits, significantly increasing shipyard productivity.
By using the new tool rooms, the shipyard is expected to realize more than $800,000 annually in saved time. Previously, shipyard workers had to leave the job site, wait in line, and then return to the job site.
“Previously, when a mechanic had to retrieve tools or consumables, it required both travel time and waiting in line,” said Rodney Wilkins, SSN 750 Lean Six Sigma project coordinator. “The vending machine process will greatly reduce a mechanic’s travel time during the workday because it places tools and consumables in one nearby location. It also reduces wait time standing in line and increases workflow because it doesn’t keep the mechanic away from their job for long.”
When examining the potential for a new tool vending room, shipyard personnel discovered an average of 17 trips were taken to the existing tool room and approximately 100 trips to the consumables trailer daily, both located away from the piers.
“This is a major event,” said acting Shipyard Commander Rear Adm. Joseph Campbell. “We’re big believers in process improvement at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and this should really help with our productivity and non-stop execution of work.”
NNSY, a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command, is the oldest and largest naval shipyard, and specializes in repairing, overhauling and modernizing ships and submarines.
Shipbuilding Tribune Staff, December 9, 2011;