Monday, November 15, 2010

Why don't we build it here?


Think critically. Don't make excuses. I wanted to bring up again a subject we raised on Midrats two episodes ago.

We know two things; labor unions are much stronger in Europe than here. The cost of labor is greater in Europe than here.

Here is the question for you; why can the Germans do this and we can't?
The biggest cruiseliner ever built in Germany, the Disney Dream, emerged from its dock in the Meyer Werft shipyard over the weekend, a 340 meters long, 16-deck giant for 4,000 passengers commissioned by the US Disney Cruise Line for family trips around the Caribbean.

The Disney Dream inched out of its covered construction dock at the Meyer Werft shipyard on Saturday in a spectacle accompanied by a firework display and witnessed by some 10,000 people.

It is one of the biggest cruise ships in the world and the biggest ever built in Germany. It is 340 meters long, has 16 decks and can accommodate 4,000 passengers. Mickey Mouse in a captain's uniform adorns its bow. The ship was commissioned by the US Disney Cruise Line for family vacations around the Caribbean.

It features a 245-meter-long water slide that winds its way down through the top four decks. The construction took 20 months and it will be handed over to its owner in December.

Disney plans to double its fleet of cruise ships to four by 2012 and Meyer-Werft will also built its sister ship, Disney Fantasy.

Including Disney Fantasy, the Papenburg, Germany-based Meyer-Werft currently has nine cruise ships on its order books worth €4 billion ($5.6 billion).

109 comments:

Salty Gator said...

I guess to answer that question, we'd have to ask Byron a few questions:
1) When did we stop making ships like this in America?
2) What is the replacement rate for specific skilled trades (retirement vs ascensions into journeyman / master level proficiency) for welders, cablemen, electricians, pipe fitters, etc
3) Is the replacement rate (and subsequent quality of the younger folks replacing the older ones) detrimental to the ultimate total cost of purchase (i.e. is this a cause of significant amounts of re-work?)
4) Location, Location, Location:  we shut down some of our best yards in Philadelphia, New York City, San Francisco, and other places.  We keep yards open in other areas.  Has closing the yards in formerly highly skilled concentrations caused those skilled tradesmen to move on to other career fields, thereby creating a vacuum whereby the knowledge could never be handed down?
just some thoughts...

Outlaw Mike said...

Meyer Werft's quite famous. Also a company with a very long history.

As for your question: despite 60 yrs of socialism, the Germans STILL have the old zip, and a work ethic second to none in Europe. The French may burn public infrastructure and wreak havoc on a huge scale, paralyze the country.... because their gubbermint wanted to raise retirement age from 60 to 62.

But in Germany, it's been 67 FOR YEARS. And that has passed without a peep. I sometimes get German transporters here, sixty plus years old. Unloading heavy stuff from their trucks, they just go ahead. Germans are still tough bastards, it's just that they too aren't reproducing.

2190TEP said...

Probably because we lack men of strength and daring such as these:

http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008/08/last-victorian-leviathan-ss-great.html

Byron said...

In order:
1) The 1950's
2) 0-3%
3) You better believe it. Less skill=higher rework
4) In every location you mention, there were union yards. The much higher cost of doing business with a union yard drove them out of business, especially when working out of craft was prohibited. And you are correct, places like Norfolk, San Diego and New Orleans attracted the skilled trades, especially those with Navy skills (and it IS a different skill set, with lots of additional rules and rocks and shoals). And I've been telling people for 10 years the lack of craftsme train wreck was coming. You can hear the horns today, and feel the track shaking.

Could this be built here? Sure, no problem. It just takes the right management team.

ewok40k said...

I've just read article that RN shipyards are contracting Polish shipyard workers en masse to finish the new QE class carriers...
Sadly, the shipyard-affiliated schools here in Poland have been closing down since the shipyards themselves have been mostly closed down. So no replacements down the line.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Guest was me, hajo-hi

hajo-hi said...

And, sorry, I do not think their aggregate average wage is higher than in the states (please take into account all wages not just the blue-collar ones but engineers, managers, sales reps etc. as well). Most likely - I do not know that for sure - they have their "house-tariff" with the unions. Sals sentiments:

"<span>We know two things; labor unions are much stronger in Europe than here. The cost of labor is greater in Europe than here."</span>
<span></span>
<span>were probably true in the early nineties, but not necessary today. At least not across all industries or businesses. In my field, pay in the US would be higher, even if you subtracted necessary private insurances there (health) and add hidden wage-cost (social safety-nets) in Germany.</span>
<span></span>
<span>But again, caveat: there is no general rule for this.</span>

E_L_P said...

1. Hand the project to an American company.
2. Company then off-shores the heavy work.
3. All the mulit-linqual supply chain partners have problems because the American company management also--after receiving the contract--bought lots of office furnature, hired a bunch of VPs that really don't do anything except build the volume of groupthink at meetings.
4. When the engineers do get face-time for the first time, they tell the bosses things they don't like to hear; you know; facts.

5. These facts disagree with the pretty picture marketing and shareholder management VPs have painted.
6. Then top management stops listening to engineers who actually know things and you find that the marketing VP gets more face-time with the bosses.

Yeah. I wonder how the Germans do it.

TBR said...

The secret lies in the uncommonly high level of qualification of even the "simple yard worker" in Germany. Germany possesses the unique dual education system for most trades and even some professions that require college or university degrees in the US (nursing for instance). Employers (with master craftsmen as trainers) and vocational schools wotk together in educating the apprentices with the training and examinations being jointly accredited and verified by state and the relevant IHK (chamber of industry and artisanship). This system guides professional development of the to-be skilled workers, providing them both with expertise and versatility as well as varied experience in their whole professional field and not just in the few tasks they will most likely do day by day, greatly improving the versatility of the German industry. The progress in the professional field is like mandated, going beyond the journeyman and master artisan levels to semi-academic "Techniker" level, which is about equivalent to more practically oriented bachelor level engineering with the relevant examination supervised bay the state and might culminate in a full university of applied sciences master's of science in engineering. My cousin works at Lürssen and is still two years short of his master artisan. He plans to go on to study for a full masters degree, which he might get at age 28-29, having then already more than twelve years of working experience in shipyards as he started his apprenticeship at age 16.

Granted, our society is not producing enough young anymore to fully feed this pipeline and the entry quality of the too few (school education) is also somewhat on the wane...

Byron said...

Well, I don't have much eda-muh-cation, but I'm also a long way from being a simple yard worker. And while I think it's nice to have a good foundation of technical knowledge, only years of experience and a trained eye can tell if an 8" tall structural angle is 1/8" out of square from 20 ft away. Or take a piece of plate about 10ftx20ft and know exactly where to start pulling at to wrap a compound roll up in the bow area. And yes, young people today want to sell cars or be software programers, not dirty stinking beat up yardbirds.

ShawnP said...

Honest question here folks. Would anyone want to sail on Cruise ship built by Avondale or Pascagoula? You think Carnival had bad pub from last week imagine a Avondale and Pascagoula quality type ship with them. Problem is other than Bath Iron Works  American shipyards have forgotten about quality shipbuilding.

Salty Gator said...

Thanks, Byron!

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Cruise ships creep me out.  There is too much hull out of the water, and not enough below. 

Byron said...

Let me tell you a little secret about assembly line fitting: The same guy does the same small job over and over. As long as you give him only that information he needs to accomplish that task and nothing that might confuse him and most importantly, tell him it has to be to "x" tolerance, you'll get quality work. That's what I did on the MARAD deck mods for the three Cape R ships and the two Cape W ships. My tolerance reject was +2mm...and 3.18mm makes up an 1/8 of an inch. I might even make them take it loose and re-fit for 2mm. Makes a difference when you put that module together with the next.

It's all about expectations and standards. Make your people adhere to them and make them understand that there's a direct link between a steady paycheck and tolerance. Anyone that can't deliver, send them on to the next place to work at that would accept sloppy work. Was I that cold-blooded? Yes I was. I had the other 200 people who were working hard to keep to those standards, I wasn't going to put their jobs in jeapordy.

Anonymous said...

Because US shipyard workers aren't interested in modernizing or learning for that matter.

sid said...

FWIW...

I am sitting here in the lounge at the airport next to a guy on the phone that is talking about "megawats per shaft"...

ISYN....

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem is that US shipyard workers are not only uneducated, they look down upon education.  Good demonstration.

sid said...

He is talking about navy ships...heavy "radar equipment" ;composite topsides; aluminum topsides...

They are burining 200 k a week on this study..

yeah. I am embarrasingly nosey

Ahh ...Northrop Grumman...

sid said...

3 megawatts per shaft...

Calculate the Return on Investment...

Take adavantage of the cooling.....

seattlefire said...

Sounds like the 787 at Boeing.  
  

sid said...

dude left....

one note...he mentioned NG but I don't think he worked for them.

An interesting little vignette.....

sid said...

Yeah. The 787 is Boeing "Transformation" darling. Unless the next production models can surpass the quality of those Revell models,  and lose some weight to make the range promises, I fear this may be Boeing's biggest dog since the Model 377...

Byron said...

Guest, no offense, but take any three lawyers, any six engineers and any 20 MBAs and let them do what I do for a living. There is NO school to teach you how to be a shipfitter other than the school of hands on and working with a good shipfitter like I did.

Don't ever imply or say that yardworkers are stupid. We may not be as educated as yourself, but we are far from stupid.

Hand him a Navy print, let him build what's on it, see how fast he chokes up...

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Well-said, Byron.  You folks do magic with steel and aluminum.

Retired Now said...

DDG-1000 was supposed to get a Volume Search Radar (VSR).   Also called SPY-4.   Lockheed Martin all but wrote the RFP back in 2003.   Well, where is it ?

Guess what ?   LM was unable to resolve the overheating problem to enable this "long range" VSR to be able to search at "long" ranges.   In other words,  long range required high power, and SPY-4 VSR radar could not meet the 24/7 high power, long range requirement without overheating.   Among other problems.

Result ?   DDG-1000 will be commissioned as DD-1000 (or it should be).    Amazing that Lockheed Martin isn't terribly embarrassed at not being able to meet the deadline to help construct USS ZUMWALT.   They got the RFP written exactly the way they wanted it (the Navy originally wrote the RFP for VSR entirely differently).   Lockheed Martin had plenty of time.  They were going to deliver a working, long range, high power EDM face of SPY-4 with didn't overheat back in 2008.    So, now it's 2011 and DDG-1000 deckhouse will never have the SPY-4 radar embedded into it.      This was supposed to be delivered down here to Gulfport Mississippi over a year ago; however, Lockheed Martin was unable to meet their deadline.   Did anyone at Lockheed Martin get fired ?   How about at Navsea Headquarters ?   And, No, this radar cannot be simply added to USS ZUMWALT later on.   It is embedded into the composite deckhouse right in Gulfport prior to floating the deckhouse up to Maine.   Thanks Lockheed Martin.   Your country's new DDG-1000 will behave like Helen Keller for long range radar searching.   

Surfcaster said...

I was watching a show on on of the Discover (or like) channels and they were showing the construction of one of (the?) largest crusie ship in the world. In Finland. Why can't we do that?

I'm so out of that circle that I cannot comment based on experience but from what I recall living in the 80s in Germany, their educational system, ethic, and drive from their students and parents was simply better than hours. Plus, when you were 16 you knew if you were going down the Univeristat path or trades path with a far more detailed plan than offered by US "Guidance Counselors" (who are often tenured teachers looking for an easier path with a few more percs).

Germany also has (had) professional guilds that wield significant influence. You want to brew a bier or bake some brotchen, you had very specific rules to follow.

Hajo-Hai was spot on from my recollection from my German friends and our exchanges with German schools.

The most common German question for us was: "All that you eat is cheeseburgers from McDonalds?"  Our most common questions for them was why they didn't shower daily (or every few days). We already knew what percentage of the women shaved legs and underarms ;)

Consider yourselves with kids in DODSS schools lucky over typical US public schooles - at least the ones I have seen or been a part of.

Anonymous said...

Byron, you assume they'd want to do what you do.  You want to stay in the neanderthal era, you'll stay there. Sometimes, you can't even lead the horse to water.  Congrats, you're stubborning yourself out of a job, and destroying the US shipbuilding industry in the process.  *clap* *clap* *clap*


I bet there's some stubborn brick layers talking about how good they are, while the market passed them by:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps0DSihggio

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Guest, get a clue.  Byron, keep up the magic.

ShawnP said...

It's about pride of workmanship to build a quality ship IMHO.

Jim said...

Being ship is owned by Disney, will it sail under U.S. flag? Or Panama, etc? Also wonder if the master will be an American?

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Last I checked there are no US Flag Cruise Ships.  Panama, Liberia, etc. Nationality of any officer could be any nation. No telling.  US not the way to bet, though.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Guest: Do tell. What new methods are you advocating, and how are they better? (Some are, many are just talk).  The old craft could do stuff the new stuff can't touch. The new stuff's record is dicey at best. 

I never met a competent skilled tradesman who couldn't learn a new method if it offered an advantage.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. More detail and specific examples.please.

Anonymous said...

Because the folks at Disney can tell the difference between reality and fantasy -- unlike some folks in the Navy.  :)

Southern Air Pirate said...

TWEET! Penalty on the play! US Shipyard workers are interested in modernizing and learning. The problem lies with both the change in the US economy and the resulting change in the US Education system. Where we changed from being an industrial base to trying to be a college educated service based industry.  Along the numerous taxes, regulations, and etc that has basically decimated the US merchant marine industry. If you want to lay the failure of why ships like this aren't being built here in the US, look the congressional critters. Some of whom were in office when some of these issues were raised 30+ yrs ago. The congressional critters sold thier souls out for a dollar and in turn destroyed a portion of the economy. Look around the US name me one major ship yard that is building big ships that isn't owned or operated by one of the two major companies, Northrup-Grumman or Lockheed Martin. When even twenty years ago there were at least ten or fifteen companies (where even some of those were on thier last legs), compaines like Bethleham, Kasier Shipyards, New York Shipbuilding, Todd, Union Iron Works, Avondale, etc. Some of these companies had existed for well over 100 yrs, but due to rising costs of operating in the US and cheaper yards overseas in places like Warsaw Pact and Asian yards it was cheaper for the major international shippers to buy overseas, let alone flag them over seas again to avoid taxes and regulations.

Anonymous said...

I now that NASA once said that a nuclear powered aircraft carrier is the most complicated thing ever made by man, even more than space ships.  Only people like Byron can build and repair them.  Shipbuilders and yardbirds are the cream of industry, Guest, don't ever look down on them.  Or you'll have an angry Badger to deal with. 

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Sorry, that was me just above.

hajo-hi said...

You would be surprised how much Germany has changed since the eighties:

1. Germans shower daily now.
2. Everything else is screwed up either US-American (mgmt etc,) or French (political and public) or Mediterranean (attitude owards life, work etc.) style or just infected with the British disease.

Meyer Werft is just the exception that proves rule #2 because it is located in one somewhat "distant" (looking for a nice, postive word for backyard) part of the country (where the oldest brother of my father ran the family farm).

Southern Air Pirate said...

Scott,

Go and look up the ship NS Savannah when you have a chance. She was only in comission for 10 yrs. She was too complex and too expensive to operate except with government funds. Kinda of a shame since it would be interesting to see a modern container ship nuclear capable steaming to and fro in modern days. Even more so since it would be a "green" portion of the transportation industry and shippers could look at cost savings in long run by removing oils from the costs of shipping to products world wide.

ewok40k said...

US main export is becoming producing celebrity shows...

hajo-hi said...

Powned. Should have checked it before: in addition to cruise liners they built LPG tankers, too. But anyway, specialized shipyard.

sobersubmrnr said...

<span>"Look around the US name me one major ship yard that is building big ships that isn't owned or operated by one of the two major companies, Northrup-Grumman or Lockheed Martin."</span>

NASSCO, owned by General Dynamics. GD knows how to build ships. The main founding company of GD was Electric Boat, now the Electric Boat Division.

BlackBoatNavArch said...

Norwegian Cruise Line operated 3 ships that were actually American flagged and operating in Hawaii recently.  They passed a bill back in 2003 to allow the mostly foreign built ships (MeyerWerft again) to skirt the Jones Act.  They were:  Pride of Hawai'i, Pride of America and Pride of Aloha.  In 2008, Pride of Hawai'i and Pride of Aloha were transfered to Bahamian registry but the Pride of America still sails under a US flag according to the latest DNV listing I found. Construction of the Pride of America was actually started at Litton-Ingalls.  So at some point in the recent past, someone thought we could do this.  Then they moved it to MeyerWerft to finish it when the original buyer went under and NCL picked it up.

And if SCOTTtheBADGER thinks there is too much out of the water, a quick browse of the MeyerWerft site turns up a design-your-own-ship Flash application.  There you can make all sorts of terrible looking cruise ship designs.  My NavArch classmates are torn on whether this is the Rosetta Stone of Naval Architecture, or the beginning of our end.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Thanks Blackboat. You are correct.

The exception that proves the rule, since it was NCL that took the initiative to reflag theirs to save the fuel used to run south to the closest non-US territorial islet so the voyage would "not" be exclusively US port to US port. From Hawaii, long run, lotta fuel. From LA or Miami, not so much.

Not really evidence of a viable US competitive position in the trade. Or any US participation.
Just using US registry like any other banana republic.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Surfcaster.

It WAS being done until 911. The (only) american flag cruise line's bookings went through the floor, the (panicking US) Banks refused bridge loans and the line went under in less than two weeks.  The ships under construction in US yards for the line were abandoned (no company) and the loan guarantees from Congress kicked in. Somebody got 'em at fire sale rates, eventually, I think. 

BlackBoatNavArch said...

Oh certainly.  Just a single ship in a pretty large industry does not prove any sort of viability.  NCL said when they did it it was also in large part due to US flag requirements and wages paid to US Merchant sailors.  Even my Cadet wage was much better than my classmates who did foreign flag ships.  And they had a bar on board to spend it on.  So, it really didn't go far.  So definitely an exception.  As would be a  cruisliner design showing up on the contract desk of any of the big yards today unfortunately even if the plan was to flag it foreign.   

I never did find who did the actual design which was my initial interest.

Also, looks like the Captain of the Dream is Norwegian

Cheers

Salty Gator said...

amplification: the VSR is not only embedded into the deckhouse, it is LOAD BEARING.  Besides the obvious ramifications on what that meant to the requirements process (radar had to bend, shift, flex, bow with the rest of the deckhouse as the bowpiercing tumblehome hull penetrates waves!), that makes it impossible as RN says to add later on.  Disaster.

Salty Gator said...

Hey jackwagon guest, riddle me this:  every time we implement a process such as LEAN, SIX SIGMA, ISO 9000, etc., what do we get?
a) thousands more employees who make a lot of paper but turn no wrenches
b) vast improvement throughout the system and millions of dollars saved
c) a new program that we decide "complements but doesn't replace" the old program

ANSWER:  A AND C.  MBA's and their vogue concentrations have not produced a damned thing in terms of universal improvement.  Business self-help books and these programs-du-jour and seminars have become replacements for leadership, technical competency, and effective management.

Byron said...

No, I assume that even if they're life freaking depended on it they couldn't. The work would kill them if their own incompetence didn't. Do I want to learn and advance my skills? Of course, you high and mighty jackass, I've been doing it for nearly 40 years now. Is there a reason why shipyards are closing? Yes, and they generally have little or nothing to do with actual efficiency or competence; it has more to do with the lack of US flagged ships and the fact that it's a hell of a lot cheaper to get your bottom blasted and painted in Lahore than it is in San Francisco. Since you don't have a clue as to what this job is, then you also don't have a clue as to what new technology will do to make us more efficient. My company has a water cutting table AND a laser cutting table. Once it's cut, will any of that technology speed up the fitting process? Never mind guessing, the answer is no.

Until someone invents man-portable force fields, being a yard bird means having to work both your brains and your ass. Now, go away, you blithering idiot, you're ignorance and arrogance is starting to piss me the hell off.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

That's because we are being indoctrinated that style is substance, saying is doing, playing is winning.  Success and failure are immaterial. 

Except the rest of the world keeps score.  And to borrow from Lombardi, losing is a habit.

Salty Gator said...

and do me a favor and don't question my educational pedigree.  I've got all the blocks checked and tickets punched.  I never turn down a chance to get a certificate or degree, if only so that I know how to smell bullshit on the breath of people hawking processes or variants thereof that I know have zero applicability to the programs I'm working (thank you to my mentor for that lesson learned when I was 18 years old...rest in peace, Frogman!).
When it comes to business, industry and government management, you cannot afford to be an idealogue.  You do what works.  Period.  Management is not and end unto itself.  It is a function performed by leaders and other responsible parties.  Effective management requires technical competency--something that you can't gain out of a book or with a few fancy certs like an MBA or PMP, etc.

Salty Gator said...

I appreciate a man who Q-A's his work, even if after the fact ;)

Salty Gator said...

I appreciate a man who Q-A's his work, even if after the fact ;)

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Okay Byron, I have to ask. 

Would the men of a merchant crew walk around with T-shirts saying "I got my bottom blasted in San Francisco"?

"In other news, Somali pirates attempted to hijack a Bahamas-flagged merchant ship, MV Queens of the Seas, but were repulsed by the crew, who scratched and kicked and hit the pirates with heavy purses.  'Being hijacked made us go into an absolute HISSY!', one crewman in a teal sweater and capri slacks stated..."

Okay, okay.  I will try and stop laughing....  8-)

ewok40k said...

Where  is the famous New England protestant work ethic? A traders word that was more solid than gold?
It has been replaced by get-rich-quick-or-die-trying... Olivier Stone has many flaws, but with "Wall Street" he hits too close to reality.
And then there's new industry of showpeople famous-for-being-famous. Old school movie stars were at least good actors/actresses. Heck, even Leonardo di Caprio and Madonna look nowadays positively professional!
And Disney people are thrice damned for making it cool to be a pirate!

Surfcaster said...

HH - Thank god. The public buses must smell better now. ;)

It was defenitely diffeent 80s Germany -v- 80s US. Mix some of the better parts of each...

Surfcaster said...

Ouch. Thanks for the heads up.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Oh, no.  Work ethic?  Heaven forbid.  You will make the non-achievers have bad self-esteem.  You can only succeed by exploiting someone else unfairly.  Remember, from each according to their capabilities, to each according to their needs.  Which, fortunately, our government will be happy to decide for us. 

But don't be fooled, ewok.  Wall Street is not America's problem.  The Potemkin Village of an increasing welfare society is.

Byron said...

I will attempt to use small words suitable for Marine cannon cockers: A ships bottom must be inspected every so often (depending on the regulatory body), generally every 5 years to 10 years. When this time comes up, the ship is pulled into drydock and while in there the underwater hull is sand/water blasted and re-coated. This does two things: keeps underwater corrosion down and by taking all the marine growth off, will cause the ship to have better fuel mileage (and believe me, it adds up...you can tack a 1/2 knot onto the speed of a merchant). Since this is labor intensive it tends to happen outside the US where the labor is much more expensive than you might find in Singapore or Pakistan.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Yeah, I know all that.  But I still slay me.  ;)

Anonymous said...

OK, that was again me, hajo-hi not the other G*

Anonymous said...

Our shipyards are actually pretty crappy.  And expensive.

C-dore 14 said...

ewok, Don't forget that we also coined the phrase "There's a sucker born every minute."  Also, pirates were considered "cool" (or at least really interesting) long before Disney came along.

Byron said...

Yes, all ships in the US are built in 3d model space using CAD. Have for years. How else could I build all those decks to 2mm tolerance and fit nearly 250 discrete modules on 3 decks with 0 excess and EVERY longitudinal and EVER transverse lined up?

If you want to know why, it's real simple. Two Words: Labor Rate. Pure and simple.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Byron,

Maybe it is because I am just a knuckle-draging gound combat guy, but 3D CAD building doesn't sound too neanderthal to me....

Byron said...

I think he meant me...and he'd be right, I'm a freaking dinosaur....with just enough teeth left to make a nice snack out of him the next time he implies I'm stupid.

Retired Now said...

It's been over a year since I retired, but here's the "contribution" that NORTHROP GRUMMAN made to the Ingalls shipyard when they bought them out.

Above the actual craftsmen,  there were almost uncountable FOREMEN, then GENERAL FOREMEN, then DIRECTORS, then GENERAL DIRECTORS, then SUPERINTENDENTS, then GENERAL SUPERINTENDENTS, then many, many various titled VICE PRESIDENTS for _____ you name it.    Next to the larger buildings in the shipyard were reserved parking places, almost comical with 9 spaces in a row marked DIRECTOR, then a half dozen marked MANAGEMENT, etc.

Then, the crowning achievement of NG:   multiply all those titles by 3,  since there are three SHIFTS in the yard,  although mostly there is only 1 shift really.   You see offices all lined up with the same titles on the doors, except one door is 1st shift manager,  next is for 2nd shift, and then one for 3rd shift.    Thanks to Northrop Grumman, all the working teams we had under INGALLS were broken up, and groups were scattered, sometimes by miles and miles, into various rented buildings out in town.   Why have a team all co-located when you can scatter them many miles apart ?    Wonderful changes that NORTHROP implemented from their aerospace experience and forced onto a working, functioning shipyard.    INGALLS used to not be a ridiculously top heavy organization, with far less complicated billing paperwork, etc.    

Glad I retired.   Too bad Northrop didn't bail out of shipbuilding many years ago.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Nice hit, Byron.  Living dinosaurs do not object to being called such, they survived.  No such accusation can be made by birdbrained youth (say 50 and under). 

"Guest"-with worn out welcome:

Warning: Surviving dinosaurs are not usually of the type that waded in the calm shallows of a warm and tranquil sea and placidly munched lily pads.

Mmmm, meat(heads)...it's what's for dinner. Yum, Yum.

Salty Gator said...

NASSCO is an OKAY shipyard.  Let's not pretend that it is Bath Iron Works

Southern Air Pirate said...

I had forgotten about E-Boat and NASSCO, but again my point in that situation is there is only three major shipbuilding companies in the US. Tween the three of them they own all of the major deep draft dry docks in the US and they aren't making that much commerical traffic. Again even 20 to 50 years ago there were major shipyards all over the US building major commerical ships all over for a number of different major seaborne shipping companies. Take a drive to your major international shipping terminal and ask yourself how many of those ships there are manufactured here, flagged here, and owned by companies that have thier HQ here. Some of this has come from the economy, but others come from stupid regulations and taxes inacted by congressional critters.

Anonymous said...

<span>every time we implement a process such as LEAN, SIX SIGMA, ISO 9000, etc., what do we get?  </span>
-You get an auto industry with high quality products and rates of innovation that put GM out of business.  You also cultivate an educated workforce where people want to be, and generate higher levels of productivity.

Anonymous said...

"<span>No, I assume that even if they're life freaking depended on it they couldn't. The work would kill them if their own incompetence didn't. Do I want to learn and advance my skills? "</span>
-Oh, that explains why you refer to education as "<span>eda-muh-cation."  Wallow in your own ignorance and blame management.  Such an enlightened point of view.</span>

Anonymous said...

<span>"Shipbuilders and yardbirds are the cream of industry, Guest, don't ever look down on them.  Or you'll have an angry Badger to deal with. "</span>
They're great, they're the best.  Too bad they're so good that they lost all the business except the government business.  Now that's some impressive results!  Way to go Byron, your results are amazing.  You're productivity is incredible, and you're the cream of the crop, except when companies need a ship on time on budget, they take their business elsewhere.  Care to explain the disconnect?  Oh, wait... I know... "Management."  Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

I love it when people that are paid by the government and have government healthcare whine about the "welfare society."  It's awesome!

Byron said...

Thank you for proving my point, you arrogant asshole. You're so intelligent, so well-educated, you can't even see sarcasm when it's slapping you in the face. And for your information, I've BEEN Management. Now I'm semi-management. I've been both sides of the production coin. As for "wallowing in my ignorance", you should know better than to a) make assumptions and b) live in glass houses.

To the meat of the matter: People exactly like you are the kind that ruined shipyards. You look on those like me like we're simple-minded automatons, useful only for generating profits. You could have looked at us as partners...but your disdain was too great, we were dirty, foul-mouthed and it was impossible to look at us as someone who could help shape the corporate future. Thank God I work for a company that sees us as the foundation for success, not as near-animals.

You might as well go somewhere else where your talents are appreciated; I'm afraid that from this point on, you'll get only ridicule here.

Actus Rhesus said...

Well that depends entirely on how you define educated, doesn't it?

Actus Rhesus said...

Guest, you watch your mouth.  My grandfather was a bricklayer, and an artisan at that.

Still regard him as the wisest man I've ever known.

All you've shown is that you are the same kind of "elite" that gives the rest of us a bad name. 

Actus Rhesus said...

Wow.  What magic unicorn land office are you working in? I have yet to see SIGMA actually improve anything in my community other than O-6 FITREPS 

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Shipowners will often go with the lowest bidder, and then have to have the repair redone.  Better to pay a little more the first time, and have it done right. You get what you pay for. 

Actus Rhesus said...

you seem to confuse constitutionally authorized, mandated even, services like the military with welfare.

try again.

hajo-hi said...

Byron,

"And for your information, I've BEEN Management. Now I'm semi-management. I've been both sides of the production coin."

The TV documentation I mentioned above showed the office of the owner and CEO of the Meyer-Werft. A three-desk office filled stuff, accomodating him, his secretary, and the chief sales representative. All in one room my company would have placed two engineers in.

I believe the chief sales rep headed somewhat of a one-person department as he himself did all the flying across the Atlantic and negotiating with the cruise line CEOs. Later they showed him in his usual middle-class home with his wife and daughter, who wished he would be at home more often.

Salty Gator said...

Great insight, guest.  Thanks for the education.

Salty Gator said...

WRONG.  SIX SIGMA worked at Motorola.  LEAN worked at Toyota.  These processes were constructed with respect to their corporate cultures and with extreme technical knowledge and competancy of those businessmen who designed and implemented them.

Salty Gator said...

Guest, such disdain for the workforce usually denotes a lack of leadership ability:  the disdain is borne from an inability to lead and produce results.  So, like a liberal elitist (I had to go political, sorry guys), you'll blame the people for not being "smart enough" to recognize your superior intellect and blindly follow you as you create your version of uptopia.

Sorry, Shipwreck!  This is America!

Anonymous said...

<span>SG,</span>
<span>"such disdain for the workforce"  The proof is in the results.  I wish the US could get self identified dinosaurs to stop looking at modern production with the disdain demonstrated in the thread, but that isn't going to happen.  Everyone wants to blame the other side.  From the union perspective, it's management.  From management's perspective its the unions.  I do love it when people talk about how great they are in the face of all their business leaving them.  If Byron is so awesome, why is his industry going out of business?</span>

Anonymous said...

"<span> you watch your mouth."  or what?  You'll say watch your mouth again?  I'm shaking in fear.  Go be a bully elsewhere.  </span>

<span>You're the kind of person that gives the rest of us a reputation for being dogmatic bullies.  Bricklaying is a noble profession, but I don't know too many homeowners that want to pay to have nobility lay bricks.</span>

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Guest,

Why don't you try getting some of that "welfare"? 

It does come with the proviso that you serve anywhere and everywhere they tell you, and can be killed or wounded in those places. 

Give it a try.  A little more obligation than going to the welfare office.

Grumpy Old Ham said...

<span>These processes were constructed with respect to their corporate cultures and with extreme technical knowledge and competancy of those businessmen who designed and implemented them.</span>

No doubt true -- which is exactly the opposite of how TQM, LSS, et al were implemented in the government, namely, as ill-fitting "bolt-ons" to existing TTP's and processes, primarily to provide bullet points for FITREPs in lieu of useful change.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Guest, your stupidity seems somewhat familiar.  You ain't seen the football since kickoff.  So why don't you go back to your parents' basement and keep out of the grown-ups conversation?

Byron said...

You don't want answers, "Guest" (nice being able to hide behind an anonymous label like guest, isn't it?) You just want to be intelligent and awe everyone. Me? I'm just a simple shipfitter still working at his trade since 1971. You? Be careful out in the next rainstorm, your nose is so high in the air you might drown, you pompous ass.

Denoument: My dad always told me that you never argue with a fool, you just nod your head and say, "Uh huh". So, "Uh huh".

/ignore Guest

C-dore 14 said...

Guest, I know that you probably don't care but I'd be glad to explain the concepts of "pay and allowances for services rendered" and "conditions of service" to you.  Not that I feel guilty or hypocritical since the taxpayers got more than their money's worth from me.

Southern Air Pirate said...

See the Jones Acts of the 1920s. That was the first knife into the shipbuilding industry and stinks of protectionism for the Merchant Marine side. The Merchant Marine Act of 1936 that designated the Maritime Commission who decided on what sort of ships the Government bought and subsidy what sort of ships were going to be built; this bureaucracy then born MARAD and the US FMC of which have added layers upon layers of regulations prior to any major civilian ship building program be decided. If this is your first freaking time at this blog, the military side is jacked up 8 kabillion, zillion ways to yesterday; just look at the CDR's posts on LPD-17, Crappy Ship Little, DD(X), etc. Okay that is the bureaucracy side.
Then we have the US Capital Gains tax which has basically made it unprofitable for any major US based shipper to own any ships other then the inter-coastal shipping. Of which if you look at any of the inter-coastal types most of them are at the 40yr mark since they were built or older. Since it ios cheaper to pay for up keep until the damn thing sinks at the pier (again fallout from the Jones Act). If you add in various other federal corporate and excise tax laws. The profits levels of building here to sell to home based international ship building companies like....; oh that is right the US DOESN'T HAVE ANY HOME BASE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING COMPANIES! So why go overseas (to the US yards) when it is cheaper to stay home and build in your own backyard?
Final things that have been the knife in the ship building industry is this separate federal entities  and their related laws like the EPA, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, various other groups. Some of which are competing with each other like the FDA's anti-cheese and the department of Agriculture pro cheese thing. If you have tried to navigate the bureaucracy of government (which is fun at all levels), a company can only do so much before it throws up its hands.

Southern Air Pirate said...

Oh and if your paying attention USNI has had off and on various articles in Proceedings talking about why shipbuilding in the US has sucked. Most of them don't blame the yards or the yardbirds (though a few admited there was a need to clean up the hiring side of the sub-sub contractors). Rather the blame was laid on the US government basically regulating the industry into the ground.
OH and to take Skippy's favorite target right now cause of MARAD and FMC, the us maritime industry is living the same way that AMTRAK is. Strictly off subsisdies from the government teat, which aren't going to last long.

I am not a complete expert in this industry from either the management or worker side of shipyards. I only know what I have read in the various trade journals for the industry. I would love to know your experience levels and your reasons fro saying that the three major yard compaines are unwilling to upgrade and use new tech; or that yardbirds are unwilling to use new tech or upgrade thier skill sets in general.

Anonymous said...

"<span>you seem to confuse constitutionally authorized, mandated even, services like the military with welfare.  "</span>
The military is not mandated.  It's restricted to a two year funding cycle.

Anonymous said...

C-dore.
"<span>the taxpayers got more than their money's worth from me." coupled with </span><span>"There's a sucker born every minute." is pretty good comedy. ;) </span>

Salty Gator said...

huh?  consult your constitution and post again.

Salty Gator said...

Guest, you're probably one of those fruitcakes who equates patriotism with paying your taxes every year, aren't you?  Good work having a village raise your children, too, shipwreck.

Salty Gator said...

right on, Ham!  When you treat management as a Chinese Menu (i'll take a beef with broccoli, a pint of general tso's Lean Six Sigma, and a side order of TQM), you get disaster.

Salty Gator said...

Guest, sit down on my knee, it's time for story hour.  Once upon a time, actually a few years ago, Salty Gator was a newly medical'd out former navy SWO junior officer who went to work for a major fortune 500 company (US Airline) in management.  This airline was getting ready to emerge from bankruptcy and had just robbed its union employees of all the cool benefits that they were used to over the past 50 years.  Needless to say, the management blamed the union for the company going tits up and likewise the union blamed management for that and for "robbing them."  The environment was positively horrific.  I walked into an absolute disaster at a major hub airport and had to un-screw a very busy zone.  By the time I left, which was under 6 months, our efficiencies had improved by over 60%, and we held the record on single day performance.  Why?

Salty Gator said...

<p>- LEADERSHIP:  the union folks may have had their own hierarchical structure, but in my zone, I ran the shop.  I was loyal to my men and women, and in turn, they were loyal to me.  I demanded the best but I gave the best in return, and when it came time for a thrashing, I never threw anyone under the bus.  Shit may flow downstream, but it will hit me first, and I will decide who it will hit next (and it will only be from me)
</p><p>- LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT:  I made the union leaders actually take charge like Senior NCO's.  They did, and it worked great.
</p><p>- TECHNOLOGY:  Hey, big surprise!  I actually agree with one thing you said.  You gotta get with the times.  But guess what, and read below
</p><p>- TRAINING:  Your people need to be TRAINED on this latest technology, know why it is important, and know why it will help them do their jobs better (if it doesn't, then WHY ARE YOU WASTING EVERYONE'S TIME?!)
</p><p>- TECHNICAL COMPETENCY:  Personally investing in WHAT YOUR MEN DO, KNOWING HOW THEY DO IT (you don't have to do it better than they do but you need to understand what it takes to get their jobs done in the time you have provided to them), getting them the gear they need, and soliciting feedback and how things are going.  You can only achieve your own personal technical competency by having YOUR MEN TRAIN YOU.  Why not?  We do it in the Navy all the time.  It's called Surface Warfare Officer PQS.  IF you only went to an officer to get your PQS signed off on (or for explanations), you should turn in your SWO pin before you leave today.
</p><p>I know a man who did all of these things at his shipyard, NASCO, and it worked GREAT while he was there.  Not everyone does that and it shows.  The United States Navy believes that great leaders can turn any crew into superstars.  THAT is our JOB as Naval Officers.  We can't cry that it's not fair, we don't have a turn-key Battle E team!  So why does the civilians in shipbuilding try to do the same?  Nice try.  BE A LEADER.
</p>

Salty Gator said...

By the time I left, my men and women were tight with me like a military unit.  We did hail and fairwells, celebrated each other's birthdays (they bought me a huge birthday cake and folks came in--off-shift--to give it to me and sing happy birthday.  damn near made me lose it (upper management fainted when they heard that).  I was the first in, the last out.  We would frequently raid supply lockers for cold weather gear, equipment that we "weren't allowed to have", and implemented techniques that "weren't always blessed."  Our results spoke for themselves, and the workers loved us and their jobs even though they were getting paid less.  We had PRIDE.  But I wasn't the only one who was doing this.  My airline made a big push to hire only young former military officers for a year, and we all pretty much had these same results.
Within 2 years, 99% of all the former military officers had left the company.  The upper management and other mid-level management was threatened by us and was making our lives difficult.  They found new and improved ways to jam our initiatives, to insert themselves on our CEO commissioned studies, and to alter our relationships with our men and women.  The results speak for themselves.  That airline is a bag of ass.  And my former military officer friends are kicking ass and taking names in other industries, government, DEFENSE (some of us came home), and back in uniform (some REALLY went home).

Salty Gator said...

Alpha Check, is that you?!

C-dore 14 said...

Guest, Spoken like a true pseudo-intellectual who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.  

C-dore 14 said...

Guest, Witty response, and about what I'd expect from someone who considers those of us who defend the rest "suckers".  Thanks for Salty Gator's and URR's points.

C-dore 14 said...

Guest, Witty response and about what I'd expect from someone who considers those who defend you "suckers".  Thanks for proving Salty Gator's and URR's points.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Salty,

Guest is a through and through coward who tries to avoid looking at his own soul by pretending he is above it all.  But he knows.  Just before he closes his eyes at night, he knows.  So no matter how much he verbally degrades those who have the courage he lacks, he can never quite escape that streak of yellow that will keep him from doing anything of consequence in his sad and trivial life.

But that's just me, Mister Vegas...  ;)

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