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Decision Support System for the Ship Repair Industry

Conference Paper · November 2013


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2 authors, including:

Denis Pinha
West Virginia University


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Proceedings of the 2nd Annual World Conference
of the Society for Industrial And Systems Engineering
Las Vegas, NV, USA
November 5-7, 2013

Decision Support System for the Ship Repair Industry

D Pinha and R Ahluwailia
West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA

Corresponding author's Email:

Author Note: Mr. Pinha is a candidate for a Ph.D degree in Industrial Engineering at West Virginia University. He has a
BSc in Production Engineering and an MS in Automation and System Engineering from Federal University of Santa Catarina
(UFSC). Dr. Ahluwalia is professor of Industrial Engineering at West Virginia University. His areas of interest include
Quality and Reliability Engineering, Information Management, and Manufacturing Systems. He is a registered Professional
Engineer (PE) and fellow of the American Society for Quality.

Abstract: All ships and offshore platforms, however large or small, undergo scheduled or unscheduled repair and
maintenance. The bidding process for ship repair jobs is highly competitive and global in scope. The ship repair industry is
also prone to significant risks due to high level of capital investment in skilled labor, specialized equipment, and facilities
such as dry docks. Several general purpose project management tools have been utilized by the ship repair and maintenance
industry to obtain higher levels of efficiencies. Thus far, these tool have had limited success.
This paper describes a project management tool specifically designed for the ship repair and maintenance industry.
Its design is based on data obtained from a shipyard. The data includes; 1) System capacity, such as machines, tools, worker
skills, etc., 2) Current orders, e.g. date of order, due date, client details, job delay penalties, etc., 3) Order status, percent of
work completed, man hours of work completed, man hours of work scheduled, etc., and 4) Other engineering details such as,
services provided, operation times, bill of materials, materials required, human resources required, operation precedence, and
setup times. The proposed system focuses on dealing with unpredictability of repair orders and better communication
between competing business entities. The goal of this tool is to achieve higher levels of efficiencies and throughput by
focusing on system optimization, as opposed to the current approach of optimizing individual business operations.

Keywords: Ship Repair and Maintenance, Database Schema, Decision Support System, Production Planning and Control,
Supply Chain Management

1. Introduction

Ship repair and maintenance require high capital investment in specialized equipment, such as cranes and dry docks.
In addition, the repair and maintenance tasks need to be performed with relatively short deadlines. The planning of the ship
repair process is further complicated due to large distances between ship location and ship repair facilities. The ship repair
industry is an important source of revenue for several countries, particularly the developing countries. It is also one of the
largest consumer of energy. In 2013, a study presented at the Ship and Offshore Repair Journal (Thorpe and Bartlett, 2013)
claimed that per capital energy consumption continues to climb and the pace of increase is due to the developing world that
has been embracing higher living standards and an improved quality of life. Furthermore, this study pointed out that the
number of FPSOs (Floating production storage and offloading) has been increasing rapidly. Either they have been built or
have been converted from single-hulled tankers. Hence, the tanker fleet has grown substantially and the demand for repair
has grown as well.
In order to meet increasing level of demands for ship and offshore platforms repair services, several shipyards
around the world have invested in ship repair facilities. Yulian Dockyards is one of the largest repair shipyard in China
(Benkley, 2007). Several project management and decision support tools have been developed to obtain higher levels of
efficiencies for ship and offshore platform repairs. Thus far, these tool have had very limited success. Dlugokecki et al.
(2010) proposed a project management approach to shipbuilding and ship maintenance through the delivery of a web-based
system using planning and production engineering techniques. Mourtzis et al (2005) integrated different stakeholders in the
repair planning process. Heuristic dispatching rules are applied. The resource modeling considers a group of workers as one
resource and each one has specific skills, such as, painting, welding, etc. The authors did not allow resource sharing when
skills were interchangeable. Chryssolouris et al (2004) utilized Internet-based supply chain management techniques.
Different authors have proposed different techniques. Thus far, no standard procedures have been established.

ISBN: 97819384960-1-1 58
Proceedings of the 2nd Annual World Conference
of the Society for Industrial And Systems Engineering
Las Vegas, NV, USA
November 5-7, 2013

2. System Description

Repair shipyards commonly comprise floating docks and dry docks. Docks are the most valuable resources of a
repair shipyard – being the most expensive, the most limited and the key to earnings. Therefore, the less time a ship remains
in dock, the greater the flow of services and, consequently, the higher the profits of the enterprise (Pinha, 2011). The docks
are equipped with their own cranes. The cranes directly support nearly all the work teams as they move around the shipyard.
In addition to the docks, cranes and work teams, the shipyard has a series of other production resources distributed
throughout the property. Some of these resources are allocated and grouped in resource centers. The grouping depends on the
process involved, as is generally the rule for production on special order. The metalworking resources are in the
metalworking centers; the tube and valve resources are located close to one another; the plasma cutting machinery is in a
specific center, and so forth.
The shipyard of this study is located at Rio de Janeiro/Brazil. It has five docks; three being floating docks and two
being dry docks. Even though the shipyard has five docks, some of them might be occupied by more than one ship at a time.
It is a favorable situation from the standpoint of profit, but one that complicates the management of the operations. Five
managers are in charge to take care of the docks. Each manager leads all tasks related to only one dock. This practice seems
to be common in Brazilian shipyards. The dock managers in this shipyard and in general in this sector are high skilled
workers who concentrate great power and each one might have his own way for organizing and planning his tasks.
When operations are being conducted at the shipyard, the resources are sent to the products – the ships and
structures – and not vice versa. It is claimed that main resources at a repair shipyard are therefore the work teams and their
tools: the welders, the mechanics, the painters, the quality control personnel, among others. As resources, the work teams are
the key for project managers in the shipyard. Usually the shops (metalworking, mechanical, tubing, etc.) are prepared to
attend to the needs of docks. They are capable of doing the work requested. The bottlenecks occur not when the teams are
working in the shop, but when they are working on board the ships, this being the factor that ultimately determines how long
a ship remains in dock.
Common tasks carried out at a shipyard are: Docking, hand scraping, high pressure fresh water jet cleaning,
painting, tank cleaning, steel work, repairs to ship’s structure, propulsion system, piping, valves, electrical system, and tests
at sea. These operations are broken down in a wide variety of services that can reach more than 2,000 different kinds of
services. Furthermore, there are still other services that they have to provide each month in order to meet customer demands.
Table 1 summarizes this high custom production environment in terms of production features. Table 2 shows the typical
issues the shipyard deals with for planning its tasks.

Table 1: Production Features

Features Values
Demand Pattern Client orders
Production volume Low. Usually as a unit
Production frequency None or low repetitive
Services Opened/including innumerous services
Production mix High unstable
Lead times High
Resources layout Functional

Proceedings of the 2nd Annual World Conference
of the Society for Industrial And Systems Engineering
Las Vegas, NV, USA
November 5-7, 2013
Table 2: Typical issues for planning and controlling

Typical issues Obstacles

Scheduling Search for an appropriate solution in a virtually infinite universe of possibilities
Short-term Complex analyzes cost-benefit being made under intense pressure from day to day at the shipyard
Deadline agreements Lack of previous data and total production time depends on the services mix
Budget Lack of previous data and profitability dependent on capacity adjustments (overtime, subcontracts,
Re-planning Variability and instability are facts intrinsic in the production custom
Production traceability Need for controlling specific service order dealing with large volume of data

2.1 Current Approach

Microsoft project software has been utilized for managing shipyard tasks planning. Each manager is responsible for
his or her own Microsoft project spreadsheet. Basically, the orders come from the sales department (after client approval) on
what must be performed. Orders are then generated in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. The Production
Planning and Control department (PPC), where the dock managers are in charge, get these orders from the ERP system. The
managers then develop their own spreadsheets, manually. This results in five different plans, one for each dry dock. Each
plan is optimized by the dock manager for his or her own tasks. Optimization of sub-tasks often results in sub-optimization
of overall task, resulting in lower productivity. Required resources such as workers, tools, materials are not adequately
shared among projects, resulting in conflicts among managers, and schedule slippage. The major shortfalls of the current
approach are:
1. The required information for planning is not well structured
2. Dock managers develop plans that best meets their needs
3. The system is sub-optimized
4. There is lack of communication among stakeholders (dock managers, customers, supply chain)
5. There is no archival of system knowledge. Highly dependent on staffs who keep the knowledge.

3. Proposed System Architecture and Database Schema

This paper presents an approach to address the above issues. It was developed after several discussions with
personnel at the Brazilian shipyard. A need for a Software Tool for Repair and Maintenance (STREAM) of ships was
identified. The primary task of such a tool is to coordinate and manage production activities and to communicate with the
various stakeholders in a timely manner. The overall architecture of the proposed software tool is shown in Figure 1. All
project stake holders (supplier, dock managers, ship owners, etc.) will be able to access STREAM. STREAM will maintain
current status of all work orders in its database. The database will also be used to archive knowledge gained from previous
projects. Stake holders will be able to generate reports, such as, schedule, throughput, lead times, resource utilization, and
cost. Dynamic task scheduling algorithms will be developed. Thus far, forty database tables and their fields have been
identified. Relationships between the various tables are shown Figure 2. Bolded double arrows show many-to-many
relationships between two tables. A single arrow shows one-to-many relationship between the source and destination tables.

Proceedings of the 2nd Annual World Conference
of the Society for Industrial And Systems Engineering
Las Vegas, NV, USA
November 5-7, 2013

Figure 1: System Architecture

Figure 2: Database Schema

The tables along with their fields are shown below. Table names are shown in bold capital letters. Primary keys are
shown in bold and foreign keys are shown in italics.

1. ORDERS(IPOId, IPOCod, DateCreated, ClientCod, ShipCod, ShipDescription, OwnerCod, ShipType, Length,

Moulded_Breadth, Draft, Moulded_Depth, GRT, DWT, Proposal, EstArrivalDate, EstDockDate, EstUndockDate,
IPO_Value, IOP_Type,Idiom, Production)

Proceedings of the 2nd Annual World Conference
of the Society for Industrial And Systems Engineering
Las Vegas, NV, USA
November 5-7, 2013
2. SERVICE ORDERS(SOId, SOCod, SODueDate, CreationDate, SOValue, SODescription)
3. SERVICES(ServiceID, ServiceCod, ServiceDueDate, ServiceType, CreationDate, ServiceValue,
4. CLIENT(Code, Description)
5. SKILLS(SkillCod, SkillDescription)
6. WORKERS(WorkforceCod, WorkforceDescription, WorkersNumber)
7. WORKER SKILLS (WorkForceCod, SkillCod)
8. RESOURCES(Code, Description, CenterCod, ShiftCod, Efficiency, DirectCost, VariableCost, OverCost, Status)
9. RESOURCE CENTER(Code, Description)
10. SHIFT(Code, Description)
11. SHIFT DESCRIPTION(ShiftCod, WeekDay, StartlPart1, EndPart1, PartType1, StartlPart2, EndPart2, PartType2,
StartlPart3, EndPart3, PartType3, StartlPart4, EndPart4, PartType4)
12. PROCUREMENT PLAN(MaterialCod, Quantity, UnitValue, ArrivalDate)
13. HORIZON(DateRef, PaymentHour )
14. INVENTORY(MaterialCod, Quantity)

15. MATERIALS(MaterialCod, MaterialDescription, MaterialUnit )

16. SETUP(Ord, ScopeIn, CodeIn, ScopeOut, CodeOut, ScopeResource, ResourceCod, SetupTime, InvSetupTime,
17. TASKS(TaskId, TaskCod, TaskDescription, TaskArea)
18. SCENARIOS(ScenarioId)
19. TASKS SCENARIOS( TaskId, ScenarioId, OperationTime, Class)
21. TASK WORKERS(TaskId, ScenarioId , SkillCod, MH, MQ)
22. TASK MACHINES(TaskId, ScenarioId , MachineCod, OperationTime)
23. TASK TOOLS(TaskId, ScenarioId , ToolCod, OperationTime)
24. TASK HANDLING RESOURCES(TaskId, ScenarioId , ResourceCod, OperationTime)
25. TASK MATERIALS(TaskId, MaterialCod, Quantity)
26. TASK PRECEDENCE(TaskId_Prev, TaskId_Fol, Percentage)
27. TASK CONTROL(TaskId, OperationTimePerformed, OperationTimePaid, PercentageDone)
28. PRIORITY DECISIONS(Ord, Scope, Code, Step, Priority)
29. RULES DECISIONS(Ord, Scope, AreaCod, Rule)
30. SUBCONTRACT DECISIONS(Ord, Scope, Code, Step, Subcontract, OperationTime)
31. TRANSPORT DECISIONS(Ord, Scope, Code, Step, TransTime)
32. OVER SHIFT(Ord, Scope, AreaCod, OverTime)
33. EXCEPTIONS(Ord,Type, Scope, LocalCod, DateStart, HourStart, DateEnd, HourEnd
34. SHIFT CHANGE(Ord, Scope, Code, ShiftCod, Tax)
35. GROSS PROFIT(IPOId, GrossProfit, MaterialCost, VariableCost, GrossMargin, Penalty, OverCost, SubCost)
36. LEADTIME(IPOCod, ItemCod, ResourceCod, Step, OperationTime, OperationTimePerc, TransTime,
TransTimePerc, WaitingTme, WaitingTmePerc, InefficiencyTime, InefficiencyTimePerc, TotalTime)
37. PROCUREMENT ISSUES(TaskId, MaterialCod, ResourceCod, Step, DueDate, Quantity, MaterialDate,
EarliestDateSetupDate, StartDate,EndDate,TransEnd, ScheduledDate, ItemSonCod, Critical, LastOperation, Ok)
38. SCHEDULE(TaskId, MaterialCod, ResourceCod,Step,DueDate, Quantity, OperTime, TransTime, Penalty,
EarliestDate, SetupStart, StartTime, EndTime, TransEndTime, Critical, MaterialCost, LastOperation, WaitingTime,
Subcontract, Cost, OverCost, SubCost, OverTime, Late)
39. THROUGHPUT (IPOId, Client, DeliveryDate, DueDate, Deviation, Delay, OK)
40. RESOURCE UTILIZATION(ResourceCod,, RegularUse, OverUse, Maintenance, RegularCapacity,
OverCapacity, RegularUsePerc, MaintenancePerc, IdlePerc, OverPerc, TotalWaitingTime, AvgWaitingTime, Avg)

The above data tables are organized into six different groups, 1) Orders, 2) Capacity, 3) Engineering, 4) Status, 5)
Decisions, and 6) Reports. A brief description of each is provided in Table 3.

Proceedings of the 2nd Annual World Conference
of the Society for Industrial And Systems Engineering
Las Vegas, NV, USA
November 5-7, 2013
Table 3: Data Table Groups

Data Groups Description STREAM Table Numbers

Due date, client details, job delay penalties, Ship
What services must
1) Orders  description, estimated dock date, estimated undock date 1- 4
be performed?
and so on.
Machines, tools, workers, handling material resources, Where the services
2) Capacity  5-11
skills and shifts might be performed?
Services provided, operation times, bill of materials,
How the services
3) Engineering  materials required, operation precedence, setup times, 12-26
might be performed?
Percent of services completed, man hours of services
4) Status  What is done? 27
completed, man hours of service scheduled
What is to be
5) Decisions  Decisions that commonly run a repair shipyard 28-34
performed different?
6) Reports  Cost Analysis, Throughput, Schedule, Lead times, etc Results 35-40

4. Conclusions

This paper presented system architecture and a database schema for a software tool to plan and manage ship repair
and maintenance tasks. The system architecture and database scheme were designed after consultation with ship yard
personnel. A Software Tool for Repair and Maintenance (STREAM) of ships will be developed based on the described
system architecture. The primary purpose of such a tool would be to increase productivity and to minimize Ad. Hoc project
planning and scheduling by dock managers.

5. References

Blenkey, N. (2007). China looks to flex ship repair muscle. Marine log (New York, N.Y.), 112(2), 29.
Chyrssolouris, G. G., Makris, S. S., Xanthakis, V. V., & Mourtzis, D. D. (2004). Towards the Internet-based supply chain
management for the ship repair industry. International Journal Of Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 17(1), 45-
57. doi:10.1080/0951192031000080885
Dlugokecki, V., Fanguy, D; Hepinstall, L., Tilstrom, D. (2010), Transforming the Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Project
Environment”, Journal of Ship Production and Design, Volume 26, Number 4, November 2010 , pp. 265-272(8),
Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME)
Mourtzis, D. (2005), An integrated system for managing ship repair operations, International Journal of Computer Integrated
Manufacturing, 18:8, 721-733
Pinha, D.C.; De Queiroz, M.H.; Cury, J. E R, (2011) , Optimal scheduling of a repair shipyard based on Supervisory Control
Theory," Automation Science and Engineering (CASE), 2011 IEEE Conference on , vol. 39, no. 44, pp. 24-27 Aug.
2011. doi: 10.1109/CASE.2011.6042515
Thorpe, A., Bartlett, P. (2013), Buoyant floating energy sector promises rich pickings. Special Offshore Supplement to Ship
and offshore journal (SORJ) Volume 11 Issue 2 – Page 4.


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