Of all shipbuilding operations, the design and engineering functions have the greatest influence on the final cost of a vessel and hence a shipyard's ability to remain competitive.

In today's shipbuilding environment, many shipyards have had to broaden their product mix in order to win contracts and remain in business. This, together with pressure to reduce design lead-time and build cycle-time, is driving the need for a product-oriented philosophy whereby a wide range of vessel types can be assembled from a limited variety of standard interim products manufactured in specialised workstations.

The effective implementation of a product-oriented workstation philosophy relies heavily on the organisation and approach adopted in the pre-production areas. It is no longer appropriate to consider the design and engineering functions as being separate from production operations.

In effect, these functions are the first stage of production. This requires a radical change in organisation, responsibilities and operating methodology in all pre-production functions. Traditional activities such as estimating, planning and production control become automatic by-products of the design and engineering activity extracted from a single product model database.

First Marine has long been at the forefront of pre-production operations development. Our staff have led introduction of production engineering and workstation drawing principles in shipyards across the world. We have also reviewed organisation and technology requirements, to successfully introduce integrated systems and product-oriented operations. Our work has improved the quality and accuracy of production information while reducing pre-production lead-time and manpower.

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First Marine International