Vinson Captures Knowledge Through Sharing

Story Number: NNS070416-17Release Date: 4/16/2007 4:22:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Maja A. Dyson, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) began a program April 1 that is designed to save money, improve processes, and capture innovative ideas during its refueling complex overhaul (RCOH).

The command's Knowledge Capture and Sharing (KCS) is designed not only to help the crew retain vital expertise learned during the process, but it will also
help future aircraft carriers during their RCOHs.

"We want to ensure any errors made during this RCOH are documented and understood by the next RCOH crew, so mistakes aren't repeated," said Lt. Nathan Moore, Carl Vinson's outgoing KCS coordinator. "But at the same time, we want to make certain all things that have worked well for us in the past continue to be practiced. Plus, Sailors on board will receive the satisfaction of helping future RCOH carriers."

KCS was created to capture knowledge and disseminate it to the crew by researching and training personnel to learn each other's jobs, Moore explained.

"The goal is to turn USS Carl Vinson into a learning organization, especially since the turnover rate is high, and obtaining corporate knowledge is necessary," he added.

Moore said Carl Vinson really brought the idea of lessons learned on board, so personnel can capture what they are learning throughout this RCOH period and document it as they go.

"The objective of knowledge management is to capture and share information related to anything during RCOH," said Lynda Niemeyer, a consultant who works for a partnership between Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and Northrop Grumman Newport News.

"It could be advice on housing and crew transportation, or a recommendation that a new IT [computer] system be created to support accomplishment and tracking of the ship's force work package. No problem/solution is too great or too small," Niemeyer said.

Moore, Niemeyer and incoming KCS Coordinator, Lt. Katie Milligan, are working together to ensure Sailors get the knowledge they need to effectively use the database.

Carl Vinson Sailors conduct weekly meetings to get the overall idea of how the program is being incorporated into each department and to train personnel on how to operate the database.

"Each department has a KCS representative," said Moore. "The rep is responsible for entering information given from their department into a database, which keeps track of progress throughout the shipyard period."

According to Milligan, each department's representative plays a key role for keeping the database a viable asset for the ship.

"It's important that the crew speaks out and provides input for the database, so the good ideas may be implemented," said Milligan.

Carl Vinson is one part of a three-part team within this program. The database is being shared with Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair (SUPSHIP) and Northrop Grumman Newport News employees. Through this teamwork, a wealth of knowledge is created, according to Niemeyer.

But in order for the knowledge to resonate and be around to benefit the next RCOH carrier, Niemeyer said "a tangible knowledge portal had to be designed" to make the information accessible and easy to attain.

"We realized if we really wanted to capture lessons learned throughout RCOH and also use information to improve the process, we needed to create a vehicle that was easy to use and accessible to everyone on the project," said Niemeyer. "A Web-based database was the obvious solution."

Carl Vinson is currently undergoing its scheduled RCOH at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive shipyard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.

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