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Around The Fleet

An Honest Talk About PMS

Planned Maintenance System struggles and how you can help

BLUF: Experts are revamping the PMS process, but need review and input from experienced Sailors. They are standing by for feedback.

There is a milBook page where Sailors can check for latest updates, watch videos, take surveys and open up discussions. It takes 30 seconds to register at https://www.milsuite.mil and search "Reinvigorating Shipboard PMS." Or Sailors can send feedback through email to pms@navy.mil.

Have you ever driven your car and thought that something wasn't right? No warning lights are coming on. You changed the oil last week so that should be fine. The tires are new. Still, you know something's up. You take it to your favorite mechanic and he finds several issues. Maybe individually, they're no big deal, but put them together and it was only a matter of time before this car was going to leave you stranded somewhere. Good thing you had that uneasy feeling.

Well, US Fleet Forces Command had that same uneasy feeling in 2010 about our current Navy Planned Maintenance System (PMS). Sure, on the surface everything seemed fine, but a closer look was necessary. A review was held and revealed a number of problems. Problems like excessive work for Sailors, equipment not reaching its expected service life, and degraded readiness of Ships. If these issues were left uncorrected, they would eventually lead to an unsustainable Fleet.

At the Fleet 3-M Conference in the fall of 2010, the attendees were challenged to envision what they thought shipboard maintenance should look like in the year 2020. The "2020 Vision" Project Team proceeded to identify the critical attributes of an effective maintenance program and then compared it to what we have today. Of course, the Navy, and society as a whole, has changed in many ways since PMS was first established in 1963. The way people learn and communicate has certainly evolved since the 1960s, as well as a Sailor's expectations toward technical products. What may have worked 50 years ago or even five years ago may not be the best way to do things today.
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At the conclusion of the 2020 Vision project, a series of suggested courses of action were identified. We felt the entire PMS process needed improvement, beginning with the way we author Maintenance Requirement Cards all the way down to how the maintenance is actually performed. In addition, we recognized the need for a single set of governing requirements for the PMS program. Right now, Type Commander specific requirements are often being addressed individually for Surface, Submarine, Carrier, Expeditionary, Information Dominance and Installations instead of as part of a larger total Navy solution. We established a Fleet 3-M Requirements Management Board (RMB) to minimize these different, and often conflicting, requirements. This enables NAVSEA personnel to focus their efforts on a unified and comprehensive list of Fleet requirements. Standard requirements make it so Sailors would not have to relearn a new program when transferring to different commands.

At the core of our efforts are three governing principles:
Make it easy for every person involved in Navy PMS to do the right thing and conversely, make it hard to do something wrong.

1. Do something once and reuse it for the remainder of the maintenance process.
2. Eliminate process steps that don't add direct value to maintenance effectiveness.

Out of the 2020 Vision project came the current "Future of PMS" (FoPMS) project. Guided by these principles, FoPMS is bringing the much needed improvements to PMS. The development is funded by OPNAV beginning in FY16 and will take six years to complete the full rollout to the Fleet. Due to the sweeping nature of this initiative, several key components will require development in conjunction to the PMS program we are currently executing. Other parts of the project, like SKED 3.2 and Tailored Force Revisions (TFR) are already in use and additional elements, such as changes to MRC content, will be delivered during the development as they become available for distribution.

As mentioned before, using the latest technology to improve PMS is critical. This is a key component of the FoPMS project's mission as we seek to enable the use of emerging technology when it becomes available. Currently, we are participating in the Navy Mobility working groups and providing functional system requirements to those responsible for delivering mobile technology to the Fleet. In addition, we are ready to support Item Unique Identification (IUID) to enable scanning items to bring up applicable technical documents and allow deficiency reporting.

In 2013, Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), approved the Future of PMS project as the way ahead in contributing to NAVSEA's strategic goal of reinvigorating shipboard maintenance. Later in 2013, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF), was briefed regarding FoPMS and his direction was simple: "Execute and accelerate." The Future of PMS is now getting the approved funding to achieve success.

Now comes the hard part. We need your help. Several experienced people with years of PMS expertise have identified what needs to be done. Dozens more have collaborated to develop the FoPMS plan. However, to make this program happen and be successful, we need you to review their work and provide your input. We recognize that you, the active duty Sailors, are the ultimate judges on whether or not we got it right. We are standing by for you to tell us what you think and more importantly, what you need. There are many ways to have your voice heard. First, we've opened a milBook page where you can check out the latest updates, watch videos, take surveys and open up discussions. It takes about 30 seconds to register. Just go to https://www.milsuite.mil and search "Reinvigorating Shipboard PMS." If milBook isn't your thing, just send an email to pms@navy.mil. and tell us what's on your mind.