Communication in the Manufacturing Industry: An Empirical Study of the Management of Engineering Drawing in a Shipyard

Communication in the Manufacturing Industry: An Empirical Study of the Management of Engineering Drawing in a Shipyard

Sigmund Aslesen (Fafo Institute for Labour and Social Research, Norway University of Oslo, Norway) and Svein Erik Moen (Fafo Institute for Labour and Social Research, Norway)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-856-7.ch019
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Abstract

This chapter is based on a case study of one shipyard’s effort to make the flow of engineering drawings feeding into its production process more reliable. To construct a ship, detailed drawings of every part of the product is an essential input. For these drawings to be reliable, they must include all relevant information, they have to follow each other in a proper line of order, and they should be released according to production milestones. In the shipyard in this study, an analysis was initiated to explore the management of engineering drawing. The main findings show that the usability of ICT is limited for this purpose, and that to really make an effort in order for engineering drawings to be reliable, a more basic understanding of the interpersonal communication at work in a one-off project environment is fundamental.
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”We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works” (Adams 2002).

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Background

Why focus on the execution of engineering drawings? On the whole, this particular process makes up no more than around three percent of total costs in a shipbuilding project. By comparison, the outfitting part of the production constitutes around two third of all project costs. Nevertheless, there is still a fact that engineering drawings are essential for the building of a ship. Unless these drawings are made available, and include the accurate information, the construction of a ship will not take place. Engineering drawings, as such, is a critical input within shipbuilding. Especially when the ships to be constructed are highly advanced offshore vessels with loads of technology and equipment. Reliable engineering drawings – or having the right drawings, at the right time – are then decisive for a shipbuilding project to deliver on time, and with a high quality of product.

A shipbuilding project is divided in three main phases; design, detailed engineering, and construction. The design phase is when the ship owner communicates with a ship consultant and/or design company, about ship types and functionalities of the new ship. This is also the phase where a contract agreement is signed between the ship owner and a chosen yard. The contract agreement includes prepared documents concerning specifications of the ship, and rough drawings (general arrangement, tank plan etc.). The detailed engineering phase, which is the primary focus of this chapter, is largely based on the specifications and rough drawings agreed upon as part of the contract. Detailed engineering predominantly occurs ahead of the construction phase, when rough drawings are converted into detailed descriptions of every part of the ship. Detailed engineering moreover also involves the preparing of notifications for the procurement of all heavy equipment. The construction phase involves the production of the ship. It is divided in three; hull construction, outfitting, and testing.

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