Naval Shipyards To Get More User-Friendly Advanced Industrial Management Software

Friday, August 27, 1999
A more user-friendly version of the computer software naval shipyards use to plan and execute availabilities will soon be available to all naval shipyard project teams. On Aug. 12, The Navy Systems Support Group (NSSG) made the Windows NT version of its Advanced Industrial Management (AIM) software available to all shipyards. The four naval shipyards will train and test AIM NT until placing it in production between now and the end of October. Bernie Clark, NAVSEA's Deputy Director for Industrial Operations signed out the official release letter on Aug. 13. The AIM NT software replaces a UNIX-based version in use by the naval shipyards since 1994. The "new and improved" NT version is expected to make data entry and data manipulation easier and faster. It also comes with an extensive task-based help and computer based training system to give users immediately accessible information and training. With the new system, AIM NT users will notice a Windows "look and feel" common to Microsoft products in millions of homes and businesses. They'll also see that familiar appearance in other Windows NT software systems developed previously by NSSG - AIM Xpress, MRQT, and Supervisor's Desk. These four Windows NT software tools are part of the AIM Suite of tools used to plan and execute depot maintenance projects from contract to closeout phases. AIM Xpress is the program used for quick-turnaround ship repair and shipyard maintenance projects. MRQT is used to identify a project's material requirements, while SUPDESK is used to enter time, attendance and work status information. AIM is the final and largest of the applications to be converted to the Windows NT environment. "AIM NT is the capstone of the suite," said NSSG Director John Pickel. "These improved applications will increase the ability of project teams to plan and execute work." AIM NT is the software product used to plan and execute large projects within a formal project management process. It is designed to increase planning and execution efficiency by capturing and reusing planning information for joint operations and information exchanges across projects, locations, and shipyards. More than 3,000 people are expected to use the AIM NT replacement to SCO BAIM software once it is installed at the four naval shipyards. NSSG is a NAVSEA Central Design Agency that produces software supporting Navy maintenance repair activities at naval shipyards and some Intermediate Maintenance Facilities. NSSG is government-managed, but contracts with private programming firms to develop the software. American Management Systems, Inc., is the prime contractor for AIM NT development. The software program, which took 2 years to develop and test, was designed using the Joint Application Design (JAD) method that engages system users interactively throughout the development process to maximize customer satisfaction and minimize design changes. AIM NT development was managed to the Software Engineering Institute's Capability Maturity Model Level 2 quality control standards. Pickel noted that these two development methodologies were credited with helping the software achieve an on-time delivery that is rare among similar "large" software systems as measured by industry standards. "Among systems of similar size, only 20 percent are completed on time, so this is quite an accomplishment," Pickel said. "The two methodologies also combined to allow $345,000 from the project budget to be saved and diverted to fund changes in Material Access Technology (MAT) software, which is used by the shipyards for requisitioning material.

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