Washburn & Doughty Develops New Methods In Handling Large Contract

Friday, February 25, 2000
Washburn & Doughty Shipyard of East Boothbay, Maine is preparing to launch Tracy Moran, the fourth in a series of six Z-Drive Tugs under construction for the Moran Towing Corporation of Greenwich, Conn. Tracy Moran will join sisterships Marci Moran, Karen Moran and Susan Moran in Norfolk, Va. where they are contracted by the Military Sealift Command for submarine and ship assist work. Measuring 92 x 32 x 13.8 ft. and built to ABS Maltese Cross A1, AMS, Towing Service standards, Tracy Moran is powered by two 2,000 hp EMD 16-645-EZ main engines driving Ulstein Z Drives. Service speed for Tracy Moran is planned for 13 knots and the vessel has a 32,000 gallon fuel oil capacity Tracy Moran was designed by Washburn & Doughty's vice-president and naval architect, Bruce Washburn. The Moran tugs are built to Washburn's second Z-Drive Tug design. Cape Fear Towing's Fort Bragg, Washburn's first Z-Drive Tug design, provided the foundation for the design of the Moran tugs. Tracy Moran blends traditional tugboat lines with today's more modern characteristics. The vessel features a wheelhouse with 360-degree hi-lo visibility and overhead windows. Inside, the captain's chair is centrally located among the vessels controls, electronics and communication systems. The Moran contract is the largest multi-vessel contract ever awarded to Washburn & Doughty. In taking on the Moran contract, Washburn & Doughty had to decide how to make its small yard reach production levels on par with the country's larger yards. According to company President Bruce Doughty, much of the yard's success in maximizing production stems from the fact that the design was done in-house using AutoCAD. "By using CAD we can make adjustments during both the planning phase and construction phase," said Doughty. "In addition, it allows us to communicate information effectively with vendors and sub-contractors via e-mail." In order to meet Moran's schedule, Washburn & Doughty had to develop new planning schedules for both production and manning. "If we had decided to build all six vessels from the keel up, we would have been in big trouble," said Doughty. "We definitely took a more modular approach to construction during this project." As an example of this more modular approach, Doughty pointed out some of the wheelhouses were constructed and outfitted far from their respective vessels. In addition, the yard renovated a previously unused bay for the fabrication of smaller vessel components, like towing bits. In keeping with the modular theme, Washburn & Doughty contracted out fabrication of some of the bulkier vessel pieces. "Sub-contracting out some strategic vessel parts, like the engine beds, provided enormous benefits for the yard," said Doughty. "By sub-contracting out the engine beds, we were able to lay the keel and the engine beds immediately after the launch of the previous boat. This allowed us to put more people to work sooner. It also kept floor space free for the projects that needed to be completed at the yard." Another key component to the Moran project has been the development of a larger and more efficient workforce. Washburn & Doughty increased their production crew significantly during the project and promoted a number of senior production employees to leadership positions. The multi-boat aspect of the contract also allowed the yard to look at construction planning from a different perspective from the one provided by single boat contracts. According to Jake Stevens, project manager, "The most difficult thing about meeting the Moran schedule for me was to make all trades and personnel aware of the advantages of duplication and repetition. And then to set up a two to four week sequence where the same man did the same job through three boats. Once in place it worked quite well." Tracy Moran is scheduled for a March launch.
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