TABLE 2-2 Priorities for Technology Investment

Technology

Status

Priority

Business process technologies

Very much behind, especially in marketing, costing, sourcing, and management systems; need to buy materials on the world market

Most important; urgent for marketing

System technologies

Somewhat behind, particularly in process simulation and standards

Middle priority

Shipyard production process technologies

Behind in material handling, accuracy control, and in block assembly and fabrication, although not desperately in any one area; primarily need to apply best practices; little new technology needed

Less important

New materials and product technologies

Behind in design for the world market

Varies by market segment

could then be compared for each element. This framework for evaluating the different technologies would provide another perspective on the assignment of priorities.

Clearly, improvement is needed in all areas, and improvements in one area cannot occur in isolation from the others. Business-process technologies require significant attention by the U.S. shipbuilding industry, and marketing strategies must be developed; but it is difficult to secure a sale without competitive price and delivery schedules. However, improvements in production processes cannot occur in isolation; they must be part of a total manufacturing process, which requires contracts for ship production.

The current marketing strategy of many U.S. shipbuilders of awaiting requests for proposals from either the government or private shipowners is changing to a strategy of actively pursuing commercial contracts at home and abroad. However, shipbuilders are hampered by the lack of market information, poor customer relationships, the inability to respond rapidly to customer needs, and the general lack of predesign capability, standard designs, established reputations, and general marketing expertise. Improvements in all of the above areas are necessary if U.S. shipbuilders are to become internationally competitive. However, because these are factors that relate mostly to individual shipbuilders and only to a small extent to the U.S. shipbuilding industry as a whole, improvements will have to come from individual shipbuilders improving their own capabilities.

Shipyard cost-estimating procedures today use a ship-systems–based approach rather than an activity-based approach in alignment with emerging



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