Shipbuilding Database

History of the Pictures

After being in merchant and naval ships since the beginning of 1942, in 1947 I reported to the Brooklyn Navy Yard which some twit renamed the New York Naval Shipyard to the chagrin of us native Brooklynites. John J. McMullen, then a lieutenant commander and later the founder of John J. McMullen Associates, a prestigious naval architectural and marine-engineering firm, was my immediate boss. I was impressed by John’s academic record that included a professional degree in naval engineering from the MIT Graduate School. I think John appreciated my practical experience, especially when I asked for time off to sit for the chief-engineer license exam. Because I did not then have a single accredited college course, the technical papers published by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers were Greek to me. Regardless, I joined the Society in 1947 because I liked ships and because I felt that I should support the organization that was dedicated to their development.

I was educated enough during the following years, including the study of naval engineering at the MIT Graduate School, to understand and be impressed by the erudite nature of the Society’s literature which mainly addressed hydrodynamics and other scientific aspects of ship design. However, all of my subsequent assignments in both the Navy and in civilian life involved aspects of shipyard management. As a consequence, early on, I recognized a need for literature that addressed this important sector of the marine industry.

shintoThe floodgates for literature that addressed practical shipyard matters were opened due to the creation of the National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP) by the Maritime Administration in cooperation with the shipyard industry. As a shipyard representative, I was fortunate enough to be appointed as one of the Program’s R&D Project Managers and was assigned a catchall category, Outfitting and Production Aids. The initial projects assigned to me in 1971, addressed hardware such as for improved pipe joints and electric cable splices. Their implementation produced useful results but it was obvious that even their total effect made an imperceptible impact on the gap between U.S. shipbuilders and the world’s best. This was confirmed during observations abroad. In order to improve outfitting significantly, how management organized people, information and work had to be improved. The observations disclosed that Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., Ltd., (IHI) of Japan was believed by many to be the world’s most effective manager of shipyards, and that the post Oil-Shock period caused a marvelous window of opportunity. The Japanese executives were pleased to have the NSRP employ redundant IHI middle managers.

My efforts, which continued through 1987, then focused on uncovering logic and principles. The IHI middle managers produced a series of publications in what I call Jinglish. Assisted by others, I rewrote and published them as they now appear elsewhere in the National Shipbuilding Research and Documentation Center’s Publications Library.

Since myths about the reasons for Japanese shipbuilding successes abounded, I devoted unprecedented effort to prepare the publications in textbook formats with lots of photographs rather than issuing bland typewritten reports of what the research disclosed. These may be downloaded from Their impacts may be judged by the inclusion of one, in its entirety, in a U.S. congressional record and by their translation into both Spanish and Chinese.

During my tenure as a NSRP project manager from 1971 through 1987, supplemented by the decade following that was dedicated to consulting, I collected nearly five-thousand shipbuilding photographs. About two hundred were included in the aforementioned publications. Those, supplemented by about another five hundred, are now freely available in electronic format to any student or shipyard employee who wishes to prepare a technical paper, write a book, submit a proposal for in-house implementation, give a presentation, etc.

There is one more aspect of my contribution to the Documentation Center’s Publications Library. While writing captions for the five-hundred photographs that were not previously published, it occurred to me that a series of captions could tell a story. One, written under the heading of Avondale Applications of a Product Work Breakdown Structure (PWBS), describes how Avondale Shipyards, Inc. quickly retained IHI to jump start the transfer of modern technology.

A second, under the heading D.W. Challinor’s Application of a Product Work Breakdown Structure in Versatile Pacific and MIL Davie, describes a determined manager’s efforts to modernize methods that led to him receiving the Society’s William M. Kennedy Award.

A third, under the heading Appledore Shipbuilders Application of a Product Work Breakdown Structure (PWBS), describes the favorable opinion of certain NSRP publications by British Shipbuilders and the remarkable implementation effort managed by the small yard known as Appledore Shipbuilders.

Another, under the heading Naval Shipyard Applications of a Product Work Breakdown Structure (PWBS), describes fabulous exploitation of NSRP end products by naval-shipyard personnel and how such efforts suddenly ceased, apparently due to nuclear-capable naval shipyards having to respond to two authorities.

Louis D. Chirillo

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