Estimation of Maintenance Cost of Naval Ships

Reasonable estimation of the Maintenance Cost of the ships is one of the important requisites for preparing the fleet Operation and Support (O&S) budget of any Navy. The O&S cost would mainly include the Personnel, Fuel and the Maintenance cost  and normally the yearly maintenance cost of commissioned Naval Ship would consist of the following:

1. Afloat Maintenance Cost – Man-hours of the ship’s crew involved in the Level 1 maintenance activities. EMC1
2. Intermediate Maintenance Cost – Man-hours of the Base Maintainers involved in the Level 2  maintenance activities.
3. Workshop and Depot Maintenance cost – Man-hours for the Level 3 maintenance activities, Cost of Docking, Refits, Planned Additions & Alterations, unscheduled maintenance costs etc.
4. Material costs – Cost of spares, consumables etc. including material handling costs.
5. Industrial Service Costs – Cost of optional and mandatory service support availed from industries, including the OEM assistance.
6. Maintenance Training and quality costs.

While the calculation of the maintenance cost based on the historic data for the fleet and organization shall give a more accurate estimation, this is often tedious and time-consuming; especially in cases where the availability of reliable historic data is a question mark. In such situations the alternate solution is to go for a high level estimate using the Life Cycle Cost thumb rules.

EMC2According to the thumb rules of Life Cycle Costing the procurement cost of a ship amounts to 40 percentage of the total Life Cycle Cost and the balance 60 percentage amounts for its sustainment and disposal. Further break down of the cost of sustainment shows that the cost of maintenance amounts to 20 to 30% of the procurement cost and it varies with the size and complexity of the ships.

Selecting the right Project Team

The success of a project is mainly determined by the quality of the human resources. In large organization the selection process of the key project team members normally starts before or during the final stages of a tender closing. PT1More often than not, one of the key positions for which the resource is identified for the Project would be the Project Manager or a Technical Lead for the project. The association of key members during the pre-project phase not only facilitates the smooth transition of the project to the Project Team from the Sales Team but also provides the much-needed continuity in taking forward the project from a technical and management perspective.

Once the Project is confirmed, the selection process of the project team commences on priority to ensure that the required resources are mobilized to kick off the project in accordance with the resource mobilization plan envisaged during the project conceptualization stages. The success of the resource mobilization process greatly depends on the quality of the mobilization and sourcing plan envisaged during the tendering stages and the support extended by the organization to materialize the same.

The roles and quantity of the team members are decided during the tendering stages based on the requirements of the project and this estimated manpower is also used to do the costing and budgeting for the project. The details of the roles shall be elaborated through Job Description documents produced during the initial stages of the recruitment process. The resource mobilization plan may be materialized through a sourcing strategy which leads to the formation of a project team constituted through a combination of existing resources of the organization, new recruitment or sub contractor personnel. The formulation of the sourcing strategy depends up on the availability of suitable internal resources, the time frame available for the recruitment and cost considerations.

All the above mentioned activities lead to the recruitment and mobilization of the Project Team and the key part of the recruitment is the selection of the right candidates. PT2Personnel with the right qualifications and experience are to be shortlisted and thereafter interviewed to verify their capability and suitability for the project. Apart from the qualification and experience, the important factors to be considered while selecting the project team is the attitude and the inter personnel skills of the candidate which plays a major role in the successful integration of the project team. Honesty, reliability, flexibility, discipline and team spirit are few the qualities to be given utmost consideration while selecting a project team member.

The capability of the interviewers to identify the suitable candidates also plays a major role in the selection of the right project team. Therefore the panel of interviewers shall be carefully chosen by the management and the panel shall ideally consist of the management and lead technical representatives of the project, subject matter experts and HR representatives.

One of the most common mistakes which is committed while recruiting the project team members is the selection of over qualified personnel for positions which do not demand  the higher level of qualifications possessed by the candidate. PT3Such candidates once selected and inducted in to the team, find it difficult to integrate in to the project team leading to poor cooperation and communication among the team members. Another mistake of similar proportion is the selection of under qualified candidates which may happen due to nepotism and organizational pressures to select the available internal candidates. It is the duty and responsibility of the management to support the project by eliminating the factors which may lead to such mistakes leading to the selection of the wrong candidates in to the project team.

Choosing the right Project Manager and Project Team is extremely important and the criteria for the selection are much beyond the qualification and experience of the candidates. It is equally important to continuously improve and strengthen the team by organizing an efficient induction plan for the selected team members followed by training programs and team building activities.

Kerala- Green & Clean?

The image of Kerala – ‘God’s own country’ is under severe threat of being branded as the ‘God’s own dumping yard’. The most common sight while  travelling around this beautiful state today is neither the coconut trees nor the greenery for which the state had been famous for.One It is the heaps of waste and dirt that have been showered around at the road sides and back waters by the people of Kerala. The accumulation of waste in such proportion in densely populated areas should be seen as nothing less than a huge biological bomb which may explode to spread diseases and disease producing agents resulting in epidemics. The most important factors which have played a major role in the creation of such a dangerous and unhygienic situation in the state are the lack of adequate and efficient waste management facilities and the corrupt and laidback approach of the governments. A careful study about the waste management initiatives taken by the governments at all levels in the state would reveal that all the steps taken in this regard were not only short sighted but also plagued with the corrupt motives of the politicians and bureaucrats. TwoIt would be practical for the people to accept that no immediate magical solution could be expected from the authorities at this critical juncture and we will have to wait for at least a few more years to get a permanent solution for this problem. Therefore as responsible citizens, it is the duty of each individual to ensure that the generation of domestic waste originating from our homes are reduced to the best possible extend and are disposed at designated places. Each individual should actively participate in the collective efforts of the community to clean up our surroundings and thereby play our role in keeping our ‘God’s own country’ Green and Clean !!!

Analysing Employee Engagement

Proactive Management

While there are many different philosophies of management, two of the most prominent ones are the Proactive and Reactive types of management. Proactive management involves planning in advance for a change or crises whereas reactive management involves the management actions initiated as a reaction to a change or crisis that has already occurred. According;y, a proactive manager is one who proactively capitalizes on the business opportunities and equally focuses on the advance identification and elimination of any risks that are likely to occur in the existing business while a Reactive Manager is the one who takes decisions and actions after the occurrence of a problem or  an event.

Planning ahead for the future is essential for the existence and growth of any organization. Pm4The top management of the company should be proactive in defining its long-term and short-term goals and ensure that they are well aligned with the company’s strategic vision. They should be able to effectively hone the entrepreneurship skills of the employees to proactively develop the business opportunities and establish systems which shall promote proactive management practices in the day-to-day activities of the company.

The key element for establishing a proactive management system is the availability of required information. A proactive manager identifies the sources of information required for managing the business in a proactive manner and institutes mechanisms to ensure the availability of this information as required. For example, a proactive manager may gather the information required for business development through seminars, constructive engagements with existing customers,  industry news letters etc. A proactive Project Manager may also employ appropriate tools and techniques to identify the risks in the business and implement the actions required to mitigate them.

A proactive manager remains open towards changes and practices change management techniques to implement changes which are needed for the sustenance and growth of the business. The very proactive nature of a manager to actively participate in the team tasks may inspire PM2the team members to be more innovative and productive in their areas of work. A proactive manager understands the importance of development of employee skills and plans their enhancement in advance to meet the short-term and long-term goals of the company. In the case of project management, the actions taken by a company towards implementing a proactive project management approach shall increase the trust and confidence of the customer, which in turn shall translate in to better customer relationship and future business prospects. A proactive manager needs to have analytic skills and must be able to identify the strengths, weakness, opportunities and risks from the pattern of available information or data and implement methods to address each one of these areas so as to create a positive outcome.

Being a proactive manager does not mean that one has to exercise strict control on all the activities of the team. However necessary channels may have to be established to obtain the information required for proactive decision-making in a timely manner to facilitate appropriate management actions. Both proactive management and reactive management could be practiced separately or in a combined manner. The more we practice proactive management the lesser will be the losses and the requirement for reactive management. More often than not it is the practice of proactive management principles that gives better return for the company which explains the reason for this to be the preferred form of management for the present day organizations.

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