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Australian Submarine Corporation takes control of submarine production with Cincom



ASC built Australias fleet of Collins Class submarines after winning the contract to build six Collins Class conventionally powered, long-range naval submarines for the Royal Australian Navy in 1987. With the final vessel completed last year, the company had to prepare itself to operate with a new focus.
The upgrade to Control will allow ASC to better manage a variety of projects through integrated data collection, new reports and access to full status updates on projects ranging from four to 60 weeks in duration. ASC will use the module to estimate and submit proposals to win business, as well as segregate materials and track costs by project.
More complex than the production of an airplane or a tank, a submarines construction involves many different systems and vendors, making the high level of data integration an additional challenge.
"The Collins Class submarine is one of the most complex projects undertaken in Australia," said Jon Moore, Group Business and Information Systems Manager, Australian Submarine Corporation. "The scale of the 78 metre vessels and the number of parts makes keeping track of building and servicing a major undertaking."
ASC recently transitioned its business from a building operation to a service-oriented environment providing maintenance and through-life support for the submarine fleet.
The key objective of the reorganisation is to ensure the Royal Australian Navy can rely on having its fleet of submarines fully operational. With Australias increased involvement in recent global conflict, defence has become paramount.
New revenue streams
The new Project Cost Control System better positions ASC to compete for upcoming contracts to manufacture other complex defence vehicles for the Australian Government.
"One of the key benefits of activating the Project Costing module in Cincom CONTROL has been the time weve saved producing reports: down from six weeks to five days," said Peter Davie. Project Manager, HMAS Collins FCD. "This has obvious cost and productivity benefits as staff and equipment are freed up to provide more value-adding analysis of results or resolution of issues."
ASC is also able to be more proactive than in the past; project managers can reallocate resources or make other operational changes as required, with greater visibility of current information accounting for manufacturing parts and associated material and labour costs.
The software has delivered improvements on the administration side of the business," said Davie. "Simplifications in billing for staff hours means payroll can be administered with fewer steps and less manual data entry by many different people.
"As a company, ASC is in a stronger position to respond to tenders for other contracts with the Australian Defence Forces. With its credibility in delivering the Collins Class submarines to schedule, and continuing to maintain and upgrade them on time, ASC will now bid for two new multimillion-dollar contracts to build an amphibious vehicle and an air warfare destroyer."
Sea change
While the new Project Cost Control System changed the process of task reporting, the fundamental workflow did not change. One alteration to ASCs business processes was necessary to accommodate the automation of financial data by CONTROL, which involved the inclusion of detailed financial data such as overhead costs.
As CONTROL breaks down the costs, ASC can determine at a glance whether a project is running on time and on budget.
Other challenges arose from the simultaneous cultural change across the organisation, where the entire computer system required upgrading to suit the new business model. The old hardware and operating systems had to be upgraded at the same time the new CONTROL module was implemented.
ASC spent a year upgrading the system and testing each application in the new environment, before completely switching off old systems. The implementation was spread over two stages, with ASC's Garden Island base completed in stage one. Cincom engineers were available for knowledge transfer to ASC, who in turn trained the rest of the organisation in the new software and processes.
Pre-testing ensured that the day the old systems were decommissioned, there were no significant problems with the new systems. With the support of Cincoms engineers ASCs IS team was able to ensure its IT systems would support the companys new business model.
The bottom line
Cincom's CONTROL allows manufacturers of high-value, complex products to configure their end items according to customer specifications, manage a large volume of engineering changes, and trace material for regulatory compliance.
Manufacturers can estimate and submit formal proposals to win business, and for companies operating in a project environment segregate materials and track costs by project, Said Paul Hargreaves, Managing Director, Cincom Australia.
"In ASC's case, if a submarine is out of action at an unscheduled time, there will be a gap in Australias defence capability. Australia's vessels are also committed to operations with global allies, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, so you could say that at the highest level, 19 million people benefit from ASCs ability to maintain its support for the Australian Defence Forces."
About Cincom
Cincom is the world's most experienced software company, now spanning five decades with solutions to help customers simplify complex business processes and transform corporate information into competitive advantage. Our software products include manufacturing control systems, contact centre and customer relationship management systems, databases, document management, sales knowledge systems and e-business solutions. Cincom serves over 5,000 clients in 93 countries, including Alcatel, Citibank, Federal Express, Nationwide, Siemens and Trane. For more information about Cincom's products and services, visit the companys world wide website at www.cincom.com