The Damage Control Locker will be reverting to a true submarine page. Lean/Sigma will be under its own page starting August 1st.
Secure from General Quarters
Okay, there is a problem in your facility and one of the leadership team members remembers reading about something called a Kaizen in
one of those articles in the magazine you always find in the pocket in front of you on the airplane. He doesn’t remember much more about it other than if you do one it can help you fix things.
So they turn to you and say those magic words “Please organize a Kaizen and fix the problem”
First, fight your instinct to run away or ignore the call to action. Second, make sure that what you have been asked is the right tool for
the right job.
Kaizen is described as continuous, incremental improvement in an activity, to create more value with less waste.
If what you find is something that needs immediate attention, use a problem solving methodology to determine root cause and work
on solving that first. Kaizen Blitz can be used in some cases, but you will find that it is really a problem solving activity rather than what is defined
as a true Kaizen.
Always try to remember to use the right tools for the right jobs!
Damage Control Locker
Everybody needs a damage control locker. This section will deal with some critical lean “damage control” tools that I have used over the years.
Check back into the locker on a periodic basis to see what new tools have been added.
Operating a ship or submarine at sea has its own inherent dangers. The very act of going to sea has challenged mankind since the early
days of civilization. Earlier groups were limited in scope and size by their technology. They were also limited because the types of energy needed for propulsion were often unpredictable and not always easy to manage. Basics light food preparation, fresh water storage, and protection from the elements were also key contributors to the challenges of life at sea. Even the natural forces of the ocean in the forms of rough waters and unexpected storms placed early sailor’s lives in jeopardy.
Modern inventions and innovations have changed the way ships and submarines now operate. But those very technologies add to the dangers of operating state of the art equipment. The sea never changes; it only shows you a different face. The same types of storms that came over the horizon in the days of ancient mariners still bedevil modern fleets. The largest aircraft carrier or submarine can still be pounded by a storm and the sailors subjected to all kinds of danger.
Damage control in the US Navy is handled differently on surface ships and on submarines. The main difference between them is the potential
outcomes for the sailors on. If a surface ship starts sinking and the crew is unable to stop it from doing so, they can launch boats, life rafts, and
aircraft and normally have some time to react to the crisis at hand. A submarine on the other hand is a steel tube closed in on both ends and if a
casualty happens, there really is nowhere to turn and go.
Another main difference is that on a surface ship, flying squads of men and women attack specific casualties and the entire ship is
normally not involved unless it is a catastrophic event. On a submarine, every event is considered catastrophic and all hands are involved whether they like it or not.
All submariners are aware that at in the worst case they could be crushed by millions of tons of seawater or drowned by an uncontrolled
flooding event. Smoke from a fire could fill the entire boat in about ten minutes creating zero visibility and if not properly protected a painful death from smoke inhalation. A seemingly harmless fire in a deep fat fryer for instance is one of the most common fires and rapidly can escalate into a conflagration if the crew is not prepared. The smoke is only part of the danger as the heat rapidly turns into a large convection oven.
Being a submariner requires you to think differently. Every casualty is your casualty. Even in a small support role, your efforts could
mean the difference between existing and joining the sad ranks of boat sailors who gave their lives for their country. One thing all boat sailors learn quickly is that you have to depend on everyone having the most accurate understanding of every facet of the operation and damage control. That is why ever submariner is taught damage control techniques from the very first part of their training. No subject is ignored. Fire, flooding, electrical damage, toxic atmosphere, first aid, and reactions to various internal dangers that remains known mainly to those who
wear the dolphins of a qualified submariner.
A key weapon in the preparation for combating casualties is the damage control locker. This locker (and there are normally several of them
at key locations) is critical in succeeding against any of the various casualties that could occur. The locker itself is a perfect example of lean
thinking. Everything has its place and everything is in its place. You are taught to recognize the various tools inside by their feel and are often blindfolded in training to see how well you can find those tools. Why blindfolded? If you think you have ever experienced dark (the total absence of light) you have never seen anything until you are in a compartment where all lighting has either failed or so much smoke is present you are unable to see your hands in front of you. That is darkness in its purest form. (For those who want to remind me about emergency lighting, that is partially true but even that can be overcome in a mass casualty event)
The locker has all the tools you need to initiate first aid damage control. Plugs for holes, band it straps for securing patches, bolt cutters, and a large number of hand tools that can be used to help stem the casualty at hand. Fire axes, hoses, fire extinguishers, Oxygen Breathing
Apparatus (OBAs) and many other key tools are available.
But like all tools, they are only as good as the hands that use them. Every team member trains intensively on the use of the tools and each
team member comes to rely on their fellow team mate. Having tools is only one part of preparing to combat a casualty. Having knowledge and skills that only comes from training and experience really makes for an effective way to overcome the problems that can occur without warning.
The same can be said for lean tools. You can go on line and Google “Lean Tools” and you will get 59,400,000 hits in less than ten seconds.
But your enterprise and business will still not succeed unless you know which tools to use and how to use them. By the way, anyone who tells you that lean is about “tools” is a non-qualified delinquent nub (and I assure you in the submarine world, that is pretty low on the food chain).
I will start on the basic tools over the next few weeks so pop back into the DC Locker. As always, if you have any specific needs or questions, let me know in the comments section.