Case study: US Navy project (total provision system) 2003 – 2007

Initial Problem: Spare part system too slow and cumbersome to use for the Navy to reach its goal of being combat ready 65% of the time, which was a requirement set by US Congress.

Status at inception: Every ship needed to have required spare parts on board before leaving US Port A central legacy system provided wheelbarrows of Print-outs for the ships to know what they had onboard and needed. There were over 70 million line items for assemblies, sub assemblies and parts. Each with its specific 60 digit id number with specific history included. Thus when a spare part changed name because of a new year model it also changed the part id number. Several companies including IBM had tried to come up with a solution spending a lot of time and money during the prior 15 years without success.

Basic Solution Our Associative technology identifies concepts with the same or different names as the same thing. So the same spare parts with different names were all of a sudden put together instead of being treated as separate parts before. This meant that they now needed much fewer parts onboard before departure and still could be combat ready to a higher degree. Initially (2003) a “proof of concept” was successfully demonstrated, where most of the work was to understand the id numbering system.

Additional tasks Before the basic system was up and running for the Atlantic and the Pacific Fleet and servicing a total of 330 ships including several carriers, the Navy added new requirements and features to the system: system access authorization by whom and to what part of the system as well as workflow management.

Use of system “The associative database technology which is now named Relavance was a new technology we successfully applied to a long-standing problem on two Navy projects in the early 2000s. The two related projects, ReMAD and Smart ACHF, involved automation and modernization of systems supporting complex calculations and processes being done using 1970s mainframe technology. The challenge was to assimilate and track a large number of data changes across a data warehouse, sort through 50+ million records, and compute spare/repair part requirements for Navy ships – up to and including aircraft carriers. The challenge was complicated by different configurations of each ship based on incremental upgrades and changing versions of subsystems/parts, complex business logistics rules, and the sheer volume of data (billions of database-equivalent records).

A process that previously took more than a month of manual and semi-automated effort, was reduced to less than 15 minutes using the associative technology now at the core of Relavance. The long, labor intensive exercise became an automated, near real-time computation process – thanks to the power of associative database technology.”

Joe Homan
Program Director