NAVSUP WSS, Shipyard Supply Support Unit Standardize Processes, Decrease Ship Repair Delays

11 July 2023

From Angela King-Sweigart

MECHANICSBURG, Pa - Members of Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support’s (NAVSUP WSS) Strategic Management and Improvement Office (SMIO) assisted public shipyard units with knowledge sharing and standardization, leading to decreased ship repair delays.

A major goal of the collaboration between NAVSUP WSS and Shipyard Supply Support Unit in August 2022 was to standardize the people, processes and practices involved with material acquisition, like purchasing replacement parts for ships and submarines, at the Navy’s four public shipyards, according to Lynn Kohl, NAVSUP WSS vice commander.

These efforts help to solve the challenges facing the Navy when it comes to increasing ship readiness and increased maintenance costs as highlighted by a recent GAO report.

Specific metrics and tasks were created to accomplish the goal with a deadline of December 2022. After analysis, NAVSUP WSS leadership decided to assemble a team to facilitate this goal. The team was led by Capt. Pamela Theorgood, deputy commander for ships and submarines, NAVSUP WSS Mechanicsburg, who appointed seven continuous process improvement black belts from the SMIO to join the team.

Black belts are journeyman level continuous process improvement (CPI) practitioners, who facilitate incremental changes to business processes to improve efficiency and quality at all levels. To become a black belt employees must complete five weeks of full-time training as well as pass a comprehensive final exam. The NAVSUP WSS black belts that assisted with this project were: Jaleesa Daniels, Cassandre Luberus, Lorissa Luckenbill, Brian Mackalonis, Caleb Miller, Christian Nazario and Cynthia Smith.

“One of our major goals was to increase communication across the shipyards,” said Cassandre L. Luberus, a NAVSUP WSS Strategic Management and Improvement Office black belt. “And that was accomplished. We created a SharePoint site that facilitated process standardization across the shipyards. Additionally, we hosted weekly collaborative meetings with the Shipyards’ Supply Support Units (Code 500s) subject matter experts and other stakeholders. These actions led to increased knowledge sharing and aligned processes.”

Another major initiative was to develop and standardize acquisition Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) across the shipyards. While each shipyard has some specialties, many of them performed the same or very similar functions, but in slightly different ways, explained Luberus. Developing a standardized practice helped to reduce inefficiencies in their methods.

“After we developed the SOPs, it became clear that they were something that needed to be developed further. While it is still in development, these SOPs will be made into an official publication,” she said.

While this project is winding down for the SMIO team, other projects are ongoing. Luberus has more than nine projects touching everything from command strategy to acquisition and says that breadth of scope is common amongst the black belts. Broad knowledge and experience make the SMIO team ideal to directorates, supervisors, and employees to find solutions to problems they face in day-to-day work.

“I greatly enjoyed being a part of this project, and it was something that presented a challenge. I was thankful that when called upon, we answered! And I would do it again and again,” she said.

Leadership is happy with the team’s hard work on standardization for Shipyard Supply Support Unit’s material acquisition.

“I was excited to lead this team to accomplish these important goals, they did an outstanding job,” said Theorgood. “This project helped to reduce delays during shipyard maintenance which directly contributes to Naval readiness.”

The Navy’s four public shipyards are Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia; Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Maine; Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Washington; and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Hawaii. The Supply Support Unit, also called the Code 500s, is the organization of teams involved in each step of the process ensuring material is available to support shipyard operations.

NAVSUP WSS is one of 11 commands under Commander, NAVSUP. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, NAVSUP employs a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel. NAVSUP and the Navy Supply Corps conduct and enable supply chain, acquisition, operational logistics and Sailor and family care activities with our mission partners to generate readiness and sustain naval forces worldwide to prevent and decisively win wars. Learn more at,, and

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