Media Contact:
Jim Ong


US Navy Selects Aurora-CCPM Software to Schedule Maintenance
Operations at the World’s Largest Submarine Base

Critical Chain Project Management Combined with Artificial Intelligence Generates
Efficient Solutions to Complex Scheduling Problems

SAN MATEO, Calif., July 7, 2012 – Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. today announced that the US Navy has selected Aurora-CCPM™ software to schedule maintenance operations at the Naval Submarine Support Facility in New London, Connecticut. NSSF provides direct maintenance, repair, and upkeep support to the 21 nuclear attack submarines that operate out of the Naval Submarine Base, the largest submarine base in the world. Aurora software will enable the Navy to generate highly efficient schedules to ensure that necessary maintenance operations can be performed on submarines during their limited times in port.

Submarine maintenance schedules must satisify complex resource constraints. While submarines are at the NSSF, the Navy must perform many maintenance operations that each require different combinations of resources, such as maintenance shops, equipment and maintenance teams with specific skills and certifications. Large submarine parts are removed from the submarine and transported to the 35 specialized maintenance shops where they are reconditioned or repaired. Because space in the submarines’ narrow passageways and access to the submarine hatches is very limited, the scheduling system must also reason spatially, so the Navy can schedule transports in a way that minimizes interference with the submarine’s other activities and the movements of its crew.

Because the Navy had successfully used the Critical Chain Project Management methodology to manage other operations efficiently, they desired a scheduling software system that supported CCPM. However, submarine maintenance operations schedules must satisfy complex constraints that exceeded the capabilities of ordinary CCPM software. The Navy selected Aurora-CCPM because it uniquely combines the Critical Chain method’s scheduling efficiencies with Aurora’s artificial intelligence-based scheduling engine that can encode and satisfy complex scheduling constraints.

Mr. Hilbert Robinson, a Critical Chain expert, supported a previous successful implementation of CCPM at the US Navy’s Pearl Harbor Submarine Base. Currently a Program Manager at NOVACES, Mr. Robinson now supports the Critical Chain implementation at New London. “Critical Chain showed great success when applied to the submarine maintenance, repair and overall (MRO) process at Pearl Harbor, ten years ago. However, we wished that we had better support for some of the unique constraints found in the submarine maintenance domain. In addition to the benefits of Critical Chain, Aurora-CCPM provides the capability to zero in on and potentially mitigate additional factors that could otherwise blindside the project team during execution.”

Aurora-CCPM combines Aurora, Stottler Henke’s intelligent planning and scheduling system, with the added power and flexibility of Multi-project Critical Chain Project Management. Traditional scheduling methods usually allocate a safety margin to each task. This approach wastes time due to bad multitasking, Student syndrome, Parkinson’s Law and poorly synchronized integration. The Critical Chain method avoids these problems by leveraging the concept of aggregated risk to consolidate per-task safety margins into fewer aggregate safety margins. By allocating safety times strategically, organizations achieve higher throughput. Aurora intelligent scheduling technology enables Aurora-CCPM to apply the Critical Chain method to complex projects that encompass thousands of heavily constrained tasks and hundreds of different kinds of resources. Because Aurora remembers the reasons for its scheduling decisions, it can adjust schedules intelligently when production requirements, resource availabilities, and other conditions change.

Founded in 1988, Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. applies artificial intelligence and other advanced software technologies to solve problems that defy solution using traditional approaches. The company delivers intelligent software solutions for education and training, planning and scheduling, knowledge management and discovery, decision support, and software development. In 2012, Stottler Henke received the Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration which honors outstanding small businesses and individuals who participate in the SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. US Government agencies have designated ten Stottler Henke systems as SBIR success stories. Stottler Henke was the subject of a NASA “Hallmarks of Success” video profile for its work developing and later commercializing advanced planning and training software systems. Stottler Henke received a “Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning” award for innovative technology. Stottler Henke was named one of the “top 100” companies making a significant impact on the military training industry by Military Training Technology magazine for 2011 and seven previous years. Stottler Henke has received a Blue Ribbon from Military Training Technology magazine, recognizing it as a company that leads the industry in innovation.