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Experience in service for shipbuilding

On 12 February in Saint-Petersburg, USC’s President Alexey Rakhmanov chaired a meeting of corporation’s Council of Elders. The Council, created in 2015, unifies experienced professionals, who have contributed significantly to the development of the industry and have shaped the present-day profile of Russian shipbuilding

Among those, whose names are familiar to many generations of shipbuilders and need no introduction, are Yuri Kormilitsyn, Oleg Shulyakovskiy, Alexander Shlyakhtenko, Vladimir Yukhnin, Viktor Tatarskiy, Igor Pashkevich, Velery Levchenko, Georgiy Poryadin, Alexey Oryshchenko and Leonid Grabovets.  

The meeting was held at the Severnaya Verf shipbuilding plant with participation of the enterprise’s director Igor Ponomarev. Opening the session, Alexey Rakhmanov noted that the USC managed to cope with the inherited delayed construction projects, but the issue of fulfilling contractual obligations in the area of state defence order and commercial projects remain the priority of the corporation. In many ways the problems are explained by the imperfection of bidding procedures and delays in the supplies of equipment.

“As an option to solve this problem we consider the creation of a panel of the USC suppliers in the area of commercial shipbuilding and a list of guaranteed supply companies for the state defence order. There is nothing other than pre-qualification. We are not foretellers, which is why we will keep on monitoring the work of suppliers, create a database,” said Alexey Rakhmanov. According to him, this will help to avoid appearance of dealers, which do not produce anything and the operation of which is questionable. Another option to find a way out of this situation might be the holding of tender at the stage of the technical project preparation jointly with the design bureau and the plant. As an outcome of it, a list of winners is handed over to the plant for contracting, which is done actually on an uncompetitive basis. “But, it was a catastrophe when every time you have to redo the drawings and waste a year and a half just because the wrong choice was made. And this will consume incredible amounts of time and money. How can we find a way out?” said Alexey Rakhmanov in his address to the meeting participants.

Oleg Shulyakovskiy gave the Soviet experience of the state defence order as an example, which, according to him, was in many aspects adopted for the creation of the US system. “Nothing will be solved fundamentally unless the principle is changed: no tenders whatsoever. Suppliers are the responsibility of the design bureau, which has to deal with the problem, make a thorough analysis of their real situation and allocate responsibilities for concrete equipment among the suppliers,” said Shulyakovskiy. He was supported by Yuri Kormilitsyn and Igor Pashkevich, who also stressed the importance of involving the Navy in this work as it is the main customer. Leonid Grabovets touched upon an acute problem of the industry, i.e. the lack of reliable suppliers on key positions, including suppliers of engines and valves. In Alexey Rakhmanov’s view, the solution here may come with the Program on the Modernization of Machine-Building, which is being prepared now, and with the appearance of a “national champion in engine building” in the market. Besides, the USC President told the audience about the corporation’s plans on establishing a Centre of Propulsive Technologies.

The participants also discussed the training of specialists for the shipbuilding industry. “Even in the context of numerous orders we came across the problem of the lack of professional cadres,” underscored the USC president. In the words of Alexey Rakhmanov, it is necessary to reconsider the approaches to the training of engineer students and return to the traditional model of training specialists with a follow-on specialization in research studies, design bureaus or in production. The members of the Council of Elders expressed their support to the proposal pointing to the decisive role of the human factor and personal responsibility for the results of the enterprise operation. To illustrate this argument, Alexey Rakhmanov mentioned the recent experience of the Krasnoye Sormovo plant, where a team of specialists on lean manufacturing has increased just in one year the number of produced steam boats from nine to fifteen without any extra investments, having eliminated all the inefficiencies.

In conclusion, the USC president thanked the members of the Council of Elders for an informal and subject-matter discussions and presented memorial commemorative coins “350 Years of the Russian State Shipbuilding”, issued by the Bank of Russia at the request of the USC.

On that day Alexey Rakhmanov also took part in a meeting chaired by Deputy Defence Minister of the Russian Federation Alexey Krivoruchko, which was devoted to the fulfilling of the state defence order.