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Shipbuilder employs KM to navigate info

The shipbuilding industry conjures images of the bull's-eye precision of "Top Gun" pilots landing fighter jets on aircraft carriers, or the shark-like stealth of nuclear-powered submarines navigating underwater. Knowledge management is not foremost in mind.

Yet, knowledge management is becoming as integral to building ships as parts, materials and other aspects of their manufacture and maintenance. Newport News ShipbuildingNewport News Shipbuilding, for example, uses knowledge management to handle and distribute millions of documents and reports enterprisewide. With 17,000 employees and annual revenues of almost $2 billion, the company designs and constructs nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines for the U.S. Navy and provides services for the Navy fleet. Such a large enterprise obviously generates a lot of information, and needs a system to automatically capture data from disparate applications, platforms and formats.

The shipbuilder recently chose a system from Cypress Cypress called Knowledge Delivery Architecture to navigate information more effectively. Initially enabling more than 2,000 users to electronically access and view data faster, the solution has reduced the time, cost and labor associated with compiling and distributing reports, according to the shipbuilding. Eventually it will eliminate the need to output 6 million printed pages per month.

Prior to deploying the system, employees monitored, printed and manually delivered reports to the appropriate people throughout the company. The new solution not only saves time but is flexible enough to meet the shipbuilder's mounting IT demands.

"The growth and success we have achieved is a result of our superior products and our strong understanding of the marketplace, plus ... selecting the best IT solutions to be competitive," says Mike Hager, project leader of Output Management at Newport News Shipbuilding.

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