Making warships faster

IBM has been awarded a multi-year contract by General Dynamics Electric Boat to build what it claims is the shipbuilding industry’s first Internet-based supply chain network.

IBM will provide on demand computing infrastructure to automate Electric Boat’s supply chain, linking together partners, suppliers and other shipyards in a single integrated organisation to help the company accelerate the building of submarines for the US Navy.

The agreement with Electric Boat to provide on demand computing services is the first commercial result of IBM’s ongoing collaboration with the National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP) to increase US shipbuilding efficiency by using technology to improve collaboration and information exchange among shipbuilders and their suppliers.

IBM will host and manage a turnkey supply chain network for Electric Boat, connecting business partners and suppliers in a secure Web environment designed to reduce inefficiencies caused by today’s largely paper-based shipbuilding supply chain. The IBM solution, known as SPARS (Shipbuilding Partners and Suppliers) on demand service, is based on open, scaleable computing architecture, enabling Electric Boat to add users and business processes, regardless of computing platform. Electric Boat will pay a monthly usage fee for the service based on the number of registered users, suppliers and business processes.

The SPARS on demand service uses IBM WebSphere, DB2 and Tivoli Security Management software on IBM eServer xSeries systems in a hosted environment to provide around-the-clock infrastructure support for the supply chain management requirements of both large and small shipyards. Shipyards subscribing to the SPARS on demand service receive all required installation, operations, systems administration, maintenance and support, as well as security, supplier registration and document management. A host of secure connectivity options and integration services for legacy systems are also available.

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