USS Midway – History and Product Lifecycle

USS Midway – History and Product Lifecycle

I’m in San-Diego to attend IpX ConX19 event. Yesterday, I spent half-day visiting USS Midway. It was my second visit to this ship. The first one was a long time ago during one of Solidworks World events in San-Diego. This time, I was able to spend more time on the ship. USS Midway is an interesting piece of engineering, manufacturing, and history.

The USS Midway was the longest-serving aircraft carrier in the 20th century. Named after the climatic Battle of Midway of June 1942, Midway was built in only 17 months, but missed World War II by one week when commissioned on September 10, 1945. Midway was the first in a three-ship class of large carriers that featured an armored flight deck and a powerful air group of 120 planes.

USS Midway is an interesting piece of engineering. It is the first aircraft carrier using full steel flight decks. Before that aircraft carriers used wood for the flight deck.

The building of Midway is an interesting example of the product lifecycle – it was built total in 18 months, which is remarkable for size of construction and engineering complexity (remember – it was 1942).

USS Midway history is intertwined with some events in my life. One of his last missions was to serve as the flagship for naval air forces in the Gulf. Time is running fast and it was already almost 30 years ago. Nevertheless, I remember the Gulf War from different angles – the last days of Soviet Union TV. Which was probably one of the latest accords of former USSR. Later, I’ve heard about this war from my friends in Israel. Getting int USS Midway museum was some kind of touching the history you can still remember in a real life.

What is my conclusion? In the comment to my previous blog, commenters raised the point that the biggest challenge of PLM industry is to find incentives to change. USS Midway was originally built in 18 months and it is a sophisticated piece of engineering. Current PLM industry status quo is a result of enterprise software reality mixed with business models of PLM vendors. The way to change it requires shift to network PLM platform paradigms and business models. Which is the hardest thing to do. Internet and online business slowly, but surely coming to manufacturing. Coming decades will bring many examples of how existing business models can be and will be shifted. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud-based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups, and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.

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  • Lee Perrin

    Thanks for this post Oleg! I visited Midway about mid 2000s. What a great ship! Imagine the coordination needed had there ever been a change to that diagram you showed above. On my visit, I enjoyed viewing not only the ship and the planes on deck, but also the nameplates of the aircraft on deck, to check out manufacturer’s names and part numbers.

    It’s a great tourist attraction.

  • beyondplm

    Lee, agree 100%, it is a great place to visit!