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The ARGOS Optimization Suite

The ARGOS Optimization Suite is a set of applications built upon OTS proprietary optimization technology that provide dramatically improved schedules for major construction projects including shipbuilding, fleet maintenance, and refinery turnarounds.

ARGOS is the only scheduling system that directly targets efficiency of resource usage as its optimization metric.

The Need for ARGOS
Shipbuilding and similar labor-intensive industries requires relatively skilled and expensive labor. For example, approximately 30% of the cost of a new ship is labor, and existing scheduling systems are not designed to improve the overall efficiency of labor utilization.

Billions of dollars are wasted annually in complex, large-scale operations due to the limitations of existing planning and scheduling methods. These methods are a combination of conventional wisdom, experience, and software systems that are only capable of finding a solution, without the ability to evaluate or find a high-quality solution. Complex construction operations involve thousands of decisions regarding task timing and resource utilization. If these choices are well made, good outcomes can generally be expected. If even a few are poorly made, however, the result may be much worse than it might otherwise have been. The choices with which we are presented typically interact in subtle ways that only become apparent after many other choices have been made, so the best choices can only be determined by exploring the various combinations of decisions that are available.

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The ARGOS Approach
ARGOS is OTS’ flagship optimization product: a schedule optimization tool that is intended to work in tandem with project management and project scheduling systems, improving labor efficiency in large-scale construction and maintenance projects. ARGOS is the only scheduling system that directly targets efficiency of resource usage (i.e., cost) as its optimization metric.

ARGOS relies on a fundamentally different algorithm than traditional scheduling systems, which provides a variety of advantages. This algorithm lets ARGOS balance numerous, possibly conflicting, objectives instead of simply trying to minimize duration. The ability to optimize for many different criteria simultaneously gives ARGOS the flexibility to meet varying shipyard needs. In addition, ARGOS’ speed makes it possible to re-optimize in response to situational changes and to develop new plans inside the production cycle, offering shipyards and other industries the potential to recapture billions of dollars currently “left on the floor” each year.

ARGOS Results
ARGOS can help reduce labor costs by roughly 10% through better resource utilization (less overtime and less idle time) in addition to improving the chances that the schedule can be executed as designed and determining the optimal workforce size to have available as a project progresses.