Information Papers

Lean Six Sigma Initiatives

What is it?
Lean Six Sigma (LSS) is a process improvement methodology that utilizes a comprehensive set of tools and techniques to accelerate a culture of continuous, measurable improvement that eliminates non value-added activities and improves quality. In support of one of the Army’s top four imperatives: Transform the Army to meet the demands of the 21st century, a comprehensive Lean Six Sigma program was deployed throughout the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Installations and Environment Community (ASA(I&E)) community.

Meeting and understanding the needs of the ASA(I&E) customers, the Soldiers, Civilians, and Family members working and living on Army installations, is at the core of Lean Six Sigma. The emphasis is on the delivery of improved business processes, cost avoidance and cost savings. At the same time, the quality of service delivered to the customer is maintained or improved.

What has the Army done?
The ASA(I&E) community demonstrated commitment to business transformation by fully implementing a Lean Six Sigma program that aligns with the Army’s Strategic Initiatives. The ASA(I&E) community trained its personnel in Lean Six Sigma principles and methodology at three levels: 1) Awareness training, 2) Project Sponsor training and, 3) Green Belt and Black Belt training. With over 509 Green Belts and Black Belts trained worldwide, the ASA(I&E) community completed 218 projects. In addition to financial benefits, projects yield measurable operational improvements that deliver quality products and services to the customer.

What continuing efforts are planned?
The Lean Six Sigma methodology will be a significant part of the ASA(I&E) community’s future to increase productivity and reduce costs at all levels of the organization. Advanced courses will be offered to enable the Army to become self-sufficient and self-sustaining in the Lean Six Sigma methodology. Management will continue to support and reinforce continuous process improvement through Lean Six Sigma and complementary initiatives. The ASA(I&E) community will work with other Army agencies to improve processes across organizational boundaries.

Why is this important to the Army?
Collective efforts will maintain and improve the quality of service offered to effectively respond to Soldiers, families and Army civilians who live and work on Army installations. By continuing the efforts that the ASA(I&E) community has just started to implement with the Lean Six Sigma program, the Army will be able to:

Forces Command Lean Six Sigma

What is it?
Business transformation at Army Forces Command consists of implementing improved business practices and transforming past ways of doing business. Central to transforming past practices is the use of Lean Six Sigma, a systematic, disciplined methodology for improving performance.

What has the Army done?
The initial focus of business transformation has been to improve processes at Forces Command Headquarters. Early improvements in cycle time, cost reduction, or quality range from 50 to 80 percent. Focus areas include the redistribution of excess equipment, distribution of funds, processing operational needs statements for training enablers, contract reduction, and management of emerging requirements that need funding. As Forces Command’s experience with Lean Six Sigma increased, we began to use it on Army Force Generation, stationing, mobilization, and reorganization of staff sections.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
Implementation at the field level is the next step in improving business processes. Progress in this area has been dependent on deployments to Iraq/Afghanistan for the most part. However, with the establishment of a mission support element at each key location, Forces Command’s effort to improve business processes will have a focal point.

Why is this important to the Army?
As the Army improves its processes, the associated Civilian and military personnel freed by the improvements can reduce contractor use and improve military staffing levels.

Army G-4 Lean Six Sigma

What is it?
The Army G-4 (Logistics) Lean Six Sigma program helps focus G-4 efforts on leading business innovations while delivering logistics readiness at the highest value to our Nation and the Army.

What has the Army done?  
We are committed to delivering logistics readiness at the highest value to our customers.  In 2006, we embarked on an aggressive campaign to train Lean Six Sigma principles and apply them to improving our high-value logistics processes. In 2007 we built on this training in our project execution, focusing on our highest priorities: equipment reset, retrograde and redistribution, requirements determination, financial accounting, in-transit visibility, and policy development.  The process improvements we are targeting will significantly improve our logistics readiness and ensure our limited resources are most effectively applied.

Substantial progress has been achieved in G-4 Lean Six Sigma training and project execution. Training successes are exemplified by the following:

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
Most of the G-4 projects are directly tied to our responsibility as the lead for equipment reset in Army Force Generation. Already completed projects have improved the accuracy and timeliness of reporting Army equipment losses, reduced the cycle time for Class VII disposition instructions in the area of responsibility, and reduced the cycle time for second-destination transportation “stop shipment” waiver requests. In 2008 we will focus improvement efforts on logistics readiness and our retrograde process.

The remainder of our projects is focused on improving requirements determination and management of major program areas in the Sustain Program Execution Group that we lead. As the Army enterprise lead for Sustainment, we are sponsoring quarterly forums to share best practices for logistics process improvement across the Army.

Why is this important to the Army?
Timely logistical support is critical in providing support for the Soldiers in our ongoing Global War on Terror and Army Transformation efforts.  Our Soldiers’ effectiveness depends upon a sustained but flexible national commitment to equip and support them properly.

Ms. Deb Deville (703) 697-9512