Information Papers

Depot Maintenance Initiatives

What is it?
Depot maintenance is the highest and most comprehensive level of maintenance performed on materiel. It consists of a major overhaul or a complete rebuild of parts, assemblies, subassemblies, and end items in order to return the equipment condition to the Army standard. Depot maintenance production fills equipment shortages within units and supports the readiness of the Army’s combatant commanders by improving materiel reliability and availability.

Depot maintenance initiatives are adapting processes, policies, and procedures to change business practices so the Depot Maintenance Program can more effectively and efficiently support an expeditionary Army. These initiatives are continuous in nature.

What has the Army done?
The Army’s five organic maintenance depots have instituted a robust continuous process improvement program utilizing the Lean Six Sigma methodology. In FY07, the depots were awarded 12 Shingo public sector awards for their successful application of Lean Six Sigma to increase operational efficiencies. These efforts have reduced the cost of depot maintenance operations and decreased equipment repair cycle times. Because a reduction in repair cycle time decreases the amount of time equipment is not available to the Soldier, these process change efforts have directly improved equipment readiness.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army’s depots will continue to build on their initial successes and apply Lean Six Sigma analyses and processes across the entire spectrum of maintenance operations. In addition, as part of the 360-degree readiness initiative, the Army has begun to perform value stream analyses and process improvement efforts at the departmental level in order to improve the effectiveness of the Depot Maintenance Program. These improvement efforts will be aimed at the planning, programming, and execution oversight processes.

Why is this important to the Army?
Depot maintenance is a multibillion dollar enterprise that improves equipment readiness for the Soldier. At the depot level, more efficient processes will improve materiel availability at reduced cost. At the departmental level, improved processes will provide decision makers with better data in order to apply depot maintenance dollars in the areas that will most effectively support the Soldier’s needs.

Mr. Dennis Brogan (703) 614-0811