Black Belt success humbles Hummel
May 1, 2014
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- James Hummel earned a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt for his work improving Tobyhanna's NETT Warrior cable production, which resulted in an increase of first pass yield from 35 to 95 percent.
Employees implemented new methods to drive up the percentage of NETT Warrior cables made correctly without any rework or corrective action (first pass yield). Hummel's plan ensures more cables advance from station to station on the first pass, reducing the time spent on rework and reprocessing.
Hummel developed a project to use the DMAIC method (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) in order to reduce process cycle time and eliminate rework. Prior to the project, the first pass yield was only 35 percent.
"The team was very focused on improving the first pass yield to generate savings and increase the quality of the product," said Hummel, a process improvement specialist who works in the Command, Control and Computers (C3)/Avionics Directorate.
The first phase of the project defined the problem and set goals for improvement. Through the measure phase, the team developed a value stream map and collected data. During analysis, Hummel and the team identified causes and effects of the low first pass yield. Next, the improve phase prioritized the list of solutions and developed a pilot plan to determine the effects of increased first pass yield and decreased process cycle time.
Finally, the control phase summarized the entire project, set plans to maintain improvements and calculated the financial benefits.
Improvements to the injection method, molding design and material proved vital to the successful results. Hummel said the project had several benefits to the depot and the workforce.
"The machine shop has seen an increase in morale, which improves work overall," he said. "The project also increased the number of belt projects for the depot, showing the extent of the Lean culture at Tobyhanna."
Hummel said he is honored by the achievement of earning a Black Belt and recognized his team's effort in making the project a success.
"After completing two Green Belts, I set my sights on earning a Black Belt," he said. "I am happy I was able to use my knowledge and expertise, and work with valuable team members who were focused to drive the project to completion."
Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna's Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C4ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.
Tobyhanna's unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, technology insertion, modification, and global field support to warfighters.
About 3,500 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.