Lean workshop encourages continuous learning, improvement
August 8, 2014
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- Professionals from industries as diverse as deep water drilling to ornamental plant growing and health care recently shared ideas and insights during a unique educational opportunity at Tobyhanna Army Depot.
The second annual Lean Learning Workshop here was attended by 80 continuous improvement professionals and practitioners from the depot and regional organizations.
"The similarities are greater than the differences when it comes to continuous process improvement and this workshop certainly brought that point home," said Kathleen Sharp, senior performance innovation consultant with Geisinger Health Systems.
Faced with travel restrictions and always cost conscious, Tobyhanna decided to host a continuous process improvement/Lean workshop. Several national lean experts volunteered to brief at the gathering and share their expertise to enhance the competitiveness of all attendees.
Kevin Duggan, founder of the Institute for Operational Excellence and guest on Fox Business Network and CNN, was the keynote speaker. Duggan challenged the audience to up their game by designing self-healing value streams and empowering employees to take action when flow breaks down. He reminded attendees the purpose of Lean is to grow the business.
Applied behaviorism was introduced by Michael McCarthy, author of Sustain Your Gains. He emphasized the reinforcing role of supervisors in helping employees turn improvements into habits.
"Every first line supervisor needs to be a first line coach for process improvements to truly become rooted in the culture," he said.
Two depot supervisors, Kelvin Spencer and Michael McKeefery, fired up the audience with hooah's, quizzes and motivational tools illustrating how Army leadership principles make for good Lean leadership. Spencer and McKeefery are division chiefs for the Systems Integration and Support (SIS) Directorate's Integration Support and Manufacturing and Assembly divisions, respectively.
"I love the energy they brought to the group; it was a powerful message for all supervisors," said Branch Chief John Borosky, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Directorate's Tactical Air Defense Systems Branch.
The workshop concluded with a tour of Tobyhanna's Refinishing Center where visitors saw laser stripping technology and other productivity improvements being made by employees.
"We want to grow the business, so we put our best ideas out there," said Jennifer Conrad, industrial engineering technician, PII Directorate's Process Engineering Division. "I will use what I learned today to make our business more competitive."
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. About 3,300 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania.