Focusing on vision and continuing process improvement at Joint Program Manager Guardian
October 8, 2009
The chemical, biological and radiological threat to military installations continues to grow and expand as potential and current adversaries pursue more knowledge and expertise.
The CBD Program is in an era of reduced and constrained resources to meet these emerging threats. To meet customer's requirements for improved operational capabilities in this era of constrained resources, the Joint Project Manager Guardian and the Product Manager for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Installation Protection Program developed and implemented an aggressive and comprehensive continuous process improvement program to improve the efficiency and effectiveness across all JPMG product lines.
The program initiated this effort by training and equipping a dozen team members with Naval Sea System Command Lean Six Sigma College training. The training produced two CPI Champions, five Black Belts and five Green Belts.
"The establishment and implementation of this resulting Lean Culture produced a program more readily able to effectively anticipate threats and identify and embrace opportunities by developing and improving process work flow and more effective use of existing fact-based data," said Don Buley, deputy JPMG. "The program has achieved a total savings of more than $3.5 million since implementation."
An example of a project that highlights how the program successfully employed this new Lean Culture was shown through the PM CBRN IPP project to reduce the time required to field equipment to a military installation. It previously took up to 12 months to complete a fielding evolution to an installation. The project team identified individuals who represented a cross-functional team involving multiple organizations, including military, civilian, support contractors and prime contractors. The team determined that customers define success as the ability to deliver the program capability to the right people in the field, as fast as possible, without sacrificing quality.
The first step the IPP team completed was a value stream process map which identified the six fielding critical path process steps: Design, Procurement, Fielding, Training, Sustainment and Transition. The team then documented more than 300 individual steps which made up the details of the six fielding processes. Through root cause analysis, the team identified the process constraints that prevent equipment from being fielded quickly. The procurement process uncovered equipment that took up to four months to deploy due to long lead manufacturing times. The team identified that these items were purchased after the final design was approved, adding unnecessary delays in getting the new capability to the customer. The analysis concluded that the majority of the items fielded to installations worldwide were the same between the services. A procurement strategy was developed that balanced costs and time of procuring and warehousing against delivery and fielding requirements.
As a result, the team was able to more accurately identify and plan long lead procurements while minimizing delivery times and storage costs. This reduced fielding times by 25 percent, from 12 months to nine months and a savings of more than $2.8 million. This savings has allowed the program to field an additional three installations across the services.
To ensure the new procurement strategies and other project improvements are sustainable, the program created dashboard metrics. The dashboard provides managers a method of assessing on a real-time basis how projects are progressing to ensure they will produce the desired outcome.
A rigorous system to gather and document customer feedback and programmatic lessons learned across the planning and execution lifecycle was developed. These inputs are captured in a Lessons Learned Database. The information is accessible to all organizational members both government and contractor. It is utilized by all programmatic teams, such as Joint Engineering Review Board, Configuration Control Board, and Production Planning Execution teams to incrementally improve their business process.
"The immediate impact of implementing the lessons learned concept provides instantaneous results to complex high priority problems in CBRN IPP," said Harold Burks, CPP IPP special project officer for TIER II Production. Examples of these business improvements include the completion of numerous Rapid Improvement Events such improved customer relationships, development and implementation of an unfunded requirements prioritization process, and an improved customer survey process.
The program also realized the following additional benefits:
Increase in the Total Package Fielding on-time deliveries percentage (more than 95 percent)
Reduction in the number of shipments required to field
No increases in Change Requests after design approval
Improvement in customer satisfaction survey results (3.8 out of 5 to 4.3 out of 5)
"Through committed leadership support, training and engagement at all levels in the CPI program, JPMG and PM CBRN IPP have transformed the culture resulting in substantial improvements in system capability and customer satisfaction with significant cost savings," said Lt. Col. Todd Kustra, PM CBRN IPP. "These improvements have provided JPMG and PM CBRN IPP the ability to reallocate and recapitalize its limited funding resources to better address emerging threats and customer requirements."
(Editor's notes: Author is the Project Management Professional, CBRN IPP; Business Process Improvement manger at Camber Corporation. Contributors include Col. Mark Malatesta, former PM, JPMG; Don Buley, deputy JPMG; Lt. Col. Todd Kustra, PM, CBRN IPP; Commander Bernard Doctor, technical director, Science and Technology, JPMG.)