Workplace redesign earns Lean Model Cell recognition
Secure Communications Branch received the second Lean Model Cell certificate for sustaining 6S implementation for over 6 months. Personnel redesigned the work area to streamline processes.

TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, PA. - Secure Communications Branch employees were awarded the second Lean Model Cell Bronze-level certification at Tobyhanna.

Branch personnel were recognized for their ability to sustain 6S implementation for six months. 6S-Set, Sort, Shine, Standardize, Sustain and Safety-is a way to eliminate waste and maximize value-added work.

The Communications Systems Directorate branch consists of two cost centers. The "A" branch is lead by [Greentown resident] Branch Chief James Kondratick; [Sugarloaf resident] Christine Ackerman is the chief of "B" branch. Employees perform depot maintenance of the equipment and subassemblies, and provide security demilitarization and disposal capabilities for Army, other services and civilian agency Communications Security (COMSEC) equipment. The directorate receives, stores, maintains accountability, and issues COMSEC equipment and materiel for the Department of the Army, National Security Agency and other services.

"Our personnel perform tasks such as sandblasting, painting and disassembly of thousands of secure devices annually," Kondratick said. "These shop areas encompass a variety of tasks that are often equated with messy jobs. Employees here have worked very hard to refine processes that resulted in increased productivity."

Personnel participated in several Lean events that evaluated and improved processes that were implemented and sustained using the 6S philosophy of "a place for everything and everything in its place.

"We've done a lot of Rapid Improvement Events," said [Tunkhannock resident] Tony Rubin, COMSEC Division chief. "The employees took ownership of the work and I believe everyone is excited about future possibilities."

According to Rubin, the branch has visible production and performance metrics in place. Both cost centers have met their Voluntary Protection Program safety inspections and have continually improved their safety record.

"Our safety programs are outstanding," Kondratick said. "Everyone is on board and supporting the process."

In addition, personnel redesigned the work area to streamline processes that helped reduce travel time and eliminate waste.

"Getting the banner that goes with the award just shows what I have always said about this cost center," said [Carbondale resident] Stephen Bucklaw, electronics mechanic leader. "We have quality people doing quality work. I am privileged to have outstanding workers who always pull together to accomplish whatever mission comes our way," Bucklaw said. "Last year we produced over 10,000 items in support of missions all over the world."

According to Bucklaw, branch employees perform Reset and Left-Behind Equipment missions as well as deploy to support Field Repair Activities in Southwest Asia.

"We directly support these missions by repairing various pieces of COMSEC equipment to ensure all warfighters have what they need to accomplish their goals."

Employees earned accolades from both branch chiefs for all their hard work.

"They [employees] are the ones who took the time to come up with ideas and run with them," Ackerman said. "All we did was give them the tools. They did a fantastic job; it's their award, not ours."

Kondratick agreed. "We couldn't have gone as far, as fast without their cooperation."

The Lean Model Cell working group, all volunteers, meets monthly to select the depot's best 6S candidates with a sustaining score of 96 percent or greater for six months. Candidates must pass two audits to earn the first level of recognition.

"The overall Lean Model Cell promotes a healthy competition within our organization," said [Madison Township resident] Daniel Shea, Firefinder Division chief. "Once obtained it builds momentum giving us all that sense of pride and disciplined accomplishment, and ownership of processes." Shea works in the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Directorate.

"I believe the current winners hold the meaningful formula of a high-energy shop displaying team integrity within every organization," Shea said. "Every team fully understands the difficulties of sustainment, but there's a competitive edge we all possess that pushes us to the next level. That's what makes Tobyhanna a world class corporation."

Tobyhanna Army Depot is the Defense Department's largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna's missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.

About 5,600 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 CECOM Life Cycle Management Command. Headquartered at Fort Monmouth, N.J., 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.

Page last updated Mon February 22nd, 2010 at 16:40