ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. - The release of production orders for the vehicle and small arms maintenance shops have been slow to go this fiscal year, but leaders in Anniston Army Depot's Nichols Industrial Complex said they expected this to occur with the recent deployment of the Army's Logistics Modernization Program.

"LMP has changed the way we do business on the shop floor. The transition will take some time, as we must do this deliberately in order to get it right," said Billy Bickerstaff, who leads the Directorate of Production Management, one of the new directorates under the General Manager of Production Operations.

Replacing the decades-old Standard Depot System, LMP was implemented here Oct. 21 after several years of planning and hundreds of training classes.

Bickerstaff explained one of the key challenges in working LMP after SDS: All labor and material costs in SDS were charged to a single production control number at the major end item level (e.g., M1 tank). Conversely, with LMP, each subassembly of the major end item has a unique production order. Thus, the depot is now met with the challenge of converting all work-in-process into hundreds of individual production orders.

As the only LMP deployment site to reorganize its production support areas prior to go-live, ANAD faces another challenge as 500 people in the NIC are not only learning a new business system, but having to learn new roles in depot maintenance and, in some cases, move to new organizations and offices.

DPM, the organization responsible for planning and scheduling the vehicle and small arms production, was just one of two new directorates created in the production arena. The other is the Directorate of Material Management, the group charged with ordering, storing and moving the inventory.

No longer is there a Directorate of Mission, Plans and Operations. The Directorate of Production and the Directorate of Engineering and Quality gave up a few roles to DPM and DMM in the reorganization, but both kept their name. In all, GMPO now has four directorates instead of three.

"LMP will give us much better tools with which to manage our labor and material costs and offer bigger savings down the road," said Bickerstaff.

<b>Ready to 'floor it'</b>

The month-long maintenance shutdown between the depot's use of the old system and the new system gave direct and indirect personnel in the NIC an opportunity to prepare for the deployment of the new Enterprise Resource Planning system. On the whole, it minimized the amount of data to be manually recorded during the SDS-LMP blackout period.

Bickerstaff likened the shutdown of ANAD's production operations to an old-timey locomotive that's had its boiler turned off. "We've turned off the engine and are trying to fire it back up to get to full steam. We're trying to get up to that full cruising speed again."

According to Steve McCarley, Director of Material Management, personnel in the business of routing and movement material for the production shops received their first taste of LMP on Nov. 3 when they were given the opportunity to provide material for a combat vehicle program.

"Production orders drive the material management, and then DMM provides the parts support to the direct labor," said McCarley. "Since the start of LMP, we've been working behind the scenes to verify our inventory and set our organization up for success."

Work on Stryker vehicle programs continued through the shutdown, but all other programs-M1 Abrams, M113, Paladin, etc.-were halted while employees on the production lines made use of their annual leave and spent time cleaning and organizing their work spaces.

"The system is going to run real good when we get it all going," said Bill Lipham, a mechanic on the Paladin vehicle line. "It's just taking a little longer to get production orders than we anticipated."

"We're working long days and on weekends to get these production orders released," said Bickerstaff. "We've been met with the tallest hurdle up front, but over time, we will recoup those costs because LMP will make us more efficient than ever before."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16