AMC organizations awarded for lean practices
Four Army Materiel Command organizations received the 2006 Shingo Prize Public Sector Award for achievement in lean processes at the Pentagon Nov. 15. Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey stands with (left to right) Col. J.B. Elliott, commander, Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center; Col. Robert Swenson, commander, Letterkenny Army Depot; Col. Douglas J. Evans, commander, Red River Army Depot; Col. Ron Alberto, commander, Tobyhanna Army Depot; and, Gen. Benjamin Griffin, commander, Army Materiel Command.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 16, 2006) - Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey presented four Army Materiel Command organizations the 2006 Shingo Prize Public Sector Award for achievement in implementing lean systems in support of the Army business transformation process in the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon yesterday.

"The goal of Army business transformation is to achieve major reductions in cost and cycle time while improving the productivity and quality of output in all our business operations and, thereby, free up resources for our operational missions," Harvey told the audience.

"So, I am extremely proud of the four organizations that we are recognizing here today," the secretary said. "The recognition by the award of the 2006 Shingo Prize Public Sector Award demonstrates that the Army is making significant progress in achieving its business transformation goals."

Established in 1988, the Shingo Prize has been referred to by Business Week as the "Nobel prize of manufacturing," because it establishes a standard for world-class excellence."

In the case of the four Army organizations, the prize represents their steadfastness in manufacturing, repair, overhaul and maintenance of warfighter equipment.

Broken into four categories - platinum, gold, silver and bronze - the Shingo Prize was awarded to the following:

Gold - Rock Island Arsenal, Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, Rock Island, Ill., for its work on the Forward Repair System. RIA is the first Army command to win at the gold level.

"We achieved the gold level primarily due to our dramatic restructuring, and the hard work, creativity and dedication of our workforce," said Col. J.B. Elliott, Rock Island commander. "We created integrated product teams to manage our major products horizontally across the organization. In the end, our results were dramatic. We shortened the product travel distance by 81 percent, reduced the manufacturing lead time by 40 percent, resolved 36 safety and ergonomic issues and one quality issue, and increased production from four to 29 units per month."

Silver - Letterkenny Army Depot, Chambersburg, Penn., for its work on the Humvee.

According to Letterkenny commander, Col. Robert Swenson, the efficiencies the command found by adhering to Lean and Six Sigma principles were striking.

"Letterkenny is now producing 27 extra Humvees each month - for free," he said. "Through the use of Lean on our Humvee line, we have been able to reduce defects by 85 percent, cut labor hours by 41 percent and slash parts shortages to zero. This resulted in a cost reduction of more than $11 million.

"To represent the only Army Depot to win the Shingo Prize two years in a row is a humbling experience for me and for all our Letterkenny employees," Swenson said.

Silver - Red River Army Depot, Texarkana, Texas, for its work on the Humvee.

"The dedication and patriotism of the Red River members is unmatched and reflected in the quality of the Humvee that we provide daily for the war fighter," said Col. Douglas J. Evans, Red River commander. "The culture change and our willingness to adapt Lean and Six Sigma techniques have enabled us to better meet the needs of each Soldier serving our nation.

"Receipt of the Shingo Prize validates Red River's commitment to quality and continuous process improvement," Evans added.

Bronze - Tobyhanna Army Depot, Tobyhanna, Penn., for its work on the AN/TPS-75 radar system.

Col. Ron Alberto, Tobyhanna's commander, said his command earned the Shingo Prize for achieving a 31 percent reduction in repair-cycle time and a 25 percent reduction in repair costs on the Air Force's primary air-defense radar system.

"The prize reflects our commitment to Lean Six Sigma and quality improvement, but more importantly to taking care of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines our on the battlefield," Alberto said.

According to Shingo Prize officials, the AMC organizations were all evaluated by on-site examiners. They were scored in cost improvement, leadership, empowerment, vision and strategy, innovation and development, partnering practices with suppliers and customers, environmental practices, quality and results, and consistent improvement in each of those areas.

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