Depot cleans house-saves money, frees storage space
December 17, 2007
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. - The depot work force cleared more than 60,000 square-feet of storage space during a month-long event that focused on collecting and disposing of excess material.
In October, members of a core team spearheaded an event that encouraged employees to clean up work areas-indoors and outdoors-using 6S techniques. Employees applied existing procedures to dispose of unwanted or unnecessary material, from recycling paper to scrap metal.
"The program was successful beyond my wildest imagination," said Bob Young, depot black belt and core team lead. "Everyone really embraced the event in some form or fashion."
The team provided guidance on expectations for office areas, work benches, storage areas, aisles, common areas and building exteriors. The clean-up and disposal procedures were circulated from the primary team to employees using the Star Point network.
"We defined every type of excess there could be and provided information on how to dispose of it," Young said.
Depot shops and offices cleared 1.2 acres of floor space by concentrating on sorting, setting in order, shining and containment.
"The whole cost center got involved," said Tony Gentle, branch chief, Command, Control and Computer (C3) Avionics Directorate. "There was a major focus on getting rid of clutter on work benches, turning in excess material to "F" condition code stock and just a really good cleaning of the shop area providing a safer work environment," he said.
Recycling data shows Tobyhanna generated $165,765.93 worth of scrap materials during October's 6S event compared to $35,622.94 during the same time last year. The depot produced 68 loads of scrap material weighing more than 600,000 pounds versus 12 loads of about 200,000 pounds in October 2006.
Money earned through the sale of scrap recyclable materials goes into the installation's recycling fund.
In addition to the financial benefits of recycling, there are environmental benefits, according to Lauren Pond, recycling coordinator, Environmental Management Division. She explained that recycling helps the depot reduce the amount of materials sent to landfills, reduce the number of natural resources used to produce [raw versus recycled] materials, and reduce the amount of energy used in processing raw materials.
"If the recycling behavior of the 6S event becomes a habit, we should continue to see positive recycling results that benefit Tobyhanna and our environment," Pond said.
Joseph Maciejewski added that if the materials collected for recycling during this event were disposed of in a landfill it would have cost an additional $45,440.71 due to the increased refuse removal costs based on the amount of extra scrap material collected. Maciejewski is the Industrial Risk Management Directorate director.
The recycling fund is used for several things, such as: reimbursement of program costs, funding occupational safety and health projects, and purchases such as recycled-plastic picnic tables for use around the installation.
"Most people didn't realize how easy it was to dispose of excess binders and white paper," said Daniel Bryndza, core team member and representative for the administrative area. He noted people simply needed to tag items as "trash" and place them where the cleaning crew could find them.
"This event was a great success," Bryndza said. "It brought a lot of response from depot personnel and taught everyone what to do to sustain the program."
Young pointed out that about 2,000 depot employees have a minimum of eight hours 6S training. He attributes the event's success to the fact that a majority of employees are already familiar with the concept.
"This event provided a chance to use what everyone has learned in training," Young said. "I don't know of any cost center that didn't improve."
Several organizations stepped up to the plate when it came to cleaning outside storage areas.
"Ken Lewis and his employees turned an eyesore [the parking lot for tactical vehicles around Bldg. 14] into a neat and orderly area during the first week of the event," said Donald Carroll, core team member responsible for managing the outdoor clean up around the depot. "They turned in old items and removed and disposed of unneeded clutter." Lewis is branch chief for the Tactical Vehicle Branch, System Integration and Support Directorate.
Workers in the Production Management Directorate's Material Movement Branch did a remarkable job of "cleansing" the U area, Carroll said, adding that John Kelly organized the effort and "did an outstanding job."
"All aged items such as vans, shelters and vehicles were removed from the area and then the remaining items were staged in military dress-right-dress fashion," Carroll said. "Both Ken's and John's efforts became examples for the rest of the depot to follow."
Employees also coordinated disposition of thousands of items through the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office and recycling program.
"It seemed the entire depot really got into the swing of things," Carroll said. "Our 6S team will work on sustainment methods, so the level of organization and cleanliness the depot achieved become the norm."
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 5,300 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 Communications-Electronics 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.