By Lindsay Bryant, AMCApril 5, 2013
LETTERKENNY ARMY DEPOT, Chambersburg, Pa.-- After a long journey of continuous improvement efforts the Force Provider Program has been recognized for its application of Lean principles and excellence in manufacturing. Letterkenny Army Depot has been recommended by the Shingo board of examiners to receive the Shingo Bronze Medallion for the Force Provider Program.
Deputy to the Commander, Anita Raines congratulated the employees representing the Force Provider Shingo team.
"I can't thank everyone enough for how well you represented Letterkenny," she said. "Most importantly, I appreciate how you have demonstrated your team values continuous improvement principles."
Force Provider is a combat multiplier used as a forward deployed system that increases combat capabilities by providing superior living conditions for deployed Soldiers. A Force Provider module is capable of supporting 550 Soldiers and 50 operators. A single module is typically established on 10 acres of land and takes five to six days to setup and make fully operational.
Key features that make recent revisions of modules expeditionary include that each module can be divided into four equal sub-modules. These sub-modules enable the commander to deploy 150 personnel to four separate locations without sacrificing capabilities, enabling greater flexibility in deciding where to base combat power.
Providing all the hygiene, billeting, laundry, and field feeding facilities for up to 600 personnel, Force Provider serves as a boost for Soldiers' morale. They have affectionately become the Army's home away from home.
Force Provider employee, Ronald Elliott said, "A general once reminded us that the Force Provider system could be the last home that a Warfighter may have. That thought has driven our people to do nothing but the best and the Shingo model has guided us to achieve excellence."
Letterkenny began its Force Provider mission for Army Natick Soldier Systems Center, Natick, Mass., to repair the equipment and bring it back to its original state. Success with the reset program opened an opportunity to begin a new build program, creating modules entirely from conception to completion. Both programs are still active at the depot.
The audit to examine the depot's Force Provider Shingo submission was conducted Feb 19-20. Four senior level managers from various organizations, such as The Boeing Company, comprised the audit team that evaluated the depot on criteria such as proving a Lean business systems model with an emphasis on customer satisfaction and profitability; quality, cost and delivery; Lean core operations as well as leadership and empowerment enablers.
Koonie Kiser, Industrial Engineer Technician, Office of Continuous Improvement said, "There is a renewed sense of purpose with Letterkenny Army Depot's Six Sigma program. Our Force Provider Shingo venture will provide guidance for others to follow and strengthen the depot's continued journey through Lean."
The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence was established in 1988 to educate, assess and recognize world-class organizations for creating a culture of continuous improvement through employee-empowerment and effective leadership.
The depot held a ceremony in the maintenance facility to congratulate the Force Provider team on receiving its ninth Shingo medallion on April 4.
U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, congratulated the workforce and said that earning the ninth Shingo is absolutely fantastic.
"These Force Provider modules improve the life for the men and women who are out there in harm's way," Shuster said. "What you do helps keep morale at the highest, highest level, which is extremely important."
Depot commander Colonel Victor S. Hagan Sr. was able to give the audience a glimpse at the savings this effort produced as he celebrated his first Shingo award ceremony in command.
"An overflow of ideas and suggestions influenced by Lean principles resulted in savings, to include a cost avoidance of over $17 thousand in the production layout and process for generators," he said. "Modifications to the pack-out process saved 414 man hours per module, totaling over $862 thousand across 27 modules."
Hagan also acknowledged the importance of depot savings during these times of budgetary uncertainty.
"As military spending continues to reduce and as our mission to support the Soldier continues to hold strong, it is imperative that we continuously beg the question, 'How can we do it better? How can we do it faster? And how can we do it for less?'" he said.
Letterkenny's Shingo Medallions include: the Silver Shingo for the Patriot Launcher (2005), Silver Shingo for the High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) Recap (2006), Bronze Shingo for Power Generation and Silver Shingo for HMMWV (2007), Bronze Shingo for Biological Integrated Detection Systems and for Patriot Recertification (2008), Bronze Shingo for the Patriot Value Stream (2010) and the Bronze Shingo for Aviation Ground Power Unit (2011).
Letterkenny's ability to accept, adapt and complete a mission on time and below cost is a reflection of its implementation of Lean practices and a dedicated workforce. The Force Provider team is proud of their role within the Department of the Army and shows that by producing nothing but the best for the most valued and respected customer, the Soldier.