CRANE, Ind. -- Crane Army Ammunition Activity recently completed a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt project designed to improve the respirator management program as the program transitioned from the Navy to Crane Army.

According to the project's team lead, Crane Army's Civilian Executive Assistant Norman Thomas, the goal of the project was to optimize the respirator program so that it is documented, controlled, and organized by developing a tracking tool, creating an SOP, minimizing the number of personnel in the program, and changing the procedure for scheduling fit testing appointments.

The completion of this project resulted in a three year cost avoidance of $110,756, which was attributed to the reduction of personnel in the program and the increased efficiency in the fit test scheduling procedure. According to Thomas, "Overall, the project was extremely successful and met/exceeded its goals."

Crane Army, which is located on Naval Support Activity Crane, previously relied on the Navy to maintain its respirator certification program. When that service was no longer offered by the Navy, Crane Army began to look at the overall respirator management program.

Thomas said, "One key to creating a more efficient program was to identify the number of personnel needed in the respirator program and enforce proper utilization of those trained personnel. The program was transitioned to CAAA from the Navy with 624 employees certified to wear respirators. After assessing CAAA's requirements for respirator certified employees, this number was reduced to less than 200. The reduction of the number of employees in the program resulted in a reduction of respirators and a reduction of man hours lost for training."

Another area where Crane Army was able to ensure greater efficiency in its program was to go from a walk-in service offered once a week as the Navy previously offered to scheduled appointments that offered greater flexibility and accountability of the people being certified.

Established Oct. 1977, CAAA maintains ordnance professionals and infrastructure in order to receive, store, ship, produce, renovate and demilitarize conventional ammunition, missiles and related components.