By Dawn M. Scott, Army Contracting Command, Operations GroupMarch 10, 2014
The Army Contracting Command has established a Continuous Process Improvement team in its Operations Group that will assist with the implementation of initiatives throughout the command.
"The goal of the CPI program is to document, analyze, and improve all of our processes, measure our success along the way and to take the organization to increasingly higher levels of performance. High performing organizations improve employee morale and customer satisfaction," said J.R. Richardson, director, ACC Operations Group. "I have established very effective Lean Six Sigma programs at other organizations, and I can attest to the great things that CPI programs can do for organizations."
Lean Six Sigma is a managerial concept focused on the elimination of sources of waste and activities that do not add value to create maximum productivity in an organization.
The CPI team is led by A.D. Barksdale, CPI deployment director. Barksdale is a Department of Army certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. Barksdale and the CPI team are helping ACC executive directors and commanders prepare strategic plans that will improve areas within their organizations.
"The CPI tool sets, combined with proper formalized training, will help commands achieve their strategic goals and enable auditable, repeatable and agile contracting business processes," Barksdale said.
According to Barksdale, Rebecca Weirick, executive director, ACC-Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is already using the CPI methodology to develop and implement her own strategic plan.
"The ACC headquarters, in conjunction with Aviation and Missile Command CPI teams, is assisting Ms. Weirick in identifying potential Lean Six Sigma green belt and black belt candidates as well as securing spaces in the approved training for those candidates. The teams are also helping her identify potential CPI projects imbedded within her strategic plan," Barksdale said.
In Lean Six Sigma, the belt's - green, black and master black belts - represent the amount of Lean Six Sigma training and experience a candidate has.
Training a LSS belt candidate takes time and commitment, but the benefits greatly outweigh the costs, Richardson said.
"Commanders and center directors should consider employees who are already reviewing contracting packages and work products, conducting and leading peer reviews or writing and implementing policy within your organizations," Richardson said. "These are people who already know and understand existing processes, therefore they will be most effective when you are trying to implement CPI."
Organizational success, Richardson said, is up to its leadership.
"This is their program. The success it will bring to their organizations, and to ACC as a whole, is contingent on leadership. Our role at the headquarters is to assist them in implementing an effective CPI program in their respective organizations," Richardson said.
ACC's CPI team is working with the centers and subordinate commands to identify points of contact to help administer the CPI program at the local level. The team is also trying to provide the necessary resources to train personnel at each location so each organization can become self-sufficient in process improvement, Richardson said.
He said the ACC CPI team will be conducting staff assistance visits during fiscal year 2014 to help executive directors and commanders develop opportunities via project identification and selection workshops. Also during these visits, the team will conduct CPI executive leadership training which outlines the roles and responsibilities of management to encourage and support LSS belt candidates who are executing projects on their behalf.
"Many of the centers and field offices are already doing fantastic work on process improvements, but not necessarily in a standardized, repeatable way," Richardson said. "Our goal is to provide information and assistance to center directors and commanders regarding LSS belt candidates and project selection, training opportunities, process mapping and other Lean Six Sigma tools so that they can implement successful programs at the local level."
This fiscal year the ACC team is developing an "Introduction to Lean" course for incorporation into the Contracting Officer Refresher Course and the Contracting Intern Boot Camp, Richardson said.
"Exposure to CPI principles in the early phase of contracting training will enable the junior workforce to embrace methodologies that will assist them throughout their careers, and in the drive to meet the 2020 strategic goals," Barksdale said.
For more information regarding the CPI program, visit the CPI page on the ACC SharePoint portal: https://acc.aep.army.mil/Contract_Operations/CPI/default.aspx.