By Mr. Anthony Ricchiazzi (CECOM)August 22, 2014
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- Two major missions here are now part of a new centralized shelter overhaul process that has been proven to reduce cost, increase quality, and save time and money for customers.
The missions are part of a new process improvement called Mixed Model Moving Line, or M3L.
The AN/TRC-190 High Capacity Line of Sight Radio Terminal and the AN/TSQ-252 Air Defense and Airspace Management shelters are being overhauled in a central location, the Tactical End Item Repair Facility. The TSQ-252 is the second system to be added in an effort to standardize the shelterized systems overhaul process by establishing a multi-shelter product line.
"By spreading work content equally across a series of locations, we established a Pull System, very much like a production line, which improves productivity dramatically; it makes any problem that comes up highly visible and thus easier to identify and correct," said Brian Regan, chief of the Process Improvement Division, Productivity Improvement and Innovation Directorate.
Shelters are lined up in the TEIRF and when a particular repair or test is completed, they are moved to the next work area.
This has resulted in a 16 percent reduction in the Repair Cycle Time for the TRC-190 (94 days to 79 days) and a 15 percent RCT reduction for the TSQ-252 (112 days to 95 days). Labor hours have been reduced by 29 percent for the TRC-190 and by 46 percent for the TSQ-252.
"We've noted a $734,663 savings for the TRC-190 since it became part of this process improvement in fiscal year 2013," said Patrick Connolly, co-chief of the Wideband Components Branch, Communication Systems Directorate.
Tony Brandi, chief of the Battlespace Management and Test Systems Branch, said more than $2 million has been saved since the TSQ-252 was added to the new process in fiscal 2014. The branch is part of the Command, Control and Computer Systems/Avionics Directorate.
Establishing M3L has resulted in other benefits, including kitting, removing non-value added activity and establishing standard tool boxes. Also, parts are automatically sent to Production Management handlers, who organize and deliver them to the M3L so technicians can concentrate on repairs.
"The keys to the success of this line have primarily been leadership commitment, from directors to first liners, and employee willingness to try something new. Without that support, none of this is possible," Regan said.
The new process includes quality checks carried out by technicians via a standardized checklists and 'buddy checks'.
"We can check our work prior to inspection, which has cut down on errors," Brandi said.
"Another key to making the M3L process a success is the involvement of the employees in making their daily tasks 'SMART', Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely," Connolly said. "The employees' more comprehensive approach to the daily process has given them ownership of the product and service they produce. The result is a quicker turn-around time and a work force proud of the quality of work produced for the warfighter."
The M3L process was established as a result of the original Shelterized Enterprise Value Stream Analysis. The goal was to transform the Tactical End Item Repair Facility into the central hub of shelter repair while establishing a multi-shelter product line. Other systems will be added to M3L as the process matures.
"This line represents a new and improved way of doing business. It makes us all more competitive as we go forward," Brandi said.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna's Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C4ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.
Tobyhanna's unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, technology insertion, modification, and global field support to warfighters.
About 3,300 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 Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., 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.