WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 4, 2014) -- Eleven Army organizations that streamlined their business operations, eliminated redundancy and saved billions of dollars were recognized Wednesday for their excellent Lean Six Sigma practices.

Under Secretary of the Army Brad R. Carson hosted the Pentagon ceremony paying tribute to the winners of the 2013 Army Lean Six Sigma Excellence Awards Program, known as LEAP. Carson highlighted each organization's achievements, then he presented plaques to the winners along with Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Spoehr, director of the Army Office of Business Transformation.

Now in its sixth year, the LEAP Awards program recognizes outstanding project teams and organizations who have demonstrated excellence in implementing results-driven process improvement projects using the Lean Six Sigma, or LSS, concept to adopt new ways of doing business, while streamlining processes and reducing costs.

"For eight years, the Army's Lean Six Sigma program has trained professionals who have sought out and removed inefficiencies, reduced variance and increased the overall quality of service and materiel for our Soldiers and for our nation," said Carson. "The Army has trained more than 11,000 Lean Six Sigma practitioners and embedded them across the entire force.

"These specialized individuals execute over 2,000 different projects each year, and in fiscal year 2013, our Lean Six Sigma practitioners -- some of whom we will recognize today -- generated a cost-savings of more than $1 billion, and they avoided costs for the Army of more than $5 billion," he added.

The LSS awardees were selected by a board made up of 12 Army LSS master black belts chosen from across the Army to judge improvements made in personnel management, sustainment operations, theater logistical equipping as well as test and evaluation functions.

"Their accomplishments are indeed impressive," Carson said. "I congratulate today's award recipients on their achievements… achievements which have unquestionably improved support for our Soldiers, civilians and their families."

Winners in the organizational category include:

• Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower & Reserve Affairs) /G-1 for implementing a Continuous Process Improvement program that leveraged embedded LSS master black belt resources in the organization and a structured project selection process to scope, prioritize, and assign projects. ASA (M&RA)/G1 completed 24 LSS projects that resulted in financial benefits of $42.4 million or about 3.3 percent of the total command budget.

• Army Materiel Command completed 717 projects during the competition year and realized $87.7 million in financial benefits, approximately 4.6 percent of the command budget.

• Joint Munitions Command, Army Materiel Command completed LSS projects providing $40.8 million in total financial benefits or 5.5 percent of the organization's total budget.

Winners in the project team category include:

• ASA (M&RA) and Headquarters Department of the Army/ G-1 for reduced its process lead time reductions by 30 percent in electronic Physical Evaluation Board processing. This project resulted in a fiscal year 2013-2020 financial benefit totaling $28.2 million.

• Program Executive Office, Combat and Combat Service Support for increasing Soldier-maintainer effectiveness and efficiency while simultaneously reducing the total logistics footprint and life-cycle costs for the Joint Combat Support Systems Multi-Generation Project. The project's net financial benefits include $253 million cost-avoidance and $139 million in cost-savings

• Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pennsylvania, Army Communications-Electronics Command, Life Cycle Management Command, Army Materiel Command. The materiel induction process lead time of three-day customer expectation was not being routinely met. As a result of the implemented improvements, the average PLT was reduced from 2.7 days to 0.84 days. The elimination of the steps resulted in a monthly savings of 229 man-hours. The cost avoidance was calculated for the period ranging from a portion of fiscal year 2013 through fiscal year 2015 and totaled $457,634.

• Irwin Army Community Hospital, Fort Riley, Kansas, Medical Command, improved the Integrated Disability Evaluation System which determines if a Soldier is fit for duty. If unfit, the system determines a Veterans Affairs disability rating. The effort reduced the time to process, increased predictability for Soldiers and improved medical readiness. The estimated financial benefits for the project total $226,966,605 through fiscal year 2017.

• The U.S. Army Europe commanding general directed subordinate commands ensure all Soldiers participating in field duty reimburse the government for meals provided. The 21st Theater Sustainment Command project developed a mechanism to improve the bachelor subsistence allowance process. After identifying the root causes, the 266th Financial Management Support Center implemented a process in which meal issuing activities submitted reports of meals issued. The project will yield an estimated $2.7 million in cost-savings to the Army through fiscal year 2018.

• The Aberdeen Test Center, Maryland, Aberdeen Test and Evaluation Command project examined a specific group of Aberdeen Test Center test support personnel, the Heavy Mobile Equipment Operators, in an effort to identify more efficient use of those personnel and at a decreased cost to the organization. The project's financial benefits are characterized as cost-avoidance and were validated at $10.8 million over fiscal year 2012 - fiscal year 2018.

• 21st Theater Sustainment Command, USAREUR. More than 300 Soldiers separate monthly from active duty in Germany, many with debts at the time of separation. In a number of cases, final payments were not made within the standard of three days of date of separation. The project improved the timeliness rate of final payment to 80 percent.

• ASA (M&RA) and HQDA G-1. This project reduced the process lead time by providing the Army chief of staff and secretary of the Army letters of condolence to grieving family members in 32 days instead of 53 days, a 60-percent improvement.