By Mrs. Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)May 19, 2016
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Lavon Stephens credits every individual who has touched the vehicles with helping to ensure 22 tanks destined for Morocco were ready in time.
"I knew we could do it because I've seen it done 100 times," said Stephens chief of the depot's Tracked Systems Division. "But, it took a lot of people to get this done."
The goal was to have 22 M1 tanks fielded to Morocco in under a year.
While the vehicles have yet to leave the installation, the first hurdle on the way to that goal is done, and completed in less than nine months.
"To go from case implementation to having those vehicles in-country in 365 days is no small task," said Jonathan Hathaway, a depot maintenance management specialist. "This has been a huge undertaking for the depot."
Accomplishing that mission began with knowing the vehicles.
Before the scope of work was complete, the first tanks were already in disassembly, since the depot workforce knew the M1s well and knew what level of disassembly needed.
Then, with the scope of work completed and production in full swing, when the movement of parts became a concern, they formed a team to ensure things moved smoothly.
"We had daily meetings," said Mike Rogers, the supervisor for M1 Assembly. "Our biggest problem was getting the parts to the floor because we accelerated the schedule. We met daily with the Directorate of Material Management to ensure parts were moved in a timely manner."
John Cooley, chief of the Vehicle Material Requirements Planning Branch, often led the meetings, which were held on the shop floors.
"We met wherever the issues were," said Cooley. "We wanted to identify where the issues were and assign actions with accountability to get them corrected."
Employees also volunteered to work overtime and fill personnel gaps in different shops.
The turret shop needed a night shift for the test stand and turret mating.
Final repair needed a few people to assist with the Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center inspections as vehicles were completed.
Everyone, from quality inspectors to material expediters and mechanics worked late nights and even weekends.
"Some of the employees in final repair worked a month without a day off to get this program done," said Steven Howard, a heavy mobile equipment inspector.
"That confirms the level of commitment from Anniston to meet our requirement," said Hathaway.
"This program, having such high importance to future workload and being accelerated, caused our most valuable resource, the employees, to dig a little deeper and work together harder toward a common goal," said Cooley.
The process worked so well, according to Stephens, the depot completed 12 tanks, in three and a half weeks.
Despite the push to get things done quickly, quality was at the forefront.
Mike Coleman, the team lead for the heavy mobile equipment inspectors, and Hathaway said reports from ARDEC praised the work performed here.
"The level of quality implemented in this program speaks volumes," said Hathaway.