ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Following a year when its continuous process improvement goal wasn't met, Anniston Army Depot's Directorate of Production Engineering is reinvigorating the Lean program, beginning with training.

All supervisors and employees are required to take Lean training.

For supervisors, the course is ANAD DPE Lean Supervisor Training in the Total Employee Development system. The course focuses on Lean Six Sigma principles.

The general workforce training, listed as ANAD DPE Lean General Workforce Training in TED, is an introductory course to give the workforce a basic knowledge of the Lean tools and principles. It also acknowledges ANAD's history with Lean.

When the Lean program was introduced in 2002, it was enthusiastically embraced. Improvement programs could be found throughout the installation.

Some of them worked well and the processes and tools they put in place are still in use today.

Others reverted back to their original state shortly after the Lean event.

"Historically we made some decisions based on misinformation," said Aaron Parris, a depot process improvement specialist. "In our defense, Lean is a list of tools and the decisions were made by a team selected by the sponsors of the events."

DPE's Enterprise Excellence Division hopes the training will enhance the depot's continuous process improvement culture and help the installation reach its $31.7 million CPI goal for fiscal year 2018.

So far, it's working. More than 121 supervisors have taken the mandatory training and 322 employees have taken the general workforce training.

Each session has inspired employees to look at their work areas with fresh eyes - examining how they perform tasks and where things can be simplified or rearranged to take less time, use less resources or be safer.

As Vic Sanders, one of the trainers for the courses, reminds students, repeatedly, during the class, "Lean is identifying and eliminating waste."

To help employees remember what to look for in a Lean event for elimination, an acronym is presented to each class - DOWNTIME.
• Defects
• Overproduction
• Waiting
• Not utilizing employees/Injuries
• Transportation
• Inventory
• Motion
• Excess Processing

The desired impact of using the acronym is the elimination of downtime and the things which cause employees or customers to wait or add steps to a process.

Lean isn't a concept which only works in production areas.

Take the words you're reading now. Production of this newspaper has been Leaned over time.

The result was a reduction in printed copies whereas TRACKS is distributed electronically, saving time and resources.

DPE hopes all employees throughout the shops and office areas of the installation will see changes possible in their work areas.

"As an employee, you are the eyes and ears in the shop. You are the ones who live with the problems we have, here at ANAD, every day," said Sanders.

"The idea of Lean is to empower you, the subject matter expert," said Parris. "We want to give you a voice, the tools to make change and the forum to communicate the needs up the chain of command."

Employees who have questions about training or who have a suggestion for a Lean event, can contact the Enterprise Excellence Division at Ext. 4750.