By Mr. Johnathon Orrell (SDDC)June 29, 2018
Imagine saving your command over $140,000 by reducing manpower resources. Now, imagine doing it as a side project in addition to your regular job. That is what Aimee Riester, a traffic management specialist with the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC), did to earn her Green Belt certification on June 27.
Green Belt certification is awarded following completion of two week-long Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Green Belt training courses and successful completion of a process improvement project using LSS methodology. Riester's project was titled "Improve Stevedoring & Related Terminal Services (S&RTS) Service Contract Request (SCR) Process at Headquarters SDDC."
"I had to create a basic design of process improvement following the five LSS steps called DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control)," she said.
"At the end of my project, I was able to show an overall improvement of 37 percent reduction in processing time for SCR packages and a 26 percent reduction in rework actions for the document required of an SCR package," she added.
Riester began her project while she was working for the Internal Movements Division within SDDC's Operations Directorate (G3), and continued it after she moved to her current job in the Seaport Contract Management Branch. She said she was able to continue work on the project due to the support of her previous and new supervisors.
"Aimee was helping me improve my program and I would have been a fool to turn her away," said Brandon Snyder, chief of the Seaport Contract Management Branch and Riester's current supervisor.
"Keeping that momentum after she became my full-time resource was a no-brainer," he added.
Riester has an educational background and experience in process improvement and project management -- and with this background she was looking for an opportunity to improve the command.
"There wasn't one specific thing that captured my attention when I was seeking a project for my Green Belt," she said. "It was simply the opportunity to improve something, anything, to make our jobs easier and better - which affects our entire business as well as the morale of the team members working within the process for this project."
"If given the opportunity, I would consider every project or process requiring improvement that passes my way just as important as this one," she added.
This was something Snyder noticed in Riester when he brought her on board; her sincere desire to make things better for everyone.
"Aimee has an inherent drive to learn new things and make things better," he said. "That, coupled with her energy and passion towards being a good teammate, created an ideal situation."
Tye Beasley, her former supervisor and chief of the International Movements Division, says he encourages all of his employees to think and act on making SDDC a better place to work. It was with this in mind he knew Riester would be a natural fit to participate in this program.
"Aimee is one of our rising stars," he said. "Every day I realized how much potential she had and how much more she could offer if given the opportunity."
"Leading the way on this project has enabled her to take a major step ahead in her civilian career," he added.
As a military spouse, Riester finds herself competing for a new job every time her family gets orders to relocate to another base, and she says this can be difficult.
"I believe every person has their strengths and one of mine is the ability to look outside the box and seek new ways to do our day-to-day activities better and more efficiently," she said.
"Having this Green Belt certification will open future doors for me and helps boost my resume," she added.
She also says that this program is not just about improving processes, but networking with other professionals who are passionate about improvements.
"Having this Green Belt will help foster relationships with other Green Belts and Lean Six Sigma-thinking minds and hopefully we can come together and really make a difference, no matter what our career field is," Riester said.
As far as being recognized for her success in this certification, she said it is about the "team" effort.
"Being recognized for this achievement alongside those team members that had a direct impact to me obtaining this certification meant a great deal to me," Riester said.
"People work hard every day alongside us and I truly believe it's never a one-man job that helps us reach our goals; there are always people in the background helping along the way," she added.
In the end, Riester feels the Green Belt certification program is important to improving command processes and that people should always be looking for ways to make their jobs better and the command better as a whole.
"Anyone can seek out a project to work for a Green Belt certification, but if getting a certification isn't your goal, then just take a look around and think 'how can I do this better?'" she said.