McALESTER ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT, Okla. -- The Army ammunition facility here was awarded a 2017 Army Lean Six Sigma Excellence Awards Program Process Improvement Project Team Excellence Award from Under Secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy, during a ceremony in the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon, July 25.

MCAAP was recognized for its 105mm cartridge case labor rate reduction project that it expects to produce approximately $1,878,463 in cost savings benefits over seven years.

"We take pride in being efficient, effective and best value for our customers," said Col. Joseph D. Blanding, commander, McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. "This award is a testament to the ingenuity of our outstanding workforce and it recognizes our ability to deliver lethality to the nation's warfighters."

The Ammunition Operations Directorate was using 12 employees to renovate 648 cases each work shift. When MCAAP officials suspected the time spent removing internal rust from the 105mm artillery case and the cost associated with the work was high, Ammunitions Operations employees Ron Dusenberry and Camellia Washburn sought a solution.

"By analyzing the process and working with the employees doing the work, we found that grinding the cases was too time- and labor-intensive," said Kurtis Lund, project facilitator and MCAAP Lean Six Sigma program manager. "So, we increased the coarseness of the grit on the hones from 180 to 120, which reduced the grinding time from 54 to 26 seconds. It also increased our output by 57 percent."

The change allowed Ammunition Operations to eliminate unnecessary work at three of the seven grinding stations, said Lund.

Through the process efficiencies and combining the workload tasks of the supervisor and the work leader, Ammunition Operations was able to remove four employees from the 105mm renovation and use them on other work.

These changes also reduced the cost per unit from $5.79 to $3.86, said Lund.

MCAAP was one of 13 Army organization to receive a LEAP award. Organizations were recognized for their efforts to use continuous process improvement initiatives at the organization-level and individual project teams are recognized for their contribution and results.

MCAAP is one of 17 installations of the Joint Munitions Command and one of 23 organic industrial base facilities under the U.S. Army Materiel Command.