McALESTER ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT, Okla. -- Changes made to reduce the time it takes to hire a new employee have nearly cut the period in half, and have produced a net cost savings of $6.1 million dollars in fiscal year 2018, Army officials announced, here, Sept. 6.

With a demand for 200 employees it needed to meet its munitions workload in October 2016, McAlester Army Ammunition Plant assembled a cross-function team that found a way to reduce the took to recruit and put a new employee to work down from 120 to only 65 days.

As a result of the improvements, MCAAP also derived a net cost savings that was realized by subtracting its baseline labor expense of $3.7 million from its increased revenue of $9.8 million.

"We analyzed Civilian Personnel Advisory Center and Resource Management data to try to get an overall picture of what was actually going on and that took a while to dig into," said Kurtis Lund, project facilitator and MCAAP Lean Six Sigma program manager.

The team began the process improvement project by developing a flowchart of the major activities and then added the sub-tasks, before finally looking at how long each major step took to complete.

Major processes covered generating the request for personnel action, the RM information review, CPAC to supervisor preparation for new positions only, CPAC referral to supervisor, supervisor selection, tentative job offer, onboarding and finally in-processing through new employee orientation.

The CPAC referral to supervisor, which included the time the position was open on the USAJobs website took the most time, but Lund said the team was able to reduce it from 38 to 12 days.

"Miscommunication between the CPAC, Resource Management, Ammunition Operations, the Occupational Health Clinic and Security was also an obstacle to overcome, but it was analyzed and fine-tuned to further reduce the original 120-day hiring process," said Lund.

Additional time savings were found when Resource Management began entering all new hires into the automated nature of action, or AutoNOA. By entering information in the database, it could be shared with USA Staffing, which meant multiple job openings for the same position only needed to be entered once.

Lund said Direct Hire Authority was the third major factor that allowed MCAAP to nearly cut the time to hire an employee in half.

"Implementing the Direct Hire Authority has had a tremendous impact on the hiring process by putting resumes into the hands of hiring officials, which reduced the overall time by about 17 days," he said.

After talking with Reynolds Army Health Clinic officials at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, new hires were given top priority for physical examinations at the MCAAP's Occupational Health Clinic, which reduce it from 15 to 3 days.

"They were fantastic," said Lund. "The clinic really helped out a lot to change the process. The administrator had ideas for improvements and and went above and beyond to help us.

Reducing the hiring time has had a positive effect on the production of munitions.

"Ammunition Operations was unable to respond to the constant ebb and flow of personnel requirements when it took 120 days to hire people," said Tommy Buckner, chief of the Industrial Operations Division. "It affected our mission by forcing us to work shorthanded in several buildings to try to keep up. The reduction to 65 days with Direct Hire Authority now affords us the responsiveness we need to accomplish our mission."

Lund said the CPAC goal at the beginning of the project was 70 days, but he was hoping to do even better.

"Now we're down to 65 days and we should be able to remain there as long as this process is followed," he said.

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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.