A Continuous Process Improvement class called Lean Leader is now available to Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) personnel. The Army Medical Command developed the program in 2017 and currently runs the classes at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Joint Base San Antonio, and Tripler Army Medical Center one to two times per quarter.

The course teaches students the eight-step problem solving process while utilizing Lean tools and principles designed to help them and their units make improvements in their work centers. The five-day Lean Leader course is open to military of any rank and GS-6 through GS-15 civil service employees. Although it is a MEDCOM program, SDDC members may attend the training.

Rick Rodriguez, command master black belt, runs the process improvement program for SDDC.
"Army MEDCOM leads the class, and I come in and teach a couple modules," said Rodriguez. "It's my way of helping them out a little bit, and they keep a couple seats open for SDDC personnel."
According to the Lean Leader student guide, the Lean Leader course is geared toward providing students with process improvement skills along with tool usage to reduce waste and boost efficiency within their organizations in a shorter period of time than required to earn Lean Six Sigma Green or Black Belt certification. The course serves as another outlet to gain CPI training that does not require an extensive long-term project.

"The idea is to reduce the waste, time and the rework by looking at operational processes and, either by making on-the-spot changes to processes or by breaking down a process, looking at potential root causes, making an adjustment if required, and re-running the process to ensure it has made and will sustain the improvement," said Rodriguez.

Students must complete two components in order to earn the certification. They also must pass the course and complete their Lean Leader project within the estimated timeframe.

Students are asked to identify a process improvement project they wish to work on before scheduling their class date. Lean projects can come from performance observations, reformed initiatives, lessons learned, critical events, Army after action reports, monitoring of metrics and command-directed tasks.

Rodriguez works with SDDC personnel to develop their projects before they attend class and guides them through the project execution and certification process after the class.

"We schedule to meet every other week to discuss what's going on and any issues they are having," said Rodriguez. "That's how I keep them moving forward."

The travel costs associated with the course are funded by the Headquarters SDDC Continuous Process Improvement office.

"I try to get them to the closest location and then the CPI line of accounting is used to fund the TDY after they complete the SF182 and have a project on file to take with them," added Rodriguez.
To date, four SDDC employees have completed the Lean Leader course, and the command plans to send more in the coming months.

If you think this course might benefit you or your office, check out the Army CPI website at https://www.milsuite.mil/book/community/spaces/orion/obt/armycpi for more information. If you are interested in signing up for this class or any other CPI courses, contact Rick Rodriguez in the SDDC Continuous Process Improvement office at 618-220-5297 or richard.l.rodriguez.civ@mail.mil.