By Mrs. Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)November 14, 2019
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- "I'm learning there is a lot more to Lean than I thought," said Lynn Barclay, a heavy mobile equipment repairer at Anniston Army Depot.
Barclay and 18 other students from various directorates and organizations throughout ANAD were part of the first Lean Facilitator Certification Training class, also known as Yellow Belt, at ANAD since 2013.
This certification will allow the students to facilitate lean events for their respective organizations.
Most of the students knew the basics of Lean - they knew it concerned process optimization and the goal was to make work more efficient and less wasteful.
Through the Lean Six Sigma projects they facilitated during their training, they can now see the potential impact more efficient processes can have.
"We found in this shop we were able to save one hour per person, per day," said Amanda Ford.
Ford, who works for the Directorate of Production Engineering, added the time savings could potentially save ANAD $3.3 million in three years.
The class held two Rapid Improvement Events in one of ANAD's component shops - primarily focusing on the flow of products into and out of the shop and looking at the areas where that flow slows or stops.
For Josh Holcomb, a supervisor in Small Arms, it was astonishing to see the amount of lost time which could occur in a shop as the result of waiting for parts or movement of products.
The team received input, each step of the way, from employees in the shop. They quickly learned how important that input was.
"Lean can be successful, but it really is a culture change," said Ford. "Everyone has to buy into it, even upper management."
The team saw a large boost in morale throughout the shop after holding a 6S project - cleaning, straightening and organizing the work areas.
Clearing out unused and unneeded furniture and other items enabled the employees to see across the shop and gain a better understanding of what was there and what needed to be moved or worked on.
"It helped us identify other areas that needed attention," said Barclay. "There's always room for improvement, regardless of where we are at."
"There is always a better process," agreed Holcomb.
There are two Lean Facilitator Certification Training classes scheduled for 2020.
"After certificate of coursework completion, the students are Yellow Belt Candidates until they complete facilitation of one of the event types they learned about during this course," said Aaron Parris, a process improvement specialist for ANAD and the class instructor.