By J.D. LeipoldJune 4, 2007
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 4, 2007) - Lean Six Sigma techniques implemented throughout the Army continue to prove successful, and leaders anticipate reaching a $2 billion-savings mark this year.
One of the latest LSS successes took place at West Point, N.Y., home of the U.S. Military Academy. Five officers-in-training who had completed green belt training applied a lean process called value stream analysis to figure out more efficient meal scheduling, which would result in a reduction in the amount of discarded meals in the mess hall.
The cadets were able to predict how many of their brethren dined on certain optional meal days and in the end were able to show how the school could save precious resources by cutting costs and more efficiently allocating resources.
Lt. Col. Donna Korycinski, the cadets' advisor, teacher, mentor and project director, said her students understand the LSS process, were able to pull the techniques together and in the process they're leaving a "long-lasting legacy at West Point."
"All the cadets follow the same LSS framework, the same training taught at other green and black belt courses across the Army," said Ronald E. Rezek, assistant to the deputy undersecretary of the Army for business transformation. "The cadets are comfortable with this important responsibility, and they are happy and enthusiastic."
Inside Army headquarters, value steam analysis led to a large number of recommendations to streamline the communication process across the chain of command through lieutenant generals.
Director of the Army Staff Lt. Gen. James Campbell has been using LSS techniques to improve the way "taskers" are processed in Washington. He commissioned a study, and while he found some efficiencies were already in place, there were many steps that could be eliminated through an automated system. Reducing waste and speeding up the information-management process was made a top priority because in the end, he said, moving information efficiently to and from senior leaders is the key to success for an effective staff.
"Building on early success for in-house improvements pointed us toward several actions now being implemented to improve the quality of Army headquarters staff work," Lt. Gen. Campbell said.
Other LSS successes since it's the program's inception include the "Just Do It" Army recruiting process. Before LSS implementation, 32 steps were required to process recruits. Today, that number is down to 11.
At Fort Bragg, N.C.'s Central Issue Facility, a one-stop equipment and clothing outlet for base Soldiers was able to reduce issue and turn-in times by 50 percent and its inventory by more than 65 percent. Installation officials expect a 20-percent cost savings by October.
Employees at Red River Army Depot, Texas, focused on projects involving the Bradley fighting vehicle to earn almost $600,000 in savings. Fuel-recycling initiatives there also saved more than 37,000 gallons of fuel, with a value of roughly $85,000 in just one year.
For more information on the Army Business Transformation Strategic Framework go to www.army.mil/armybtkc.