CRANE, Ind. Aca,!" An organization learns a lot about itself when challenged beyond its comfort level and Crane Army Ammunition Activity is learning that it has what it takes to succeed. As the activity surges into the second fiscal quarter of 2008, the workers have the pride of knowing they succeeded in meeting its first quarter challenges for an increased workload and looks forward to sustaining the effort.

The challenge placed before Crane Army and Letterkenny Munitions Center is to increase its direct labor man-hour execution in fiscal year 2008. It is a challenge embraced by the workforce to ensure continuing success.

The production scorecard for the first quarter 2008 put CAAA ahead of its planned hours worked and revenues generated. The revenue was more than nine percent ahead of the plan by the end of the first quarter and the direct labor hours were more than 27,000 hours ahead of the plan.

Reflecting on the activityAca,!a,,cs accomplishments, CAAA Commander Col. Charles Kibben said, Aca,!A"I am extremely impressed so far and challenge every Crane employee to continue on this path of excellence for the remainder of the year. They can be justifiably proud of their achievements over the past quarter.Aca,!A?

According to CAAA Resource Management Director Joe Mikac, the efforts for success began early, when supervisors from Depot Operations, Mechanical and Engineering, Resource Management and Navy liaisons coordinated to ensure that the right amount of people and material would be on hand to meet the surging demand.

The increased workload required Crane and Letterkenny to review what carryover projects each would have on their books for FY08, and prepare for additional work. It would call for increased labor hours, equipment and coordinated planning in order to see all the projects completed on time in order to begin the next workload.

Aca,!A"We recognized early on there would be substantial growth. This kicked into motion a detailed planning effort to identify the workload and what would be needed to fulfill those orders. This included identifying the need for additional vehicles, additional forklifts, additional heavy vehicles, going to second shifts, shifting production schedules and working with our partners at Crane Navy Facilities Public Works to increase their level of support in the area of transportation,Aca,!A? Mikac said.

In order to meet the demand of the increased workload additional vehicles of various types, such as standard and crew cab pickups both 4x2 and 4x4, compact pickups and sedans, were required. Also, planners recognized a need for 10 additional forklifts, diesel and electric, ranging from 6,000 to 10,000 pound maximum loads. According to CAAA Equipment Specialist Donna Cox, the additional vehicles have required close working support from Navy Facilities Public Works to ensure they are put in service as soon after arrival as possible.

Since autumn, CAAA has hired more than 70 new employees to fill the direct labor hours, introduced a judicious use of overtime and instituted a grass roots program.

According to CAAA Management Analyst Betty Antal, 12 GS workers volunteered to assist the WG workforce. Before assisting, the volunteers had to first complete training, pass a physical, and pass a drug test, which are the same requirements for all explosives handlers.

The success has required a concerted effort by all employees to not only complete a greater workload, but to do so in a safe manner. The CAAA Safety Office has worked tirelessly to ensure all the employees are properly aware of safety hazards and the work is performed within safety guidelines.

The dedication to the ramp up in work is evident at Letterkenny, as well as Crane. LEMC Chief of Support Division Acting Director Vince Myers said, Aca,!A"The LEMC workforce is willing to do what it overtime, volunteering to work in other work areas where they may be needed more than their position of record, and they are volunteering to carryover their use-or-lose annual leave.Aca,!A?

As CAAA and LEMC enter the second quarter, the ability to adjust the original plans remains vital to keeping ahead of schedule. Real time data is utilized to make adjustments in work schedules and shifts in order to remain on track. Weather is also accounted for so that it will not derail the process.

Aca,!A"When we consider what we can reasonably achieve in a month, we do try to plan for things such as inclement weather,Aca,!A? Mikac said. Aca,!A"We push to be ahead of the plan by three or four days, so that if we do have foul weather we have a cushion to fall back on and stay on schedule.Aca,!A?

Through tireless efforts of planning and execution by all of the CAAA, LEMC and their Navy Liaisons, the outlook for the rest of FY08 looks strong and ahead of schedule.

CAAA was established in Oct. 1977 and is a tenant of the Navy Region Midwest, Naval Support Activity Crane. The Army activity maintains ordnance professionals and infrastructure to receive, store, ship, produce, renovate and demilitarize conventional ammunition, missiles and related components.