Lean Six Sigma project reduces excess ammunition shipments

By Ms. Linda K Loebach (AMC)November 1, 2012

Lean Six Sigma project reduces excess ammunition shipments
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.--Excessive shipments of training ammunition between 78 Ammunition Supply Points across the U.S. spurred Ryan Senkbile, a logistics management specialist at the Joint Munitions Command headquarters, Rock Island Arsenal, to find a solution to the problem. Senkbile tackled the issue via a green belt Lean Six Sigma project.

The goal of the project was to reduce the number of shipments by reducing the quantity of excess ammunition at the ASPs.

JMC ships millions of rounds of training ammo every year to ASPs, which in turn supply the ammo for military training at bases in their regions. Any excess ammo is stored at, or is shipped between ASPs depending on current need.

Senkbile's team included several JMC subject matter experts. Also, Senkbile included employees from Fort Benning and Fort Riley, who looked at the issue from the other side of the fence to add another perspective in the pursuit of a solution.

"Inclusion of team members at the ASP and installation level was paramount since the workload that is generated is executed at their level. It also helped to get their perspective on the cause of the excess and their input helped in determining a final solution," said Senkbile.

Senkbile and his teammates looked at shipment data for the past five years, by type of ammunition, by month and by location. They used the National Level Ammunition Capability resupply tool, used world-wide. The team added programming specific to their unique use which analyzes the forecasted amount of ammunition needed against the amount expended.

In other words, the NLAC looks at the amount of ammunition the ASPs are asking for depending on what trainers in their regions request, and the amount that has been left over from previous requests and is in storage.

"We initially expected a lot of pushback from the ASPs, but we found their thoughts were 'the less extra ammo we have to store and manage, the better off we are,'" said Senkbile.

"And, if an ASP has an unexpected need for ammo, we can fill their request within a week," he added.

The outcome of the project will result in a reduction of the quantity of excess ammunition stored at ASPs, while still providing them with an adequate supply of training ammo. It will then reduce the number and size of shipments of ammo to and between ASPs.

"We hope to see the impact of the project within the next six months," said Senkbile.

The result of Senkbile's green belt project is expected to save JMC hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

From its headquarters at the Rock Island Arsenal, JMC operates a nationwide network of conventional ammunition manufacturing plants and storage depots, and provides on-site ammunition experts to U.S. combat units wherever they are stationed or deployed. JMC's customers are U.S. forces of all military services, other U.S. government agencies and allied nations.