Two Tooele Army Depot civilian employees received honors from Col. Anne L. Davis, depot commander, during a special Lean Six Sigma black belt certification ceremony held in the TEAD Command Program Office May 1.

Earning the honors were; Gary Hoy and Ron Snyder, both Lean Six Sigma process improvement analysts.

Snyder's project was the 105 mm Pilot Run Program, one of the largest conventional ammunition maintenance programs the depot has had in recent history with approximately 150,000 rounds scheduled for replacement propellant and primers, perform minor maintenance tasks and change out cartridge casings through fiscal year 2009.

Snyder's goals were to increase productivity, reduce process cycle time and develop new measurement metrics. The results of his Pilot Run Program showed production capability increases in hours of 20 percent, production increases of 30 percent, reduced break time by 30 percent and track time reductions from 0.57 to 0.45 seconds. The depot also utilized various Process Control Charts to track production and instituted an overall equipment effectiveness measurement metric to track availability of equipment, operating time and quality.

Implementing Snyder's pilot run processes showed an estimated savings of $103,046.

"I believe the reason the Army needs LSS and why it is so important is best summed up by a quote I saw on a Toyota production system brief, "Today's perfection is tomorrow's mediocrity." Everything can be improved upon. We owe it to the taxpayers and our warfighters to do everything in our power to increase productivity, reduce costs and increase quality and stretch that funding dollar while driving out mediocrity," stated Snyder.

Hoy's project was to improve the TEAD box and crate production process through the use of value stream mapping, takt time and modular layout and design of equipment. His program reduced process cycle times by 60 percent, increased gate production by 63 percent each shift, reduced risk of injury by removing two manual lifts.

The project also introduced mistake proofing to the operation to ensure the product would meet shipping crew needs when received. The result is an annual savings of $27,178 for the depot.

"I would like to thank the TEAD drectors of ammunition logistics and engineering; base operations; my team members and sponsor, Jerry Romano, for their support. I am looking forward to assisting the workforce in the LSS Processes and I believe the outcome will have an impact on the future of our mission," said Hoy.

"Lean Six Sigma will aid our depot in moving ahead by giving us the ability to generate process improvements in the most measurable and consistent way," said Davis. "These two individuals are the key in making Lean Six Sigma processes a success, not only for our installation but for the entire Department of Army. I'm glad to see them receive the recognition they deserve."

Tooele currently has one LSS master black belt candidate; three Army certified black belts and 100 trained green belts.

The Army has instituted the use of LSS as a process improvement methodology to support business transformation that addresses all types of process problems that balances speed and quality to help an organization focus on improving service quality, as defined by the customer within a set time limit.

The belt black curriculum includes all the key tools and skills needed to execute large-scale, complex projects within the Army. Personnel are taught process and statistical tools to solve problems utilizing the Lean Six Sigma methodology. The course incorporates simulations, examples, team exercises, and case studies. To ensure competency and understanding, participants are expected to demonstrate abilities through in-class evaluations, exercises, and exams. Simultaneous with the course, the black belt candidates will execute a Lean Six Sigma project.

Tooele's existing mission is one of readiness. Through the specialized resources and expertise in munitions power projection and the engineering and deployment of support systems, Tooele meets difficult and pressing challenges around the globe - anytime, anywhere. Continuous improvement culture results in increased efficiency and reduced cycle times. This, in combination with the dedication and versatility of the workforce, positions the depot for new challenges and an expanded mission.