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Date: October 21, 2012

High-ranking officers earn recognition for cost-cutting project

High-ranking officers earn recognition for cost-cutting project
Col. Jeffrey Wilson and Brig. Gen. Jonathan A. Maddux display their Lean Six Sigma black belt certificates

By Barbara Gabbard and Paul Chiodo
Public Affairs Office

PICATINNY ARSENAL, NJ -- The drive to lower government spending has underscored the need for efficient operations, an institutionalized process that Picatinny Arsenal has long embraced.

Lean and Six Sigma are two methods for improving business processes that can help the Army and the federal government meet budget challenges by improving the efficiencies and effectiveness of their operations.

Lean eliminates waste in a process while Six Sigma reduces variation.

Brig. Gen. Jonathan A Maddux, the Program Executive Officer for Ammunition, and Col. Jeffrey Wilson, Project Director for Joint Services, recognize the need to gain efficiencies through examination and analysis of the current Factory to Foxhole (F2F) ammunition logistics process for the PEO Ammunition families of munitions.

Using subject matter experts and actual data from ammunition operations in Afghanistan, the project team gathered "Voice of the Customer" input and used Quality Functional Deployment (QFD) tools to identify the most critical issues in the current F2F Process: operations at Ammunition Supply Points (ASPs) and Ammunition Transfer and Holding Points (ATHPs).

The team then used spaghetti work-flow diagrams, Value Stream Analysis, Failure Mode and Effects Analyses and Root Cause Analysis to document current processes and identify, analyze and assess potential future enablers.

As a result, the project produced a Rapid Improvement Event (RIE) to replace 10K Fork Lifts with 5K Fork Lifts in Modular Ammo Platoons and ATHP Sections to right-size Material Handling Equipment capacity and utilization for tactical ASP and ATHP operations.

This RIE is being implemented by the Army and will deliver an estimated $13.2 million in cost avoidance.

The team also recommended three mid-term solutions for ASP and ATHP operations: Use of consolidators for packaging of mixed and partial ammunition pallets loads; development of tailored Ammunition Compatibility Groups for Tactical Area Operations; and incorporation of "Ammo Book" automated management capabilities.

These initiatives have the potential to reduce process cycle time by more than 50 percent and to deliver an estimated cost avoidance of $7.6 million, assuming one deployed Army Combat Brigade using these process improvements.

At Picatinny, practitioners of Lean/Six Sigma are certified as "green belts," "black belts," and "master black belts."

Since the start of the program in 2000, PEO Ammunition and the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center have trained almost 2,550 employees as green belts and more than 350 employees as black belts with more than half of these individuals having also completed official projects for certification.

The use of LSS in conjunction with related Value Engineering and Effectiveness/Efficiencies activities has accumulated an impressive amount of cost savings and avoidances totaling over $4.5 billion of validated cost savings and avoidances through the fiscal year 2018 POM, since 2008.

Barbara Gabbard is PEO Ammunition LSS Deployment Director and Paul Chiodo is the ARDEC LSS Deployment Director.