Proving its penchant for improving efficiency, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command won two Lean Six Sigma excellence awards as announced Aug. 15 by the U.S. Army’s Office of Business Transformation.
The TSC won the Organizational Deployment award for organizations subordinate to commands — typically division and corps level organizations — and a project award for its Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment project.
These two LEAP awards, as they are commonly known, mark six years of recognized excellence in 21st TSC’s process improvement efforts. It is now the sixth year in a row the command has won a project award, and five of the past six years, the command has won the Organizational Deployment category.
The Organizational Deployment category assesses a unit’s overall implementation of Lean Six Sigma, and other continuous process improvement efforts, taking into account such factors as the programs overall operational as well as financial impact, its ability to measure the impacts of its efforts, and the potential of the program’s efforts for replication in other organizations.
The award takes into account how the command runs its process improvement program, how much training it offers, and how many projects the command completes. According to 21st TSC Operations Research Analyst and Master Black Belt, Jeffrey Gilbert, two of the command’s strengths are its ability to incorporate non-Lean Six Sigma process improvement techniques, and also its implementation of an extensive project tracking program.
“We’ve changed a lot over time, and one of the recent changes is that we look for broader innovation than just Lean Six Sigma,” Gilbert said. “We also have a very formal and detailed process for tracking projects across the command and making sure those projects are on track and meeting commander’s intent.”
The project award is given for an individual black belt project and takes into account factors such as operational and financial impact, as well as the project’s suitability for replication in other organizations.
The project that won the TSC the award this year was an improvement in the inventory management of U.S. Army Europe’s OCIE program. Under this program Soldiers receive and turn in individual equipment and clothing. This effort requires a significant inventory to ensure Soldiers have the equipment they need, when they need it, but an inefficient inventory management system can cost additional money. The improved system streamlined the Europe OCIE inventory and redistributed about $14 million to stateside facilities, making them available for future requirements.
The ultimate goal of the awards is to encourage continued process improvement, and the TSC’s winning streak exemplifies a commitment to effective process improvement, according to Col. Noah Cloud, the deputy director of G-8 for U.S. Army Europe.
“These awards reflect the 21st’s commitment to continually strive to make their operations more effective and efficient, and to make every dollar count,” said Cloud, whose organization overseas Army Lean Six Sigma efforts throughout the theater.
The 21st TSC process improvement team offers Lean Six Sigma training to organizations throughout the theater. To find out more about Lean Six Sigma training opportunities for you or your organization, contact Jeffrey Gilbert at (314) 484-7448 or 0631-413-7448.