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 January 22, 2010


Lean Six Sigma project streamlines process for scheduling training

Fort McCoy’s long-standing Annual Training Conference, formerly known as the “Pre-Camp Conference,” has been eliminated. This is the result of one of Fort McCoy’s Lean Six Sigma projects, which was recently completed. 

There were various reasons for eliminating the conference.

The procedure of how units decide where to train has changed over the years, said Steve Shanks, the Chief of the Training Division for the Fort McCoy Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS).

Previously, many units in the local geographic area would choose Fort McCoy for their extended combat training location. As times changed, these units became part of large training exercises, and the training location decision was no longer made at the unit level.

To ensure necessary coordination and communication between customers and Fort McCoy personnel, training-exercise-specific conferences are conducted by exercise planners at locations convenient to all parties. Fort McCoy provides customer-specific support as necessary.

In addition, much of the information units need to prepare for training at Fort McCoy is now available on the Fort McCoy public Web site at http://www.mccoy.army.mil or through the Fort McCoy Extranet, which is accessible through the public Web site.

Shanks said unit personnel can complete required briefings/training for range safety and the use of Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System equipment, for example, online at their home stations.  Units now have access to Fort McCoy information 24/7 from any computer. In the past, this information was only available during the conference.

Because of the timing of the exercises, it wasn’t feasible to hold the conference at Fort McCoy at any time other than the winter months, Shanks said. Fall was too soon to meet the units’ needs, and the spring was too late and too close to when the exercises needed to have final planning/scheduling completed

Holding the conference in the winter presented logistical problems. Inclement weather often discouraged attendance or encouraged attendees to leave early, said Mark Stelzner, DPTMS Range Scheduler. Often the appropriate unit personnel could not attend the conference, making additional coordination necessary.

The recommendation to eliminate the conference was one of several approved as a result of Fort McCoy’s first LSS Black Belt project, Customer Training Support Request Process.  The project team was headed by Steve Shanks and facilitated by Kathy Peterson, from the Fort McCoy Plans, Analysis and Integration Office (PAIO).

One of the most important changes was improvements made to the Fort McCoy Training Support Request Form (Form 38).  The Form 38 was combined with the Fort McCoy Form 38A, which allows customers to request all training support to include range scheduling in one easy-to-use form.  The form includes detailed instructions for form completion, links to referenced materials, points of contact information, and many drop-down menu options, which makes it easier and more accurate for customers to complete.

The revised form was tested as part of the project pilot program with various customers. The team estimated that the new form and improved process reduced processing time by about 47 percent. Customer satisfaction is always important and the initial response from customers on the new form was very positive, Stelzner said.

Another major change was the submission and distribution methodology. As a result of the project, the form now must be electronically signed by the commander and e-mailed to the Scheduling Section.  Also, administrative e-mail accounts were set up within two directorates; this ensures that when the Form 38 is electronically sent from the Scheduling Section it will go to multiple employees for immediate action. 

The electronic distribution also provides tracking for all parties. This further reduces processing time.

Third, the team revised the customer confirmation letter and more emphasis is placed on communication with the customer to confirm the resources required to support their training prior to their arrival.  

These efforts help ensure Fort McCoy customers receive the best-possible training support with fewer changes or modifications made at the last minute.

Finally, the team reviewed and updated the Standing Operating Procedure and associated documentation, which helps ensure process consistency.

The entire process will be re-examined periodically as required by LSS principles and guidance.

“We’re always receptive to units’ requests,” Stelzner said. “With our training facilities, ranges and support personnel, we want to make Fort McCoy the choice destination for any military training.”

For more information about training opportunities at Fort McCoy, call the Range Scheduling Section at 608-388-3721/3713/5313.

For more information on Fort McCoy’s Lean Six Sigma Program, contact Peterson, PAIO, at 608-388-2003 or e-mail at kathleen.peterson@us.army.mil.



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