[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                               September 26, 2008
News

Lean Six Sigma project about fuel key accountability draws top-level praise

Fort McCoy’s fuel key issuance system works more efficiently as the result of a Lean Six Sigma (LSS) project that was recognized by an LSS expert as an outstanding display of the LSS methodologies to improve processes.

Photo: The Lean Six Sigma team for a Fort McCoy fuel key project included (left to right, standing) John Timm and Deb Hardie (team member-DOL) Quality Assurance Evaluator, and seated (left to right) Vicki Preston (team member) Troop Installation Support Branch fuel clerk and Don Herr (team member, Supply Quality Control inspector). (Contributed photo)
The Lean Six Sigma team for a Fort McCoy fuel key project included (left to right, standing) John Timm and Deb Hardie (team member-DOL) Quality Assurance Evaluator, and seated (left to right) Vicki Preston (team member) Troop Installation Support Branch fuel clerk and Don Herr (team member, Supply Quality Control inspector). (Contributed photo)

John Timm, a Supply Quality Assurance Evaluator for the Fort McCoy Directorate of Logistics (DOL), served as the LSS Green Belt candidate. Other team members were: Deb Hardie, DOL Quality Assurance Evaluator; Vicki Preston, Troop Installation Support Branch Fuel Clerk; and Don Herr, Supply Quality Control Inspector. This was one of the first major LSS projects completed at Fort McCoy.

Timm said he was asked to look into the accountability of the keys by Steve Kuderer, the director of the Fort McCoy DOL. The final project resulted in significant improvement in fuel key accountability and helps prevent the potential unauthorized draw of fuel by someone not currently authorized and scheduled to draw fuel from the Fort McCoy Central Fuel Pumps, Timm said. The team members, who included two subject matter experts and another quality control person, provided valuable ideas and feedback, participating in "brainstorming sessions" to help make the project a success.

After preparing a memorandum describing the problem, Timm was offered the opportunity to attend LSS training and use that methodology to propose a solution to the problem.

He earned LSS Green Belt Candidate status after graduating from the two weeks of training, began and completed his project, and in September earned an LSS Green Belt Certification from the Deputy Undersecretary of the Army, Business Transformation (now known as Enterprise Task Force).

"LSS is valuable in solving the system problems because it combines key tools and techniques from two proven business philosophies: Lean and Six Sigma," Timm said. "Lean focuses on eliminating wasted time and activity and originally was used to evaluate assembly-line processes. Six Sigma is centered on improving quality by eliminating defects through various statistics and minimizing the difference between what the customers need and what is delivered."

Valuable support came from his mentors for the project, Kathy Peterson, the LSS Program Manager at Fort McCoy for the Plans, Analysis, and Integration Office (PAIO), and Art Taylor, a Black Belt from Installation Management Command (IMCOM)-West in San Antonio, Timm said.

"They were both a great help," Timm said. "I was on the phone daily with Kathy, as she is the most-knowledgeable person about the LSS program on post. I had several teleconferences with Mr. Taylor that lasted two-three hours each and were very intense."

As the LSS project progressed from phase to phase, documents were posted to "Power Steering," a Web-based portfolio management tool the Army uses to track and manage projects. Timm said he was half expecting to hear that the project was rejected and was shocked at the feedback he received.

Shawn West of the George Group, which works as a contractor for the Enterprise Task Force, saw the project documentation in Power Steering. West wrote in a congratulatory note that he had seen hundreds of LSS projects from the federal and private sector, and this was the best one he had ever seen. The George Group, a private consulting firm, helped pioneer the deployment and development of LSS in the United States and is recognized as one of the experts in the LSS field.

"After reviewing the green belt project for certification of Mr. John Timm, (I) have never seen a more comprehensive and superbly documented display of the Lean Six Sigma methodologies tool application," West wrote. "From tollgate deliverables Define through Control, and the journal entries from Mr. Timm’s team meetings and close work with his sponsor and resource manager, I submit to you, are world class."

Timm’s group documented an After-Action Review through all phases with such detail that it allows readers to actually seem as though they were at the team meetings, West wrote. "The results of Timm’s work are so thorough and rigorously documented that any command around the world would benefit and could leverage from the hard work."

Peterson said she was pleased the project was completed and well received and noted that several LSS projects are well under way at Fort McCoy. Anyone who would like more information about LSS or has a problem to be solved using LSS is welcome to contact her at (608) 388-2003 or the PAIO at (608) 388-2060/5178/3321.

 

[ Top of Page ]

[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]