Tuesday, September 29, 2009
By Lance Cpl. Jenna Lassandrello Approximately one year ago, a massive realignment of organization took place in an effort to increase productivity. After evaluating the way things were working, the Maintenance Center implemented some changes to streamline production.
As a result of the changes the light armored vehicle shop, Cost Work Center 713, at MCB has reduced the LAV repair cycle time significantly since this same time last year, said Chief Warrant Officer Scott Stevens, an LAV project manager at MCB.
“All of the LAVs slated to be completed in May were already completed in April,” said Stevens.
Some of the successful business management tools that were incorporated during the realignment and are primarily responsible for the increase in the smoothness of the operations are the new Production Management Department and the implementation of “Lean Thinking” and the Theory of Constraints.
The Production Management Department at MCB is responsible for the planning phase of the process.
Production Management teams plan each individual project from start to finish, including personally monitoring the cost schedule and performance of each product, said Stevens.
They are also responsible for formally briefing the customer on the entire program status, tracking costs and configuration management, said Stevens.
Next is the implementation of “lean thinking” around MCB.
The basis of lean thinking is getting rid of what isn’t needed, making sure what is needed is in the right place, eliminating time wasting processes and making the workplace look professional by keeping it orderly, clean and safe, Stevens said.
While reevaluating the job of repairing the LAV, the procedures that were not working as well as they could were thrown out and improved processes replaced the old.
The feature of “lean thinking” is the six S’s. The S’s stand for sort, straighten, scrub, standardize, safety and self-discipline.
These letters help the employees remember the principles the organization is designed around.
The Theory of Constraints is the organization and tracking of every step in each individual project.
The TOC process involves monitoring each step in the critical chain of events necessary to produce a product.
It helps to identify where the production rate is lagging and limiting the production, explained Stevens.
“If we can improve the (production) rate … the entire chain operates at a higher ‘throughput’ rate,” said Stevens.
From start to finish, the break down, repair and rebuild of the LAV has 67 steps, said Stevens.
“With the TOC each step is identified, along with the time each step should take.
If anything goes wrong, such as not having the correct parts for repair, the project will be delayed.
As soon as these issues are identified, the supervisors of the project will know through the tracking of the TOC, and can give proper attention to the situation and get it back on track,” said Stevens.
But with all the new improvements over the last year, getting behind is no longer a concern for the LAV workers.
The 67 steps it takes to repair an LAV originally took 130 days.
Since implementing the new improvements it has been reduced to an average of 95 days, said Stevens.
The vast improvements and the new smooth-working processes at MCB are not all due to the new organization, though, said Stevens.
“All of these things are just tools, the people doing the job whole-heartedly is what really makes everything work in the depot.
“They are why we are successful,” said Stevens.
“Speeding up the process is important because the LAV is a critical item. The fleet needs them and the warfighter needs them. The faster we get them out, the more the Fleet Marine Force benefits.
“It is always good to reevaluate the things we are doing and find more effective ways of doing them,” said Stevens.
“And in this situation, we really made quite an improvement.”