UNITED STATED MARINE CORPS
- Kaizen: Continuous Improvement in Action at Marine
Corps Logistics Base, Barstow, California. Achieving
quality fundamentally involves attention to process, commitment
to the customer, and involvement of employees. At the Marine corps
Multi-commodity Maintenance Center (MC3) in Barstow, California,
these principles have taken on a new meaning through a process
called Kaizen, the Japanese philosophy of continuous process improvement.
It emphasizes the steps of observing, measuring, analyzing, deciding,
and acting through teamwork; and seeks to identify and remove
process waste and redundancy. MC3 at Barstow has used this process
on two production systems: the Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV)
and the M198 Howitzer.
On the AAV line, the walking distance in the work area has been
reduced 87%, product cycle time cut 60%, $185,000 saved in reduced
inventory, and many process improvements have been implemented
that have improved employee morale and teamwork.
On the M198 Howitzer line, $225,000 was saved by eliminating the
need for minor construction and $423,000 was saved by reducing
vendor provided refurbishing.
- Parris Island Team Saves $7 Million in Reducing Excess
Clothing Inventories. Two marines at Marine Corps Recruit
Depot, Eastern Recruiting Region, Parris Island, South Carolina
and a HQ Marine Corps civilian, contributed significantly to the
fiscal successes of both the Marine Corps Recruit Depots in San
Diego and Parris Island by devising a method to reduce wartime
mobilization inventories by more than $7 million. Prior to implementation
of the new process at these recruit Depots, both were required
to keep a sufficient stock of on-hand clothing to meet a surge
requirement in the event of increased or full mobilization. The
stockpile of clothing worth $9.2 million was designed to meet
a requirement of over 8,300 individual issues of clothing during
the first 60 days of a wartime mobilization. The team examined
the concept of "just-in-time" delivery shipments from
the manufacturer. This resulted in a reduction of the inventory
by 75% or 2,000 clothing issues. This eliminated the unnecessary
layering of material at all service retail activities. In addition
to the inventory savings, there are indirect reductions in cost
such as space and labor. Improvements in the inventory process
have saved approximately $3.5 million.
- Ace-in-the Hole Gang in Albany, Georgia. The
Repair Division, Marine Corps Logistics Bases, Albany, Georgia,
had a requirement from their primary customer to repair and rebuild
High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) faster and
more efficiently. The top management of the division was committed
to the involvement and empowerment of the workers on these vehicles.
The Ace-in-the-Hole Gang emerged as the team that strenuously
examined the process they used to repair and rebuild the HMMWV.
They radically redesigned their process from a "stall"
method, where almost all (excluding paint and body) of the work
on a vehicle was performed at a fixed location, to a "production
line" method where vehicles moved from station to station,
where a specific set of items were worked on. This new process
was introduced and was gradually improved upon and refined. The
production for the "Ace -in-the-Hole Gang" went from
4 to 5 units per month to 40 units per month. The team continues
to seek more improvements.
Adjudication of Personal Property Claims. All Personal Property
Claims submitted by marines at their local command for payment
(regardless of value), had to be forwarded to HQ Marine corps
for adjudication. Under the Reinvention Lab Program, Marine corps
Base Camp Pendleton requested to locally adjudicate Personal Property
Claims of $1,000 dollars of less. The Commandant was given the
authority to adjudicate and authorize payment of personnel claims
up to $40,000.
The approval of this request permitted improved responsiveness
to personal property claims and significantly eased the financial
burdens on the younger Marines, thus enhancing the quality of
life from them and their families.
- Washers and Dryers in the Barracks. It wasn't
too long ago that about 40% of the washers and/or dryers in the
barracks around Camp Pendleton, California, were "operationally
challenged" (didn't work). It was taking 30-90 days to get
the machines fixed or replaced. Some perceptive Marines thought
they broke the code when they rendered the machines more than
functionally impaired thereby requiring replacement with a new
machine. This didn't really solve the problem. Some Marines
were still getting up in the early morning hours to use washers
in barracks other than their own to wash their clothes.
What did solve the problem was close examination of the process
that was used to repair and replace the broken machines. Most
of the work was being done by contractors who were hamstrung by
the way the machines were serviced. Facilities redesigned the
process for property accountability an the disposal of derelict
material. They then established a pool of repaired or new machines
that could be exchanged for inoperable equipment in a matter of
a couple of days. The repairable machines were then brought to
a central location where the contractor technicians were able
to optimize the use of time to work on the machines.
The process analysis in this case involved series of improvements
that made steady and continuous improvement on the turnaround
time to replace broken washing machines and dryers. The improvements
made have saved time and money for the facilities operation and
significantly improved the quality of life for the Marines who
live in the barracks.
- Entry Level Training. Parris Island has applied
the systems approach to training in Entry Level Marksmanship Training
Program (ELMTP) and refined and improved their process by eliminating
some steps and superfluous requirements. First, the adoption
of the "train as you fight" concept recognized more
effective qualifications training by removing shooting jackets
and eye patches. These training aids are not allowed when Marines
transition to Third Phase Marksmanship nor will they be available
in combat. Training without these devices provides more accurate
and reliable scores and saves the Marine Corps $16,450 annually
in shooting jackets and saves individual Marines about $6,500
collectively each year.
The ELMTP was examined closely to determine if the process maximized
the resources available. Three process improvements were identified,
developed, tested and standardized at Parris Island. The number
of targets required was modified from 6 to 4 saving $19,000 per
year. The number of rounds fired was reduced from 375 to 278 saving
$438,500. By examining and improving scheduling, 23 additional
training hours were added to the schedule without extending the
execution of the training week.