Lean Six Sigma Is Helping TSA Reduce Your Wait Time at the Airport

Lean Six Sigma Is Helping TSA Reduce Your Wait Time at the Airport

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Everything in your life is a process.

The coffee you brewed this morning. Your commute to work. The lunch you packed. The apps you launched. The conversations you had.

It’s all a series of small steps driving you toward various outcomes – tiny systems for managing your existence. And the most interesting part? Just about all of these systems can be improved or refined through Lean tactics.

Lean Six Sigma isn’t reserved only for factories or warehouses.

TSA Process Improvement

That was the mindset taken by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in its effort to improve airport wait times.

The challenge was unique. They strived to improve service for airport commuters by reducing the time it took to process a traveler through security checkpoints and screenings – but its top priority was safety. Because of the sensitive nature of 21st-century flying, the TSA could not compromise safety, even a little bit, in exchange for efficiency.

The solution was the Smiths Detection IONSCAN 500DT device – a scanner that can detect more than 40 substances in commuter luggage, in about five total seconds. It was a revelation. It totally streamlined TSA processes and cut down on the time commuters were forced to spend in security scans.

But TSA personnel weren’t done optimizing processes. The IONSCAN 500DT was improving passenger processing time, but the device was heavy. It weighed 43 pounds, and it was so cumbersome to move into position that officials at a New Hampshire airport realized it was only improving their processes by a small fraction of what it was capable. So they developed a form of mobile power to move the device into position more easily.

Lean Six Sigma Equals Efficiency

The results? A lot fewer missed flights. In 2016, 98% of commuters were screened through security in fewer than 30 minutes. About 92% passed through security screenings in under 15 minutes. The average wait time (even when factoring in the nation’s busiest airports) was under 10 minutes.

That’s improving a process that was just improved, and it’s something that airports are getting really good at. Last year, the TSA allocated $26 million to process improvement, in an effort to simultaneously boost both safety and convenience.

And so far, it’s working. In May 2016, security-based wait times at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport were as long as 104 minutes. After just three months of process improvement, that 104-minute wait was reduced by more than 95%.

Lean Six Sigma isn’t just for manufacturing. It worked for the TSA, who screens more than 2.5 million passengers each day. It worked for the City of El Paso, TX, which is setting maintenance records by using Lean process improvement. It worked for small financial groups, healthcare organizations, military institutions and many, many others, because Lean Six Sigma is industry agnostic. It’s designed to optimize processes.

And remember, everything in your life is a process.

The post Lean Six Sigma Is Helping TSA Reduce Your Wait Time at the Airport appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

Original: http://www.sixsigmadaily.com/lean-six-sigma-tsa/
By: James LoPresti
Posted: July 27, 2017, 12:28 pm

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