Green Belt Training Promotes Continuous Improvement at Defense Logistics Agency

Green Belt Training Promotes Continuous Improvement at Defense Logistics Agency

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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The U.S. military and the Department of Defense have been some of the strongest proponents for using process improvement methodologies. The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support (DLATS) in Philadelphia is no exception.

In October 2018, 20 employees and interns with DLATS earned their Green Belt in Six Sigma. The Green Belt training is part of an ongoing program, typically held twice a year, in which students attend classes over a five-day period.

Students are required to complete the 40-hour class, pass an exam and participate in a Six Sigma project before earning Green Belt certification.

“Whether at the strategic or the operational level, the training allows one to consider and better define the statement of work, better map out existing processes, identify where change is needed and how to measure the success of the change,” Dan Keenaghan, who is in charge of the Process Compliance Directorate that oversees the Lean Six Sigma training, told the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service.

The Importance of Supply Chain and DLATS

Created during World War II to ensure the military received needed supplies, the Defense Logistics Agency (under a variety of names) has existed ever since. The agency’s mission is a complex, challenging one: provide the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, other federal agencies, and combined and allied forces, with logistics, acquisition and technical services.

In short, wherever troops from the U.S. are in the world, the DLA ensures that they get the supplies they need.

In DLA Troop Support, there five supply chains: Subsistence, Clothing and Textiles, Construction and Equipment, Medical and Industrial Hardware. They are supply chains that must work as efficiently as possible. Given that, Green Belt training has become standard in DLATS.

The process improvement training is part of an overarching plan to promote a problem-solving mindset for all employees at every level of the operation. In the past, graduates from the Green Belt training have gone on to do projects that reduced the time needed to submit supply chain reports for audits and saved money spent on printer maintenance.

Another project cut the time needed to submit paperwork on hazardous materials transport by 89 percent.

What Students Learn

Medical supply chain intern Erica Vazquez said that the Green Belt classes taught her the basics of process flow mapping and how to identify bottlenecks that slow down supply chains.

She told the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, “Not only are we able to identify a problem; we learned analytical skills, better survey usage and how to put information into graphs so that you can present information and data better to prove why the change is necessary.”

A process flow map is valuable as it gets the entire process down on paper and in a way that everyone agrees on. It serves as a common reference point as a team identifies bottlenecks in a process and develops ways to eliminate them.

Maps are often depicted using a flowchart (or process flow diagram) that lists tasks within a process in sequential order, flowing from the top of the chart to the bottom. It’s an excellent way to provide a quick visual representation for a process.

Even though he oversees the program, Keenaghan said the course made him reflect on his time at DLATS “and how I can immediately employ the Six Sigma tools right away within my team.”


The post Green Belt Training Promotes Continuous Improvement at Defense Logistics Agency appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

By: James LoPresti
Posted: November 6, 2018, 3:28 pm

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