Naval Shipyard Provides Example of Benefits of Lean Six Sigma Training

Naval Shipyard Provides Example of Benefits of Lean Six Sigma Training

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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The Norfolk Navy Shipyard (NNSY) has committed to Lean Six Sigma training in a big way, recently launching a project that will apply the process improvement methodology to processes used in the shipyard with the U.S.S. George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier.

Work on the carrier is the first project that is part of the NNSY’s new Lean Six Sigma process. The focus is to optimize a process that fosters teamwork and relationships with the goal of eliminating lost work time.

At a ceremony marking the opening of a new facility that is part of the process, Commanding Officer Capt. Sean Bailey said that “ships and sailors belong at sea,” adding that the Navy welcomes “new efforts to improve efficiencies,” according a news release.

Streamlining Work Processes

In developing the system, NNSY first evaluated data around the current process, a necessary step of implementing Lean Six Sigma, according to the news release. They discovered that work crews were broken into two groups when it came to processes: spiders and striders.

Spiders would determine the materials needed to handle the next work assignment. Striders would then have to go to many locations at the shipyard, looking for those tools and materials. Added together, this resulted in hours of work time wasted and a lot of waiting for NNSY workers. Waiting is one of the eight wastes of Lean.

The team then used what essentially is a Kaizen Event to identify the issue and develop a streamlined process to address the problems. NNSY created a centralized work execution area that included portable tool rooms, a central material envelope for the kitting of materials and a “rip out material laydown area” that is overseen by a pier master who tracks everything removed from the ship.

Rob Bogle, NNSY Lead for Implementation, said in the news release that “this type of execution area is open to support every shift worked during the availability.” He added that with the new plan, workers “don’t have to stop work and go across the shipyard to get a tool or material, carry tools or materials around, or leaving them in a job box somewhere.”

The new process is expected to help NNSY reach its goal of completing every assignment on time or ahead of schedule.

The NNSY project shows the versatility of Lean Six Sigma. It incorporates many of the ideas of Just-In-Time manufacturing and Single Piece Flow. It’s essentially the same approach, in many ways, used by an Oregon plant nursery looking to cut shipping times.

Lean Six Sigma and the Military

This is far from the first Lean Six Sigma project involving the military, which has seen the value of the methodology for years. From Army Depots and defense logistics to a Naval hospital, the principles of Lean Six Sigma are being put into play around the world by the Armed Forces.

It’s also not the only initiative at NNSY. The shipyard encourages its employees to earn a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. Those who are interested work with their supervisor to get the permission to apply to the program, which requires taking classes one week out of a month for six months. The program also requires a senior manager to sponsor an employee as they go through the training.

In an interview with Six Sigma Daily, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Brian Kornfeld noted that this sort of commitment to process improvement training is a trend that won’t end anytime soon. Organizations in business, government and the nonprofit sector all are looking for ways to cut waste and become more efficient. Training employees in process improvement drives improvements.

One of those who completed the training at NNSY is Megan Hanni, an engineering technician who told Naval Sea Systems Command that she first thought of karate when she heard about the Black Belt program. Once she learned it was about process improvement, she wanted to enter the program.

She and fellow engineering technician Kelly Carson, who also earned her Black Belt, worked on a project together. It involved removing excess equipment that was hampering productivity at the shipyard. It was a multimillion-dollar project that required approval at high levels.

Carson said the pair got to “see something go from an idea on a piece of paper to a reality. That was a huge win for us. When we saw truckloads of old equipment being removed, it felt like a victory! Being able to see a project be successful is a really good feeling and knowing you are part of something that big is pretty cool.”

That sort of training and application of Lean Six Sigma has been a principle of Lean Six Sigma in the military. As Clara Cuervo, an industrial engineer who also got her Black Belt at NNSY said, “becoming a Black Belt was a very good decision because it has helped me learn a lot about the shipyard and its processes.”

That’s the foundation for creating sustainable, continuous process improvement.

The post Naval Shipyard Provides Example of Benefits of Lean Six Sigma Training appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

By: admin
Posted: April 30, 2019, 9:00 am

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