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SSC-Natick Press Release

U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012

Contact: Public Affairs Office

Date: September 19, 2007
No: 07-32

Efficiencies sought and taught with Lean Six Sigma

Attendees of the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Course held in Natick, Mass. Pictured from left to right: Timothy Attig, U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command; Harry Kirejczyk, Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC); Tessie Snavely, TACOM Integrated Logistics Support Center (ILSC); Mark Rudd, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC); Holly Story, SMDC; William Tharion, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine; Maj. Richard Hall, NSRDEC, LSS class coordinator; Marc Mathews, NSRDEC; Gregg Gildea, Product Manager Force Sustainment Systems; Steven Pautz, instructor, George Group Federal Services; Katelyn D'Alessandro, NSRDEC; Michelle Sullivan, TACOM ILSC; Brian Ashford, Army Center of Excellence in Battlefield Capability Enhancement; Jerry Speciale, instructor, George Group Federal Services. Not pictured: Deborah Mangano, U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center. (Photo by Sarah Underhill)  

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NATICK, Mass. -- During the weeks of July 16 and Aug. 13, twelve students from various military organizations attended a Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Green Belt Course at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center (SSC) in Natick, Mass. This was the first Department of the Army sponsored green belt course at Natick and was hosted by the Office of Continuous Improvement, Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC), and consisted of two one-week classes.

Lean Six Sigma is a combination of two business-improvement methodologies, Lean and Six Sigma. Lean refers to the reduction of waste and Six Sigma focuses on the reduction of variance to improve system performance. Together, they form a powerful approach to process improvement helping to free up resources and ensure quality equipment and services are quickly provided to Soldiers.

Maj. Richard Hall, LSS course coordinator, said, "The purpose of this training is to teach students how to apply these concepts and tools in conjunction with the Lean Six Sigma methodology."

A green belt course is the first level of LSS certification and incorporates simulations, examples, team exercises and case studies.

"The outcome of the course is students who can lead projects or solve problems utilizing the LSS methodology, including its five defined phases: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control," said Hall.

To ensure that the students understand the practice, exams and a LSS project must be completed.

Katelyn D'Alessandro, visit coordinator, NSRDEC, is working on a joint project with personnel from SSC, titled, "VIP Visit Coordination." The purpose of the project is to improve the efficiency and quality of information flow between SSC and NSRDEC leadership in the coordination of VIP visits, D'Alessandro said.

Although visit coordination often requires last-minute adjustments due to unforeseen circumstances, she continued, "we are excited to use the Lean Six Sigma improvement methodology as a tool for standardizing the elements of coordination that take place before a visit actually occurs."

This in turn will help improve communication and eliminate redundancies.

Green belt training is a critical step towards the implementation of LSS and the success of Army transformation. Students who successfully complete the course and a project receive LSS green belt certifications. A number of students who receive certification in green belt training may choose to progress to the next level of LSS training, black belt.

D'Alessandro said part of what she learned from the training is Lean Six Sigma is not just a tool for manufacturing processes.

“It [LSS] requires a great deal of up-front data gathering and process mapping, but the results are very much worth it. Our instructors were very passionate and helpful in getting us to recognize the benefits of LSS, and I’m excited at the prospect of using this tool to make what I do more efficient and quality driven,” she said.

This page last updated on 10 May 2006.