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News | Dec. 6, 2016

Newest green belts chop reporting times, save money

By Jason Kaneshiro DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

Time and money will be saved thanks to process improvement projects that led two employees at Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support to earn their Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certifications.

David Mourar led a project that cut the time it took to submit a Medical supply chain report for audit readiness. And Peter Stupak’s project saves money on printer maintenance throughout DLA Troop Support, while also reducing service response time.

Lean Six Sigma is a data-driven method to improve efficiency and quality of work, while reducing costs. The system uses belt colors to indicate levels of expertise. Green Belt certification is earned after taking a class and completing a project of limited scope.

Mourar, a contracting officer with Medical, reduced the time it took for the contingency contracting team to submit a report from 40 hours to eight hours.

The team develops procedures to ensure access to medical items, such as respirators, antibiotics, vaccines, surgical items and pharmaceuticals, to meet customer demand. Vendors store the items until DLA needs them.

As part of their audit readiness efforts, Mourar’s team receives monthly reports from their vendors certifying material availability.

Originally, the buyers would receive the reports from the vendors and do an initial review before forwarding the reports to a contracting officer, who would do an additional review before sending the reports to the Audit Readiness division.

“So we pulled out a … redundant level of quality review,” Mourar said.

A checklist was created for the buyers to ensure that the vendors’ reports were filled out correctly. Buyers now send the reports directly to the Audit Readiness division and bypass sending it to the contracting officer.

Melissa Randazzo, an acquisition specialist in the Medical Readiness division, was part of the team that collaborated with Mourar to improve the reporting process.

“It was a great opportunity to be a part of a team who was able to identify an issue in a process and find a better solution, making the process more efficient,” Randazzo said.

Stupak’s project led to a reduction in cost to support the multi-function device printers used at DLA Troop Support.

The previous contract to support the printers cost $150,000 annually. And it took up to four days for the contractor to respond to requests for technical assistance, said Stupak, a management and program analyst with the Continuous Process Improvement division.

The expiration of the old printer contract provided an opportunity to save on the costs to maintain new printers. A standardized printer was deployed throughout DLA Troop Support and a team was established within the Command Support Office to respond to printer issues.

“We eliminated the contractor support for all the multi-functional device printers and brought the services in-house,” Stupak said. “There used to be just one person doing it and now there’s nine. Response time is a lot better and there’s a tremendous cost savings because it’s part of the function of what the employees already do.”

The CSO team is able to resolve about a third of the printer issues and they call a service technician when needed, Stupak said.

Wait times to service the printers were reduced from four days to one day, and the $150,000 annual cost for the contract to support the printers was eliminated.

Stupak said that there should be a greater emphasis on lean thinking and process improvements, and for the workforce to be open to change.

“We’re here to make your work life better,” Stupak said. “We’re instruments of change for the better, not just change for change’s sake.”