Creating A More Efficient Army Workforce
by Thomas Peske, Crane Army Ammunition Activity
November 12, 2018
When the U.S. Army took over the mission of being the DoD’s munitions provider as the Single Manager for Conventional Ammunition in 1977, it inherited a munitions enterprise largely built on the remnants of World War II-era strategy. As the Army (and Department of Defense) evolves to handle the challenges of 21st Century adversaries, the munitions enterprise must evolve as well. Efficiency is the key to ensuring it is a vital power projection platform effectively delivering munitions.
Through multiple initiatives from the U.S. Army Materiel Command and the Joint Munitions Command, Crane Army is actively working to improve its efficiencies. These initiatives range from improving cultural understanding of how to be more productive throughout the workday to enhancing both short and long range planning to increase logistics and production capacity and throughput. Over the past couple of months, Crane Army employees received tools to assist them in meeting this goal including the Sustainable Readiness Model, to increase readiness and stability across the Organic Industrial Base, and the Oliver Wight Supply and operations planning process, to help with supply and demand outlook.
To better increase readiness and stability across the OIB, JMC developed and distributed a strategy to link the OIB output to the SRM, which include the cultural pillars, the System for Management and the Supervisor Behavior Model. The aim of these efforts is to provide the depot and plants in JMC with a standard model for both its processes and its culture. JMC brought in a consulting organization, Wilson Perumal & Company, to introduce and implement the SBM and cultural pillars to all JMC installations.
“The OIB-SRM team visited five depots looking at how primary depot functions were being performed. We saw five different processes being done for the same function. The team tried to take the best of these processes and design a ‘JMC Way,” Walt Songaila, JMC OIB-SRM coordinator said. “It was no coincidence that we conducted the design and implementation phase of the OIB-SRM concept at Crane Army Ammunition Activity first. It directly correlates to CAAA’s continuous improvement culture. Without exception CAAA’s leadership believes that if an alternate process is proven to be as effective and more efficient they will incorporate it to the best of their ability.”
According to Crane Army’s Deputy to the Commander Norman Thomas, the System for Management is designed for looking at the day-to-day operations. He said the SFM will help CAAA know how it is doing by giving it targets and measuring against those targets, not unlike private industry.
A Crane Army Ammunition Activity employee checks production goals against actual rates on kiosks at the CAAA machine and tooling shop on August 13, 2018. The kiosks raise production efficiency via increased visibility and are one of many initiatives at Crane Army. (U.S. Army photo by Hayley Smith, Crane Army Ammunition Activity)
Songaila explained how in the private sector, efficiency is driven by profit and loss. He said, “Companies that are profitable thrive and those that are not, die. This forces a continuous drive to be more efficient and competitive. As we all know in government we don’t have free market place competition to drive improvements in efficiencies. Sure we all want to do what is best for the taxpayer, but we are not driven based on survival like the private sector. As such, HQ (Army Materiel Command) pushed an efficiency target to the depots to reduce man-hour standards (hours to complete specific tasks) by 20 percent starting in fiscal year 2020.”
The concept behind the reduction in man-hour standards is designed to achieve 20 percent more throughput or the same throughput without working extra overtime to accomplish the work. Songaila said, “CAAA is on a great path to meet the HQ targets and I believe will lead the way for the JMC enterprise. I was very impressed at how CAAA was evaluating daily production targets based on gained efficiencies. I saw firsthand the same type of efforts on the SDO (Supply Depot Operations) side of CAAA’s business.”
In addition to adjusting processes, man-hour standards and cost centers at the depots, JMC also introduced six cultural pillars which serve to provide leaders and every employee with the skills to fully and efficiently execute the missions at each installation. The pillars aim to shape the culture and the way we work every day.
“Everything we do should be guided by the influence of our cultural pillars. Our job is to deliver munitions readiness, and if we work the way the pillars suggest, we cannot fail no matter how great the challenges get,” Rhonda VanDeCasteele, JMC deputy to the commander, said.
The cultural pillars do not take away from the Army Values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. The Army Values define who we are as Soldiers and civilians in the Army; whereas the cultural pillars help define how we work in the JMC enterprise and support the Army and Warfighter with quality munitions.
In an effort to be more proactive in identifying future supply and demand and business opportunities, AMC introduced the Oliver Wright Supply and Operations Planning process. This process is designed to evaluate CAAA’S mid to long range supply and demand planning on a monthly basis over a 4-24 months period. Thomas explained that this type of long-range planning will allow the entire AMC Enterprise to be synchronized better in their efforts for providing readiness to the Warfighter.
Along with the new programs being introduced by AMC and JMC, Crane Army will continue to find efficiencies through new efforts in its Continuous Improvement Program and adhering to the ISO 9001 Quality Management Standards.
Crane Army Ammunition Activity produces and provides conventional munitions requirements in support of U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness. It is one of 14 installations of the Joint Munitions Command and one of 23 organic industrial base installations under the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which include arsenals, depots, activities and ammunition plants.