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Table of Contents

National Performance Review

Report on
Reinventing the Department of Defense
September 1996

  • Kaizen: Continuous Improvement in Action at Marine Corps Logistics Base, Barstow, California. Achieving quality fundamentally involves attention to process, commitment to the customer, and involvement of employees. At the Marine corps Multi-commodity Maintenance Center (MC3) in Barstow, California, these principles have taken on a new meaning through a process called Kaizen, the Japanese philosophy of continuous process improvement. It emphasizes the steps of observing, measuring, analyzing, deciding, and acting through teamwork; and seeks to identify and remove process waste and redundancy. MC3 at Barstow has used this process on two production systems: the Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) and the M198 Howitzer.

On the AAV line, the walking distance in the work area has been reduced 87%, product cycle time cut 60%, $185,000 saved in reduced inventory, and many process improvements have been implemented that have improved employee morale and teamwork.

On the M198 Howitzer line, $225,000 was saved by eliminating the need for minor construction and $423,000 was saved by reducing vendor provided refurbishing.

  • Parris Island Team Saves $7 Million in Reducing Excess Clothing Inventories. Two marines at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Eastern Recruiting Region, Parris Island, South Carolina and a HQ Marine Corps civilian, contributed significantly to the fiscal successes of both the Marine Corps Recruit Depots in San Diego and Parris Island by devising a method to reduce wartime mobilization inventories by more than $7 million. Prior to implementation of the new process at these recruit Depots, both were required to keep a sufficient stock of on-hand clothing to meet a surge requirement in the event of increased or full mobilization. The stockpile of clothing worth $9.2 million was designed to meet a requirement of over 8,300 individual issues of clothing during the first 60 days of a wartime mobilization. The team examined the concept of "just-in-time" delivery shipments from the manufacturer. This resulted in a reduction of the inventory by 75% or 2,000 clothing issues. This eliminated the unnecessary layering of material at all service retail activities. In addition to the inventory savings, there are indirect reductions in cost such as space and labor. Improvements in the inventory process have saved approximately $3.5 million.

  • Ace-in-the Hole Gang in Albany, Georgia. The Repair Division, Marine Corps Logistics Bases, Albany, Georgia, had a requirement from their primary customer to repair and rebuild High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) faster and more efficiently. The top management of the division was committed to the involvement and empowerment of the workers on these vehicles. The Ace-in-the-Hole Gang emerged as the team that strenuously examined the process they used to repair and rebuild the HMMWV. They radically redesigned their process from a "stall" method, where almost all (excluding paint and body) of the work on a vehicle was performed at a fixed location, to a "production line" method where vehicles moved from station to station, where a specific set of items were worked on. This new process was introduced and was gradually improved upon and refined. The production for the "Ace -in-the-Hole Gang" went from 4 to 5 units per month to 40 units per month. The team continues to seek more improvements.

Adjudication of Personal Property Claims. All Personal Property Claims submitted by marines at their local command for payment (regardless of value), had to be forwarded to HQ Marine corps for adjudication. Under the Reinvention Lab Program, Marine corps Base Camp Pendleton requested to locally adjudicate Personal Property Claims of $1,000 dollars of less. The Commandant was given the authority to adjudicate and authorize payment of personnel claims up to $40,000.

The approval of this request permitted improved responsiveness to personal property claims and significantly eased the financial burdens on the younger Marines, thus enhancing the quality of life from them and their families.

  • Washers and Dryers in the Barracks. It wasn't too long ago that about 40% of the washers and/or dryers in the barracks around Camp Pendleton, California, were "operationally challenged" (didn't work). It was taking 30-90 days to get the machines fixed or replaced. Some perceptive Marines thought they broke the code when they rendered the machines more than functionally impaired thereby requiring replacement with a new machine. This didn't really solve the problem. Some Marines were still getting up in the early morning hours to use washers in barracks other than their own to wash their clothes.

What did solve the problem was close examination of the process that was used to repair and replace the broken machines. Most of the work was being done by contractors who were hamstrung by the way the machines were serviced. Facilities redesigned the process for property accountability an the disposal of derelict material. They then established a pool of repaired or new machines that could be exchanged for inoperable equipment in a matter of a couple of days. The repairable machines were then brought to a central location where the contractor technicians were able to optimize the use of time to work on the machines.

The process analysis in this case involved series of improvements that made steady and continuous improvement on the turnaround time to replace broken washing machines and dryers. The improvements made have saved time and money for the facilities operation and significantly improved the quality of life for the Marines who live in the barracks.

  • Entry Level Training. Parris Island has applied the systems approach to training in Entry Level Marksmanship Training Program (ELMTP) and refined and improved their process by eliminating some steps and superfluous requirements. First, the adoption of the "train as you fight" concept recognized more effective qualifications training by removing shooting jackets and eye patches. These training aids are not allowed when Marines transition to Third Phase Marksmanship nor will they be available in combat. Training without these devices provides more accurate and reliable scores and saves the Marine Corps $16,450 annually in shooting jackets and saves individual Marines about $6,500 collectively each year.

The ELMTP was examined closely to determine if the process maximized the resources available. Three process improvements were identified, developed, tested and standardized at Parris Island. The number of targets required was modified from 6 to 4 saving $19,000 per year. The number of rounds fired was reduced from 375 to 278 saving $438,500. By examining and improving scheduling, 23 additional training hours were added to the schedule without extending the execution of the training week.