Two ARL Employees Receive Army LSS Green Belt Certification
May 25, 2009
Two U.S. Army Research Laboratory employees, Tom Smith, Human Research and Engineering Directorate (HRED), and Bob Grosso, Laboratory Operations, recently received their Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certifications from the Department of the Army. Both recipients were presented with their certificates by ARL Director John Miller at a ceremony on March 16, 2009.
Achieving LSS certification enables ARL employees to perfect and share new tools and techniques with their peers. The process produces knowledgeable employees who ensure product and service quality.
Smith and Grosso were aided by the mentoring and advising efforts of ARL project sponsors. Grosso benefitted from the help of Laboratory Operations' Pam Fry. Smith worked closely with the HRED's Dave Bassan, who unexpectedly passed away in January, just one week before Smith was notified that his project had been approved for certification.
"In a sense, this was one of Dave's last contributions to ARL and the Army," said John Lockett, chief of HRED's MANPRINT Methods & Analysis Branch. "He used his training in industrial/organizational psychology and his background in operations research analysis to help Tom manage the scope of his project, understand the LSS process and tailor it to the project."
Smith's project, "Distribution Process of IMPRINT" focused on the entry and tracking process for nondistribution agreements necessary to obtain IMPRINT software from ARL. IMPRINT, which stands for Improved Performance Research Integration Tool, supports Manpower and Personnel Integration (MANPRINT) and Human Systems Integration (HSI). The software helps assess the interaction of Warfighters and system performance throughout the system lifecycle.
Before Smith's project, the filling out of the nondistribution agreements was troubled by an undefined process, poorly-defined criteria in the form itself, and the lack of a usable database to store information from the forms. Because IMPRINT is proprietary software, this led to the risk of distribution violations.
Smith established a user information form with well-defined fields. He also established a database corresponding to the form which could store usable, trackable information. These innovations reduced the processing time from an average of five days to no more than two, and in many case, just a few hours.
Smith's process has also greatly reduced the error rate in the forms. Previously, 18 of 20 forms received had errors. Now only one out of 20 have such errors.
Grosso's project, "Effective Execution of Employee Medical Surveillance" addressed inefficiencies in the medical surveillance process, whereby employees working in certain areas are periodically given medical examinations to insure that their job functions are not affecting their health in a variety of areas (hearing, eyesight, etc.).
Given the importance of the exams, it is vital for affected ARL employees to make and fulfill these regular appointments. However, the old recordkeeping and tracking system employed inefficient paper recordkeeping and had led to many employees missing their scheduled appointments.
Grosso helped ARL's involvement with the scheduling process at Aberdeen Proving Ground's Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic. Before his process was implemented, there were 17 "no-shows" for regular appointments. After implementation, only one out of 103 appointments was missed.