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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany


Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
CPI pays dividends at MCA

By Art Powell | | January 28, 2010

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Industrial efficiency at Maintenance Center Albany benefits from programs such as Lean Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints and others that strive to get equipment back to the warfighter as quickly as possible.

“We’re better organized and can build a tool box in 30 minutes for a mechanic at a work station, whereas it used to take several days,” said Ron Long, tool and parts attendant, Engineering Department, MCA. “Now, with everything better organized and off the floor in our shop, it also looks a lot better thanks to continuous process improvement.”

Long, who has worked at MCA for 28 years, saluted the MCA leadership for supporting the continuous improvement process to make his shop more efficient.

“The leadership supports us, and if you don’t have good leadership, the work is not as organized and won’t go as far,” he said.

The increased efficiency seen in building and distributing tools at MCA is a function of CPI which is designed to eliminate waste.

“We all do many things a certain way because ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it,’ but continuous process improvement looks for ways of eliminating unnecessary work,” said Bill Cuff, continuous process improvement specialist, Industrial and Engineering Department, MCA, said, “We also go out to the people on the MCA floor who work on this equipment everyday and ask them how we can improve the process. It gets away from the traditional way of thinking about ‘my way or the highway.’”

Workers are given the opportunity to select problem solving programs available to them to make progress toward continuous process improvement.

“The tools are Lean Six Sigma, the Theory of Constraints or something as simple as workplace organization,” Cuff said. “Letting the workers apply these ideas themselves means they can see improvements in their efficiency.”

The MCA tool room was selected for continuous process improvement with the goal of improving organization and efficiency.

“The workers spent a lot of time cleaning up and organizing the shop and simplified the processes,” Cuff said. “We’ve put efficiency back into the workforce, and you can see how workers have taken it and run with it while looking for improvements.”

A plaque entitled Declaration of Continuous Improvement is on the wall at the MCA conference room which explains the program’s concept. It is signed by the Col. Terry W. Reid, commander, MCA, and managers.

“The biggest challenge for me is the fear of change. I need to show workers what they get from CPI and from there, they come up with their own ideas to help make it happen,” Cuff said.


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