BY PATRICIA LEDFORD DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
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Part of Code 440 Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) team, their Department Director Lt. Cmdr. Elbert Pama (far left), Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Pearl Harbor Executive Director Mona Yamada (front center), NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor Commanding Officer Capt. Ken Epps (far right). Team members pictured: Lesly Komoda (Team Lead), Vishwa Nand, Kendra Poai, Eperone Vee, Kevin Tokuhisa. Sponsors: Shirley Santiago, Peter Pappalardo.
The saying, “The only thing constant is change” is true. It speaks to the importance of adaptability and having a mindset that welcomes [positive] modifications to the way we’ve “always done business.”
However, in the case of organizational change, it’s important to establish structure as we propel toward sustainable rather than sporadic change.
Many of us have outlasted our fair share of “program of the month” or “one size fits all” proposed solutions to our organizational challenges. The concepts seem ideal, but in reality the sporadic ideas seldom deliver desired outcomes. Instead of propelling forward, we fall further behind in achieving our goals when appropriate preparation, consultation, transparency, delivery, evaluation, and so forth, is lacking.
Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Pearl Harbor sets the stage for innovation through employee collaboration with support from Ms. Joyce Jo, who helps facilitate change as the organization’s Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) Black Belt. She makes training available to each employee and coaches personnel and departments in tackling seemingly tough problems by using CPI techniques.
Organizational change and improvements are a front-loaded investment, which could produce long-standing benefits for personnel, morale, efficiency and the mission, if approached systematically. A NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor team in Code 440, Installation Department, was recently recognized by leadership for investing into a rapid improvement event initiated more than two years ago. Now in the sustainment phase, improvements have been institutionalized and are a part of the employees’ routine.
The team identified a problem involving a vacated warehouse and space utilization issue. A solution would allow for improved storage/staging capacity and movement efficiency to support the receipt storage, and issue processes for hazardous and non-hazardous materials.
These improvements reaped financial, mission-related, productivity, operational and personnel benefits.
The team followed five CPI steps (5S) as they organized their project:
- SORT (Eliminate Clutter)
- STRAIGHTEN (A Place for Everything)
- SHINE (Clean Inside & Out)
- STANDARDIZE (Set Standards Understood by All)
- SUSTAIN (Maintain 5S Policies & Discipline)
According to Jo, 5S is a Lean methodology created by the Toyota Production System that endorses efficiency through organization, cleanliness, and discipline. It has been widely adopted and deemed successful by many types of agencies from healthcare, to production/manufacturing, logistics and others.
One of the challenges many CPI programs face is buy-in. Facilitators must demonstrate why and how the time investment will benefit “the big picture” or “bottom-line.” Buy-in is essential and should start from the top and flow to front-line employees, to garner desired results.
“It [CPI] will ultimately improve output, reduce safety and security issues and improve our employees’ quality of life,” Jo stated.
The accomplishment is also a testament to the commitment the organization has to process improvement. NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor Commanding Officer Capt. Ken Epps noted that he had seen many process improvement projects initiated, but this was the first time he personally saw sustained results tracked for an extended length of time.
NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor Executive Director and CPI Champion Mona Yamada also commended the team on their achievement and restated her commitment to empowering all employees to initiate positive change throughout the organization.
The Installation Department team was visibly proud of their sustained achievement. They fostered innovation through collaboration while creating a space that their co-workers, customers and others would admire. Well done!