BY KATHY ADAMS, NAVSUP OFFICE OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
Continually transforming processes to adapt to changing conditions and needs is a top priority for any fast–paced, customer–centric organization. In Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP), Continuous Performance Improvement (CPI) is a key enabler to making sure customers and stakeholders get the support they need around the world.
According to the 2016 Commander’s Guidance, “We should never be satisfied with the efficiency and effectiveness of our processes. This means we must manage and embrace change, while rethinking our processes through the lens of CPI and fiscal stewardship.” NAVSUP works in concert with a global network of logistics providers to effectively manage disparate supply chains and support networks, and this effort requires streamlined and efficient processes. That’s where CPI comes in.
CPI in the Organization
CPI has been integrated into the NAVSUP organization since 2005, and is managed by the Assistant Commander for Corporate Operations, Performance Improvement Division (N51). The current CPI deployment structure includes four master black belts, five black belts at NAVSUP Headquarters who work efforts around the Enterprise, and a deployment champion at each of NAVSUP’s Echelon III and Echelon IV commands. There are also black belts, green belts and white belts across all of NAVSUP’s commands.
All this talk about “belts.” Let’s explain.
Specially trained practitioners, known as “belts,” work together with teams to execute process improvement projects.
- Master black belts train and mentor black CPI events such as Rapid Improvement Events (RIE), capture results, lessons learned and future opportunities. They support these efforts part-time, while still performing their basic work functions.
- White Belt training is provided periodically to provide an overall understanding of the CPI process. All NAVSUP employees are encouraged to attend to learn how CPI could help streamline processes in their areas of expertise.
In addition, deployment champions at the leadership level own and manage the CPI effort in their areas, are responsible for capturing metrics, and serve as liaisons with organizational leadership.
The different “belts” require different levels of training and certification. Green Belt training is a requirement for several developmental programs across the NAVSUP Enterprise, such as the Corporate Management Development Program. Presently, NAVSUP has 30 black belts and 250 trained green belts.
“One of the benefits of being a black belt is that you can do projects in every area of the organization,” said NAVSUP CPI Deployment Director Tracy Evans. “This gives you good insight into all facets of the business.”
Now about those projects.
CPI encompasses three primary methodologies:
- Lean, which focuses on speed and reducing waste;
- Six Sigma, which focuses on reducing variation and increasing quality; and
- Theory of Constraints, which focuses on identifying and eliminating constraints in a process.
“The sometimes challenging aspect of CPI is finding the balance between working with both data and people,” said NAVSUP Black Belt Tonna Alexander. “It can be difficult at times but also very rewarding.”
In CPI, the methodology can depend on the project. Projects submitted for evaluation are analyzed to determine the scope of the problem and which method would be appropriate to find a solution. Methods include the Define Measure Analyze Improve Control (DMAIC) for projects of large scope, complexity, or broad impact; and RIEs for smaller projects that are more local and not as complex.
Once a CPI project is started, it can take four to six months to complete a DMAIC and approximately two months to complete an RIE. Since the program’s beginning, NAVSUP has completed 675 CPI projects, with 38 projects currently underway.
Recent projects throughout NAVSUP have provided standardization, increased quality, and improved performance.
[caption id="attachment_5455" align="alignright" width="300"]
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Japan, Weapons Department Sailors stack medical supplies and personal gear on an elevator in the h angar bay of the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). In September, Ronald Reagan was pre paring for her regularly scheduled patrol by on-loading supplies and equipment. The carrier and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW 5), provide a combat-ready force, which protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. –photo by Seaman Jamaal Liddell
At NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Jacksonville, new construction shipyards experienced significant, early outfitting shortages that impacted the availability of initial Authorized Medical and Authorized Dental Allowances, preventing Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast from meeting Navy’s overall supply readiness objective of 97 percent Coordinated Shipboard Allowance List on-hand. A CPI team determined the method of procurement was the issue. Using a different type of contract fixed the problem and was replicable throughout the shipbuilding community.
NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support sponsored a project to improve the fill rate to 85 percent and to decrease the number of non-procurable items by 50 percent over two years by developing and implementing a standardized process for the maritime technical community. The Engineering Support Request System (ESRS) for Navy-managed maritime items was created, tested, and moved to production in 2015. The success of ESRS has made it possible to track every maritime item that requires an engineering decision and is on track to meet the project’s fill rate goal of 85 percent.
CPI is not just an internal program that is applied to NAVSUP projects. Externally, NAVSUP participates in a quarterly executive committee panel with other Echelon II systems commands to leverage the benefits of partnership and information sharing. NAVSUP also begun to partner with Defense Logistics Agency and other Department of Defense commands to reap the benefits of re-tooling logistics processes to provide the Fleet and Joint warfighter state-of-the-art support.
To get more information about CPI, visit https://www.navsup.navy.mil/ascent.