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Another Shingo Prize for the Army

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The Herald-Mail ONLINE

Congratulations to the Letterkenny Army Depot for winning its second Shingo Prize for lean excellence.

“David Gress, the division chief for the Ground Support Division, said each step of production is limited to 30 minutes. Depot Chief of Staff Mark Sheffield said the result has been lowering the man-hours it takes to rebuild a vehicle from 274 man-hours in January 2005 to 174 now.

The efficiencies have been realized by “observing the process. Taking the waste out of it,” Korby said. One example, he said, is determining whether repairing or replacing a part is going to save the most time and money.”

So the time is limited to 30 minutes. We can assume that is somewhat faster than the takt time (or demand) for Humvee refurbishing. Demand is 275 per month. Assuming 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, and an 85% utilization rate (we're accounting for breaks, etc.), let's say there are roughly 9180 minutes available per month. 9180/275 = a takt time of 33.3 minutes.

Unlike building a Humvee, which would have very consistent and deterministic labor content, I'm sure it's challenging to predict exactly how much work is required to refurbish a set of Humvess?

It's great to see the Army talk about observing the process and eliminating waste. It also sounds like they have done a good job of matching their cycle times to takt times.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is an anthology titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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