Article Revised: March 28, 2019
Lean Six Sigma was initially developed to reduce waste and improve quality in the manufacturing world, but the methodology has now been successfully applied across a wide variety of industries, including healthcare, the service sector, and now the federal government. The Army executes Lean Six Sigma through its Office of Business of Transformation and that culture of continuous improvement has recently spread to the United States Military Academy, West Point.
In early February, West Point hosted a day-long Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification course. The session resulted in 33 new Yellow Belt practitioners from 10 organizations across the academy. A similar training day in September 2016 resulted in 34 trainees, so West Point now boasts 67 Yellow Belt holders.
Bolstered by the support of local military and civilian leaders who support Lean Six Sigma training, West Point is eager to continue to train cadets, faculty, and staff in an effort to do more with less. Col. Doug McInvale, Math Professor and Master Black Belt, reflected on the recent training session, noting, “We’re just building on years of success by local operations researchers and responding to positive feedback from our recent events.” He also reported that dozens more people are on waiting lists for future training events!
The Army has been reporting cost savings and improved quality for several years as a result of Lean Six Sigma implementation, and West Point hopes to build on that success. The goal is to select a number of the new Yellow Belt holders to continue their training and become Green and Black Belt certified so more advanced problem solving principles can be introduced across the organization. In fact, plans are underway to hold a two-week Green Belt training program on campus during Summer 2017.
McInvale is optimistic about the future of Lean Six Sigma training at West Point. He explained, “Lean Six Sigma is not magic, but the philosophy and tools promote quality across many areas.” He is particularly excited about benefiting the community as a whole by connecting quality people with quality improvement achievements using local processes.
Lean Six Sigma is making a difference in the Army and at West Point and it can dramatically impact your company, too. Interested in bringing Lean Six Sigma Training to your business?