Article Revised: March 27, 2019
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan —
Military logistics operations are centered on providing the best possible service to their customers. Ensuring the best possible service to soldiers downrange is the priority of every logistics leader. One deployed unit is providing their soldiers an opportunity to learn new ways to improve logistic capabilities. The Task Force Resolute command provides a Lean Six Sigma course at the U.S. Forces Afghanistan conference room on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
“Through Lean Six Sigma, soldiers and leaders will learn how to properly manage time and resources while delivering a top quality product the first time,” said Chief Warrant Officer Jackie Vuorinen, the TF-Resolute safety officer. “This is a program all soldiers can use to save Army resources while providing higher quality products.”
It’s only natural that the Task Force Resolute command use Lean Six Sigma. After all, providing military logistics is a complex process and, like any process, it can be improved. The current best practice for improving complex processes is Lean Six Sigma. Soldiers are being taught the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt body of knowledge. The most fundamental principal taught by the “Green Belt” course is to center the students thinking to several key concepts: define, measure, analyze, improve and control.
The soldier begins by defining a need within their organization centered around quality, cost or timing. The need must be clearly stated through a quantifiable unit such as units shipped, number of products delivered in a sub-standard state or the amount of time it takes to bring a product to the customer. Soldiers measure all their statistics through historical data. The data is analyzed and the implications of faults within the organizations system are used to determine methods of improvement. These methods are implemented and used to create a steady improvement in service to the end customer.
Perhaps the effectiveness of the approach is why, according to the DVIDs website story, that students strongly recommend the course to all leaders and soldiers. In truth, this is the standard Lean Six Sigma approach applied in the context of military logistics. Let’s hope that the word spreads.