NAVSUP Graduates First Class of Lean Six Sigma Black Belts

Lean Six Sigma is an industry-proven, data-driven management approach that combines the strategy and solution set from Lean manufacturing with the cultural, organizational process, and analytical tools of Six Sigma. The goal of Lean Six Sigma is to provide higher quality products and services to our customers faster, at lower cost. A Six Sigma Black Belt leads project teams and has had in-depth training in Lean Six Sigma techniques.

Members of the first NAVSUP Black Belt graduating class hail from across the enterprise.

The graduates include: Tom Heasley from NAVSUP HQ; Dottle Basehore, Mike Beliveau, and Cathy Wiechelt from NAVICE Mechanicsburg; Elizabeth Sossaman and Irv Farmer from NAVICP Philadelphia; Steve Palmer from FISC Jacksonville; Sheryl Harts and Dianna Klein from FISC Norfolk; Nicole Davis and Joyce Jo from FISC Pearl Harbor; Mary Terry from FISC Puget Sound; Carolyn Wright from FISC San Diego; Max Crouch and Mike Klotz from FISC Yokosuka; Diane Billman, Andrew Groenenboom, Meredith Passaro, Brian Laird, Louis Marbrey, Janis Morehead, and Karen Pease from NAVSISA; and Brad Letts and Wanda Romero from NOLSC.

“Our warfighters deserve the most effective and efficient logistics delivery system possible,” said RADM Daniel H. Stone, SC, USN, Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command. “As the enabler of NAVSUP’s Products and Services transformation, Lean Six Sigma gives our enterprise the ability and agility to generate process improvements in the most intelligent, repeatable, measurable, and cost-efficient way possible.”

Drawing on lessons learned from private industry, NAVSUP leadership is challenging managers and employees across the Enterprise to embrace the Lean Six Sigma model to streamline processes, create incentives for positive change, and harvest savings to help recapitalize the Fleet.

“Lean Six Sigma strengthens employee contributions to NAVSUP in two ways; first, it allows them to concentrate on value-added work and second, gives them direct input on continuous improvement projects,” said NAVSUP Lean Six Sigma Director Steve Santos. “Lean Six Sigma also helps us do the things we do to support the warfighter as effectively and efficiently as they can possibly be done.”

What makes Lean Six Sigma different from earlier process improvement models, according to Santos, is the formal, systematic approach based upon data. It also continues to track savings for the long term. Being data driven, Lean Six Sigma is fair and objective, free from variables linked to individual biases.

NAVSUP Black Belts are deployed full-time in support of Lean Six Sigma projects. For instance, Black Belts at FISC Puget Sound are actively leading a project to reduce the cycle time for receiving hazardous material off-loads from ships.

At FISC San Diego, a team is making great progress on a project to improve procedures for booking outbound shipments of service-member’s household goods.

In Yokosuka, a “Munchie Warehouse” project team is looking closely at the costs associated with maintaining a warehouse of snack products [munchies] for our forces, at the same time these products are available through the local economy.

As the resource enabler of Sea Power 21, Sea Enterprise seeks to transform the Navy’s business processes to drive enterprisewide efficiencies. At its core, Sea Enterprise is truly about changing the way we think and how we behave. Lean Six Sigma is just one of many process improvement tools available to achieve this end. Such initiatives allow the Navy to cultivate a culture of continuous improvement, reduce operating and support costs, and maximize productivity.

“Capitalizing on these tools helps to ensure that NAVSUP can help deliver the right force, with the fight level of readiness, at the right cost both now and in the future,” notes Santos.

Prior to the “first wave” of NAVSUP Black Belts trained in house, the following folks attended commercial training and have been working Lean Six Sigma projects at NAVICP: Steve Santos, Bob Day, Regina Gebka, Mike Taylor, and Trent Roach.