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    Army modernization program changes century-old processes at Army arsenal

    Army modernization program changes century-old processes at Army arsenal

    Photo By John Snyder | Some of the processes that were taught during this apprentice class in 1919 are now...... read more read more



    Story by John Snyder 

    Watervliet Arsenal

    WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. -- When the Arsenal went “live” in May 2016 with a new logistics program, 40 years of managing 11 independent manufacturing platforms migrated into one centralized process called the Logistics Modernization Program Increment 2.

    Scott Shadle, the Arsenal’s chief of the Business Transformation team that has the responsibility for bringing LMP on line, said at the time that the transformation would be difficult.

    “We knew it would be difficult to replace a 40-year-old system,” Shadle said. “And the difficulty would not lie so much with trying to change the culture of several generations of Arsenal workers, but in the retention of knowledge.”

    The first increment of LMP, which was implemented here in 2010, helped shape the environment for Increment 2, Shadle said. With LMP Increment 2, everything from managing special tooling for production to tracking the maintenance status of machines to identifying shortfalls in raw material inventory began to be tied into one logistics system.

    Shadle explained that his main concern last year was trying to ensure that hundreds of workers on the production floors, quality control inspection stations, and in production planning and control shops retained the LMP training that they had previously received. For some workers, it may have been months between the dates they received training to the date of implementation.

    So, here it is 12 months later and the question is: Has the second increment of LMP worked?

    “The launch of LMP 2 had a few challenges, but the Business Transformation team moved out of their offices and onto the production floors during the early months to solve problems as they arose,” said Jordan Selin, a production controller for Business Transformation. “In fact, the workforce implemented LMP 2 so well that we were able to launch a new process earlier this year called ‘digital travelers.’”

    Until this year, travelers were hard-copy documents that tracked every operation, from machining to quality control, on every product and became part of a gun records book, Selin said. As can be imagined in a manufacturing center, travelers were prone to oil and grease stains, tears, illegible entries, and were sometimes misplaced.

    But, according to Alex Gardner, an industrial engineer who works with Selin on the Business Transformation team, all those ills with travelers were cured with the digital traveler.

    “We are way ahead of schedule in incorporating LMP 2 into the Arsenal and so, the team decided to take LMP to the next level by automating the travelers,” Gardner said. “At any given moment, there are roughly 3,000 travelers that are open, and in a matter of two months, we have digitized about 1,600 of those and believe that all travelers will be digitized by this December.”

    In addition to curing the ills previously mentioned, Selin explained that there are other advantages to digitizing documents that go into gun record books for every product.

    “By inputting all machining data, to include the machinists’ remarks, we will create a common operational picture for each product or a machine,” Selin said. “If a foreman or even the director of operations wants to see the current status of a product line, he or she could simply open up the data file on their computer and get real-time information. No longer will they need to send an expediter or a runner down to the production building to find out what the status is.”

    Additional advantages to digitizing machining data is that this historical record could then be reviewed by agencies that provide government oversight, as well as by those who conduct forensic analysis for weapon-related incidents in the field, Selin said. Instead of taking months requesting such information and pulling the data together, those who have access to the gun record books could retrieve that information in a matter of minutes.

    Although digitizing the travelers is a great initial effort to enhance the benefits of LMP 2, it is only a first step, Gardner said. Within the next two years, every document in a gun records book will be digitized.



    Date Taken: 06.01.2017
    Date Posted: 06.01.2017 07:56
    Story ID: 235929

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