Tobyhanna Army Depot recently held a recognition event to celebrate process improvement achievements that contributed to the Depot winning a national Shingo Prize for operational excellence. The Depot’s Miniature Multiple Threat Emitter Systems (or mini-MUTES) team earned a Shingo Silver Medallion for their attainment of significant cost savings, lead time reductions and efficiency improvements within the mini-MUTES value stream through the application of Lean Six Sigma techniques over a 6-year time horizon. Several other Depot teams and divisions were also recognized for their outstanding contributions to the mini-MUTES process improvement efforts.

The Depot began to apply Lean Six Sigma principles to the mini-MUTES value stream in 2005 and has seen dramatic results, including a 50 percent decrease in repair cycle time and a 30 percent reduction in average direct labor hours per unit. The Depot also reported $1.53 million of cost avoidance within the mini-MUTES value stream since 2005 and $2.8 million of cost savings in fiscal year 2011 alone.

NEPIRC assisted Tobyhanna Army Depot in the launch of its Lean Enterprise journey through the provision of Depot-wide employee training on Lean Principles and Workplace Organization & Standardization. The Depot also participated in NEPIRC’s Six Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt programs and is an active member of its current Process Improvement Consortium.

The mini-MUTES system is an Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) tracking and training simulator that provides realistic threat signals for pilots and aircrews as part of their comprehensive combat-readiness training regimen. The system can replicate threats such as surface-to-air missiles, early warning radar systems, anti-aircraft artillery and airborne intercept systems.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is the Defense Department’s largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide array of electronics systems and components. Nearly 5,600 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna Army Depot, making it one of the region’s largest employers as well.