By Thomas Perry
DCMA Public Affairs
Tucked away in a bastion of aerospace technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Defense Contract Management Agency Dayton has been on a mission to improve internal business process, to spur leadership development and to deliver acquisition insight by growing a structured problem solving culture.
“Dayton is the lead platform command for worldwide oversight of contract field teams supporting aircraft maintenance for all services, as well as the Air Force flight simulator and landing gear programs,” said Air Force Col. Eric Obergfell, Dayton’s commander. “In addition, our team administers over 8,000 Army, Navy, Air Force and Defense Logistics Agency weapon system component production and repair contracts to enable our nation to project power.”
Believing their global mission would only continue to improve if they clearly defined focus areas, the Dayton leadership team went to work in November 2015 to prioritize their gaps in performance and meeting employee expectations. The team came up with five focus areas. Jason Edem, Dayton’s Engineering and Manufacturing director, took the lead matching trained Lean Six Sigma Green Belt candidates with the focus area problems they were most interested in solving.
“The goal of this program was to align our (contract management office) focus areas where we were striving for process improvement with our trained cadre of Green Belt candidates, which resulted in a win-win for the CMO and employee,” said Edem, who managed the CMO’s entire continuous process improvement effort. “The CMO would get improved processes and the employee would be able to complete their project and get LSS Green Belt certified.”
The Dayton team’s original five focus areas included: increasing on-time delivery; defining a battle rhythm; improving professional development; exceeding firm fixed price contract closeout goals; and leveraging DCMA 360 for records management. Once results started to come in additional focus areas were identified to include: Raytheon on-time delivery; centralize contract administration execution and on-time delivery and repair; first article test; and service as supply.
With opportunities for leadership and participation abound, more than 50 Dayton team members dedicated their knowledge and time to leverage the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control, or DMAIC, problem solving process to create sustainable results. Recently, four of these projects came to fruition under the leadership of Douglas Conner, Mathew Duguid, Kristina Bond and David Miller.
“We have a lot of superstars in our CMO,” said Obergfell. “Doug led a team to create discipline and transparency in our battle rhythm. His team saved the CMO over $30,000 a year by creating focus for CMO level meetings throughout the year. Matt took on a project to improve and stabilize our on-time delivery. His team has totally revolutionized how we do business, moving us to predictive modeling to prioritize our multifunctional teams’ engagement with contractors and program offices. Kristina led a team to improve our firm fixed price contract closeout performance by 59 percent. David’s team implemented monthly leadership development seminars which are attracting over 70 engaged team members every month.”
Conner said he learned a great deal about the battle rhythm of his senior leaders during his project. “Based on our survey results, we saw an improvement regarding satisfaction with content, format, frequency and the presentation of actionable data able to affect CMO performance at leadership meetings. We also saw a reduction in the average amount of time spent preparing data for these meetings.”
According to leadership, one of the most far reaching results so far has come from the team defining the process for centralized contract administration. Matt Skelly, a contracting Keystone, led the team to define an agency-level process for transferring specific contracts from CMO to CMO when it is determined that one command should be the lead for the agency for a specific program.
“Matt’s team has worked through the details on agency level information technology systems to enable effective workload transfer in conjunction with Letters of Delegation to consolidate work that would have been spread over 22 CMOs,” said Obergfell. “The process gives one voice to the program office while driving significant cost savings for both the program and DCMA.”
Obergfell is quick to credit all of his team members who have, and continue to contribute, to individual projects, but he specifically championed two contributors when speaking about the success of the overall program.
“Jason Edem is truly an amazing leader,” Obergfell said. “He is managing our Green Belt program and has done an outstanding job helping us link the right Green Belt candidates with the right projects. Jason understands that I am willing to take risks in breaking things now to create a better future and has mentored our folks leading the teams to be aggressive in defining future business processes.”
The second champion doesn’t live in Ohio. He is part of the headquarters staff at DCMA in Fort Lee, Virginia, and he fully embraces LSS principles.
“Through the Green Belt certification process the DCMA CPI team has a structure that creates a safety net to help our motivated volunteers apply a repeatable analytical approach,” Obergfell said. “I am very grateful for the mentoring and leadership provided by Andrew Miskovich and the entire DCMA CPI team.”
With a couple projects still ongoing and new ones in development, Miskovich believes the culture change at DCMA Dayton will increase their efficiency and effectiveness in meeting their CMO objectives.
“A successful Lean Six Sigma program requires buy-in throughout the leadership chain. Col. Obergfell’s involvement in getting this program off the ground has been outstanding,” said Miskovich, the agency’s continuous process improvement deployment director. “His leadership and time invested in each of these projects by serving as the project champion has been invaluable to the program.”
According to Obergfell, the CMO is planning to build on the program’s success in 2017 by hosting Green Belt training in Cleveland to increase belt certifications, establish internal Black Belt train-the-trainer capability and send three high performers to Black Belt training.
“We already have several more trained Green Belts hungry for opportunities to lead teams in problem solving; our continued investment in training will help drive the culture we are seeking,” Obergfell said.
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