Photo provided Lt. Cmdr. Cindy Butler, a Lean and Six Sigma Master Black Belt, addresses the national 2011 Lean and Six Sigma Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., held Feb. 28 and March 1.


Tactical Training Group Atlantic (TTGL) sent their Lean and Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Lt. Cmdr. Cindy Butler, to speak at the national 2011 Lean and Six Sigma Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., held Feb. 28 and March 1. Butler was selected to speak at the conference as the result of her successful project at TTGL and her presentation was titled, "Growing Six Sigma without Sacrificing Requirements."

Butler received her Lean and Six Sigma Master Black Belt, the highest certification in the Lean and Six Sigma hierarchy, for process improvement in July 2010. Butler is also a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile instructor and mentor at TTGL.

"It was with great pride that I represented TTGL at this national conference and hope to incorporate many more aspects of Lean and Six Sigma at TTGL in the future," said Butler.

The presentation garnered a lot of attention as one of two military-centric briefs; this one was the only given by an active duty military officer.

TTGL made its formal entry into the world of Lean and Six Sigma with a one-day Kaizen event in January 2010. Kaizen (pronounced ki-zen) is a Japanese word constructed from two components; the first of which represents change and the second, goodness or virtue. Kaizen is commonly used to indicate the long-term betterment of something or someone (continuous improvement).


TTGL looked at avenues to embrace Lean and Six Sigma without sacrificing training requirements or the Navy’s procedural requirements, such as security. The objective was to bring strike group staffs into the building for warfare commanders conferences more quickly, smoothly, and without sacrificing requirements, such as security clearances, training requirements and meeting deliverable due dates. This presentation discussed, at a basic level, how a Navy training command, using the DoD instruction regarding implementation and management of continuous process improvement and Lean Six Sigma, but little knowledge of Lean Six Sigma, was inspired to examine their repetitive, internal processes for areas to establish formal paths of communication between process owners, manage customer expectations while meeting their requirements, and create a climate of process improvement through training and conducting of a one-day Kaizen event.

After reviewing DoD Instruction 5010.43, Implementation and Management of the DoD-Wide Continuous Process Improvement/Lean Six Sigma (CPI/LSS) Program, which establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides guidance for the DoD-wide implementation of the CPI/LSS program, it was noted the targeting training of having 5 percent of the command trained as Lean Six Sigma Green Belts and 1 percent trained as Lean Six Sigma Black Belts, was not met at TTGL.

To compensate,TTGL conducted three Lean and Six Sigma training sessions concentrating on overall familiarity of Lean Six Sigma, supplier-input-process output-customer (SIPOC) creation and usage, and value stream mapping. TTGL conducted a Kaizen event with the overall purpose being to make the process of coming to the command less difficult for the customer, reducing wait time for check-in, assigning parking spaces more accurately for senior officers in advance, and ensuring security clearances were on file before arrival.

There were three important learning outcomes. First, integrating and reinforcing Lean Six Sigma language and practices as part of the command culture is essential to keep personnel from sliding back into old habits or the previous status quo. Second, TTGL identified and corrected areas of non-communication,ensuring the training audience (customers) had a more efficient experience accessing the training facility. Third, the lack of communication in current command practices of bringing staff in for training events through value stream mapping and transitioned from a single point of interaction between two processes to seven clearly-defined points of interaction between five primary processes.

Although relating Lean and Six Sigma tools to current Navy practices and procedures provided a clearer understanding for command personnel, essentially breaking the "language barriers" and increasing integration of Lean Six Sigma practices, is needed for continual command Lean and Six Sigma training.

During the Phoenix conference, Butler garnered new insights into Lean and Six Sigma trends from industry during the conference and continues to help Tactical Training Group Atlantic with process improvement on all levels.

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