Green Economy: Business Transformation and Process Improvement


Continuous Process Improvement is a strategic approach for developing a culture of continuous improvement in the areas of reliability, process cycle times, costs in terms of less total resource consumption, quality, and productivity. Deployed effectively, it increases quality and productivity, while reducing waste and cycle time. The Army has embarked upon one of the largest enterprise-wide deployments of Lean Six Sigma in an effort to institutionalize the tenets of Continuous Process Improvement, a component of Business Transformation. Lean Six Sigma combines the principles of Lean (reducing and eliminating non-value activities) with Six Sigma (reducing variation, increasing quality) to improve process effectiveness and alignment with the voice of the customer.

Lean Six Sigma is a business improvement methodology that maximizes value by achieving the fastest rate of improvement in customer satisfaction, cost, quality, process speed, and invested capital. The fusion of Lean and Six Sigma improvement methods is required because:

  • Lean cannot bring a process under statistical control
  • Six Sigma alone cannot dramatically improve process speed or reduce invested capital
  • Both enable the reduction of the cost of complexity

An award-winning, world-class program applies Lean Six Sigma as a core capability in business transformation by reviewing core business processes to better support business operations, to reduce waste and to improve quality. The ultimate goal is to free human and financial resources for more compelling operational needs. Shingo Prize is a recognition for organizations demonstrating operationally excellent strategies and practices that achieve world-class results in business and public sector/government-owned facilities.

The Army’s Lean Six Sigma program has trained more than 1,450 senior leaders. As of the date of this report, the Lean Six Sigma community has completed nearly 5,200 projects, and more than 1,900 projects are currently in progress. Completed projects have yielded significant financial and operational benefits at organizations across the Army.

Senior leaders have laid out an aggressive and focused agenda on performance management in the Department of the Army. The Army adopted the Lean Six Sigma program more than five years ago to specifically help the Army overcome the unique challenges and complexities of the enterprise. In 2009, the Army submitted $96.6 million worth of projects in response to an Office of Management and Budget data call to support President Obama’s government-wide $100 million savings goal.

In fiscal year 2011 the Army is proposing to train over 3,100 people; and anticipates completing over 3,000 Lean Six Sigma projects. Additionally, the Army is establishing a cost and performance culture in which leaders better understand the full cost of the capabilities they provide and incorporate cost considerations in their planning and decision-making processes. This approach will enable the Army to more efficiently achieve its readiness and performance objectives. To support this effort, the Army is embarking on aggressive plans to provide new top-notch education and training programs for flag officers and senior civilians to give them the business acumen necessary to lead the Army enterprise.