HMMWV production reaches new milestone
Red River Army Depot employees are making history. The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or Humvee, recapitalization production facility is able to produce over 40 vehicles per day.
"Forty a day -- that's incredible," said Col. Doyle Lassitter, Red River Army Depot commander. "There will be books written in the future that will include this workforce by name of what you have accomplished. This will go down in history as one of the great accomplishments of the Red River Army Depot."
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The depot received $680 million in June 2011 to repair 6,200 M1151 up-armored Humvees. Repairs on the vehicles began in September 2011 and thus far approximately 4,200 of those vehicles are complete.
The depot's goal is to complete the remainder of the Humvees within the first quarter of fiscal year 2013.
RRAD Commander Col. Doyle Lassitter climbed a work ladder Thursday, Sept. 27 to address first and second shift employees of the Humvee production facility.
"This cannot happen by just one section, one division or one branch being successful," said Lassitter as he spoke to the first shift employees. "This can only happen if everyone across the depot works together. We appreciate very much your dedication to duty. It is tremendously hard what you do and you make it look easy."
RRAD is designated as the Secretary of the Army Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence for the Humvee as well as other tactical and combat vehicles.
Lassitter said when a Humvee leaves the assembly line it is "zero miles/zero hours" meaning it's a new vehicle.
"Once we finish the vehicles they are pushed out to various Army, National Guard and Army Reserve units so that Soldiers have the equipment readily available to conduct training in preparation for deployment."
The depot began its first Humvee program in March 2004. The original production line was set up as a bay style where employees would disassemble and reassemble one vehicle in the same bay area. The production facility was only able to produce three vehicles per week by the end of July 2004.
"I remember in the early stages of the Humvee program we were having a hard time getting one vehicle complete in a week," said Rodney Davis, supervisor for Humvee Commodity Center #2. Davis has been a part of the Humvee program since its inception at Red River.
"We have come such a long way," he said. "It's amazing what these guys and ladies can do in one shift. We are now producing over 40 up armored Humvees, which is a much harder to complete than just a regular Humvee."
With the demands of the war in Iraq, the Department of the Army tasked Red River to increase Humvee production. By the end of July 2004, Red River team members became engaged in lean manufacturing to help speed up production of the vehicles. Through lean techniques, Red River revamped the entire repair process changing it from bay style to a flow assembly line. Each vehicle now moved down a production line with a different repair function carried out at each station.
The flow process helped increase production to 12 vehicles per day by the end of 2004.
Red River didn't stop there.
By September 2006, the production facility was able to produce 32 vehicles per day. RRAD celebrated the production of its 10,000th Humvee less than a year later in June 2007.
Evolution of the Humvee recapitalization production line has exemplified waste elimination and constant improvements.
"Achieving 40 vehicles per day is a great testimony to the flexibility of our workforce," said Lassitter. "The nation benefits from this because we can take a vehicle and extend its life expectancy at a reduced cost to buying a new vehicle. It's a cost savings to the Department of Defense and to our taxpayers."
To reach 40 vehicles per day, depot employees again used Lean principles to produce more vehicles while still providing America's armed forces with quality equipment.
"It was an uphill battle that took a concerted effort from everyone," said Joe Johnson, maintenance management specialist and former program manager for Humvee. "I realized that this would be a great accomplishment for the depot, but I didn't realize the visibility it would get from organizations outside of Red River. Something like this definitely gives you a great sense of job satisfaction. We're here for the Soldier."
In September, the depot reached another milestone achieving over $1 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2012.
"Reaching revenue of this magnitude shows the dedication of the entire workforce to our warfighters, our nation and our depot," said Lassitter. "You all should be extremely proud of what we have accomplished during the last 12 months. As commander, I recognize the commitment of our team members to go above and beyond to help protect the men and women who defend our country."
In addition to the Humvee facility, RRAD also houses the only facility within the Department of Defense capable of re-manufacturing road wheels and track. The depot also repairs the mine resistant, ambush protected vehicle, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle System, the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles, the Multiple Launch Rocket System as well as other tactical wheeled vehicles and secondary items.
By Adrienne Brown, AMC
Source : US Army