Open Letter to a Military Base Commander

Open Letter to the Military Base Commander

Dear Base Commander:

Firstly, let me paint a picture of your future Military System after implementing the expertise of the Toyota Production System. The advantages of a maniacal  focus on processes:

  • Everyone in the Military System is directed toward success,
  • Subsequently, the Military System focuses on the value they produce,
  • Suppliers work to create a just-in-time system where they can decrease your costs,
  • Above all, constantly require suppliers to increase Sigma,
  • All smaller but often purchased items can be put into a double bin system to decrease inventory costs and increase availability,
  • Seek Perfection:
    1. At a rate of about 1 idea a month,
    2. Management focuses ideas in a defined direction,
    3. Toyota will not expand to a new plant unless they have a critical mass of employees that know this procedure,
    4. This is how come no competitor will ever catch Toyota, and
    5. Your culture changes to one of winning.
  • Increase process speed and minimize inventory waste using the Pull Methodology,
  • Everyone on the service or product line becomes a quality inspector through the use of andon:
    1. andon is the stoppage of a system when a defect is detected,
    2. Continuously remove defects,
    3. Toyota still receives about 800 andon stops per year per manufacturing plant, and
    4. Toyota has a strategy to minimize the impact of stoppages.
  • Implement Lean Six Sigma to:
    1. Above all, increase process velocity,
    2. Decrease process costs, and
    3. In addition, increase process quality.
  • Report success metrics to management, and
  • Your organization no longer worries about the competition but welcomes them. Your System will get stronger year after year.

Finally, The Toyota Production System is a 6+ Sigma System and there’s no reason how come your Military System cannot strive for that level of performance. The above list is but a short summary of how your future Military System will function.


Jim FitzGerald

Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt


Apply the Tools of The 6+ Sigma Toyota Production System to the Military System.