Open Letter to a Military Base Commander

Open Letter to the Military Base Commander

Dear Base Commander,

Create a 6+ Sigma Military, start with Suppliers. Toyota works very closely with its Suppliers. As a return on that investment, their Suppliers decrease their costs year-over-year.

Move your Suppliers into three categories:

  1. Strategic Suppliers that could benefit you with just-in-time deliveries,
  2. Strategic Suppliers that are not capable of just-in-time deliveries, and
  3. All other Suppliers.

A 6+ Sigma Military puts a major focus on the suppliers in category 1. These Suppliers are the ones that have products that get consumed relatively quickly such as food and ammunition. Also, just in time works best with products that are consumed at a consistent rate. It’s not that you don’t want a product delivered just in time is that your Supplier needs a consistent rate to optimize their production.

Above all, a contract is between you and your Suppliers, constantly pushing them to constantly increase quality.

The 6+ Sigma Military System optimizes processes from inbound requests and Suppliers to solution delivery. With Profound Knowledge of your processes, you will know which ones to improve that give you the best return. Firstly your military base consists of Value Streams which include processes that include activities. The Value Stream includes all the processes from initial request to final delivery. The Toyota Production System is based on Value Streams.

Subsequently, the Secret of The Toyota Production System is that it creates a system of winning. Everybody at Toyota is involved. The 6+ Sigma Military seeks perfection through Continuous Improvement. Their Continuous Improvement program contains three strategic advantages:

  1. It generates 11 ideas per person per year,
  2. All ideas generated are either towards a vision or challenge, and
  3. This brings everyone together to create a culture of winning.

In Conclusion

For example, the military is a system, The Toyota Production System is a 6+ sigma system. The military can benefit from the system improvement efforts the Toyota Production System delivers.

There are many more advantages to the Toyota Production System and a 6+ Sigma Military that I can mention in this short space but, as an aside, I want to make two other points:

  • Consequently Black Belts average about $1 million of savings each year, and
  • Six Sigma means 3.4 Defects per Million Opportunities or less.

Above all change marches you into the future. Let me help you Build a Six Sigma System and excel at Operational Excellence, thus creating a military environment that is the pride of the military.


Jim FitzGerald

Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt


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