Benchmarking and Collaboration Aids Crating at Tooele Army Depot

Tooele Army Depot recently debuted a new Box and Crate Facility to the 10th cohort of the Depot and Arsenal Executive Leadership Program (DAELP).  Keith Siniscalchi, Director of Tooele’s Ammunition Operations Directorate (AOD) and a recent DAELP graduate, planned to build a new box and crate facility at Tooele before attending DAELP in the fall of 2011.


Tooele artisans constructing boxes and crates in the new Box and Crate Facility.

Siniscalchi’s plan was refined through his experiences in DAELP:

  • Interaction with management and artisans at Marine Depot Maintenance Command – Albany, Georgia during a DAELP-sponsored benchmarking tour
  • Ideas generated during discussions with classmates to include participants from AMC, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Private Sector
  • DAELP’s Lean, Six Sigma curriculum

Siniscalchi followed through on the idea and, along with Colonel Chris Mohan, depot commander, and the Tooele Army Depot leadership team, built the new facility in the summer of 2012.

The Challenge

Tooele Army Depot required additional capacity and flexibility to design and build custom ammunition crates and shipping containers to meet the daily combat and training requirements of the warfighter.  Warfighter demands for ammunition, ammunition storage and transport, and international and domestic packaging and shipping requirements placed considerable strain on depot operations and the workforce to meet the Tooele’s support mission to the military services.  Siniscalchi’s review of the AOD processes under his direction determined that the box and crate facility had become a “bottleneck.” As a result, he leveraged his participation in DAELP to find a solution for the box and crate construction process to enhance overall production capacity, flexibility, and capability for the depot.

The Opportunity

Benchmarking, continuous process improvement tools, idea exchange, and best practice replication are integral parts of the DAELP curriculum.  During several benchmarking visits to other Department of Defense (DoD) depots and private sector facilities, Siniscalchi inquired about crate, box, and shipping container methodologies and facilities.  During those visits and discussions with the class on ways to incorporate Theory of Constraints, Lean, and design for Six Sigma methodologies, he developed a strategy to improve the process at Tooele.

The Result

Armed with a facility strategy, the continuous process improvement tools, methodologies, and execution ideas, and the help of the Tooele leadership team, Siniscalchi engaged the highly skilled, extremely knowledgeable workforce at the Tooele. As a result, the directorate was able to design and build a new box and crate facility and Tooele Army Depot which is able to better meet the needs of the warfighter through more efficiently and effectively shipping its products.

  • The new facility enables rapid materiel movement through automated cutting,
    Completed boxes in the Box and Crate Facility.

    Completed boxes in the Box and Crate Facility.

    machining, and fabrication, saving time and labor and enhances employee safety.

  • The equipment layout is designed for flexibility, standard work, and maximizes the available space to increase output and speed, as well as allowing for customized or unique manufacturing.
  • The facility was designed to incorporate raw material and finished product storage and transport to facilitate flow within the facility and manufacturing process.