WASHINGTON (Aug. 2, 2018) – The team that developed Shoreline SharePoint, an online resource to electronically file license applications, received the Army’s Lean Six Sigma Process Improvement Program Team Excellence Award in the Non-Enterprise, Non-Gated Level during a ceremony at the Pentagon July 25.
Undersecretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy, who is responsible for the effective and efficient organization of the Army’s operations and initiatives for the business transformation of the Army, presented the award to Ashley Klimaszewski, supervisory real estate specialist with the Louisville District (formerly with the Nashville District), and Kathryn Wall, Nashville District Real Estate Division realty specialist, who represented the team at the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.
Mike Abernathy, Nashville District Real Estate Division chief, represented senior leadership at the award ceremony and he said he was in awe of the event that recognized his employees for their efforts to make the organization more efficient.
“Undersecretary McCarthy said he had just come from a meeting where the nation’s debt was discussed,” Abernathy said. “He said the interest on the nation’s debt is currently more than $300 billion, which is not sustainable. He said it will take everyone’s effort in the room and in the Army to find efficiencies and savings.”
The process improvement team is recognized for developing Shoreline SharePoint, an online service the public uses to electronically file minor shoreline license applications. At the click of a button, the resource management staffs at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District lakes are able to submit these actions to the Real Estate Division located in Nashville, Tenn.
District officials report that the service has eliminated stacks of forms and paperwork and resulted in quicker turnaround times for landowners. The database now captures information for minor shoreline licenses such as electric lines, improved access, water withdrawals and water lines that relate to shoreline use from adjacent landowners.
Switching to the online digital system reduced the average processing time from five hours to 2.9 hours and cost from $321.75 to $207.70 per license. The pilot program for the online service saved taxpayers $52,000, and the financial benefits will only be multiplied as the service is replicated across the Nashville District and possibly across the Corps of Engineers.
Along with the Shoreline SharePoint database, the team implemented a more up-to-date method on how payments for minor shoreline licenses are accepted. Previously, a Nashville District customer of a minor shoreline license had to pay for the bill by mailing a personal, bank, or cashier’s check. Customers now pay at www.Pay.gov or over the phone. Payment methods accepted by Pay.gov are debit card, credit card and bank account (ACH) payments.
Eric Crafton, Nashville District Real Estate Division Management and Disposal Branch chief, said he is very proud of the effort and initiative exhibited by the team that received the LEAP award at the Pentagon.
“The technological and process innovations they developed empower multi-disciplinary project delivery teams to operate more efficiently and provide better service to their customers,” Crafton said. “I fully expect these improvements to be endorsed and incorporated throughout USACE as best practices and continue to positively impact the enterprise for many years to come.”
Klimaszewski served as the project sponsor. Wall, Realty Specialist Courtney Eason, Park Ranger Carter Robinson, Resource Manager Greg Vecchio and Reginald Beaulieu, quality and process improvement specialist, rounded out the team that worked to improve the shoreline licensing process.
Wall said the pilot program demonstrated that the online permit system improved the process. Now that Shoreline SharePoint and the new pay system have been implemented, Real Estate and Operations continue to communicate and work together for continuous improvement, she said.
"The Corps, as a whole, should be looking to create efficiencies where we can,” Wall said. “The dangers of not doing so could set us up with the inability to keep up with our ever increasing workloads."
Customer feedback has been positive, especially with being able to pay online. She said the team continues to explore ways of using technology to provide more effective services that benefit the public.
“We can’t always do business with ink and paper now. We can’t expect customers to have a checkbook available,” Wall said. “It’s much easier to pay online.”
The Army’s Lean Six Sigma Program is managed by the Continuous Process Improvement Program Office within the Business Transformation Office. It established the annual Lean Six Sigma Excellence Awards Program to recognize organizations, project teams and individuals, empower transformation of the Army’s business process, motivate individuals and organizations to aggressively pursue process improvement, and to share best practices and lessons learned.
"Lean Six Sigma is a methodology that relies on a collaborative team effort to improve performance by systematically removing waste and reducing variation within a process," said Beaulieu, who works in the Nashville District Business Integration Office.
The Nashville District manages 3,048 miles of boundary line at its 10 lakes within the Cumberland River Basin in Tennessee and Kentucky.
(For news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District go to the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)