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Letterkenny Army Depot reaches goal

February 08, 2001|By STACEY DANZUSO, Chambersburg

Letterkenny Army Depot reaches goal



CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - About 300 Letterkenny Army Depot employees on Thursday celebrated the five years of work it took to reach their goal of a select quality management certification.

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The effort began in April 1996, when under the direction of Col. James P. Fairall, a small team was formed to investigate how the depot could reduce inspections and cut costs while maintaining quality.

After several assessments and a lot of work, the depot is in compliance with the Contractor Performance Certification Program, CP(2). The program assesses the industrial base's corporate quality management system.

Letterkenny is the first Army depot with a depot-wide certified quality management system.

The process stresses a commitment to continuous improvement and world-class quality practice, while keeping in line with Department of Defense acquisition reform.

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"The fact that Letterkenny is the first depot to receive CP(2) is not a surprise," said Maj. Gen. Julian A. Sullivan Jr., Aviation Missile Commander for the Army. "Quality has long been a hallmark of this institution."

At a brief celebration Thursday, against the backdrop of a giant American flag, Sullivan and other key players in the program praised the work of depot employees.

Tony Hodgens, acting director, Engineering Directorate, Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, said when CP(2) ratings began in the 1980s, no one expected an Army depot would have the resources or money to meet the standards.

"We forgot the most important thing - the commitment of people from top to bottom," he said.

Col. Robert W. English III, depot commander, said he was proud that the employees implemented the standard on a daily basis.

"From the machine shop workers going through the recommended procedures to the dozens of employees taking time to fill out tags for equipment, when I look at that, that's walking the walk," English said.

"You produce quality products and service every day," he said. "You support an Army and soldiers out there expecting the best."

CP(2) was designed as an Army risk-management tool to assess and recognize participants who strive to be the best.

The certification is recognized throughout the Army and recognizes that suppliers with an institutionalized commitment to quality, continuous improvement and customer satisfaction have the best chance of successful participation in the program.

Sullivan also noted the hurdles workers faced in achieving success while going through a dramatic downsizing.

The post, which opened in 1941 as an ammunition dump, was included in the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Act and is in the process of turning over 1,500 acres to the Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority.

The Army will continue to maintain much of its ammunition storage and weapons-repair capability, but the downsizing included slashing Letterkenny's jobs by more than half.

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