NEWS | Jan. 4, 2021

Tobyhanna Army Depot using business intelligence to optimize operations

By Ms. Danielle E. Weinschenk

A new electronic dashboard is helping Tobyhanna Army Depot improve its operations.

Leadership across the organization is now using the Portfolio Performance Dashboard (PPD), which compiles production data from various sources into one, easy-to-read interface. Unlike the daily production-focused electronic production control boards, the PPD provides aggregated information related to the logistics/project management portion of the depot’s business such as cost and schedule metrics. For example, Production Management (PM) directors can view the cost performance of all depot workloads in one location visually, instead of reviewing a burdensome series of Excel spreadsheets to get the same information.

The implementation of these tools is directly aligned with Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, Toby2028, which has two separate teams focused on using business intelligence to propel the organization forward: Visual Management of Operations, led by Gary Roberts, a production division chief; and Centralized Data Analytics, led by Caleigh Pedriani, a management analyst in the PM Directorate. Together, Roberts and Pedriani’s line of effort (LOE) teams are striving to implement business intelligence in all facets of depot operations.

The PPD was developed in a cooperative effort between analytical staff from the PM Directorate and process improvement personnel from the Resource Management (RM) Directorate. They say the initiative came from a need to simplify data used for decision-making.

“Prior to us developing the PPD, managers would receive several different production reports that equated to thousands of lines of data every week,” said Olivia Corum, a management analyst in RM and one of the dashboard developers. “We knew that if we could build a tool that helped managers quickly see what information should be actionable, they could quickly identify and attack our areas of opportunity.”

The PPD was built using Tableau software, which is widely used across industry and other government organizations to improve operations. Current users praised the software’s ease of use and seemingly endless options.

“With Tableau, you can create a data visualization and set it up so you can quickly drill into the data behind it. You can also connect multiple data sources into one view, and create visualizations that show the relationships between them,” Corum said.

Jennifer Condrad is the chief of the Production Management Directorate’s C4 Program Management Division. Her team manages a vast portfolio of critical programs, including the dynamic Satellite Transportable Terminal (STT) program, a top priority for the U.S. Army Forces Command.  She says the Tableau-based PPD has been a game changer.

“The PPD has been an instrumental tool for my team. It has helped focus us on our greatest concern – potential overruns – enabling us to have data-driven conversations with the appropriate stakeholders to correct process issues.”

The PPD’s implementation yielded dramatic improvements for Condrad’s team, who saw a 44% reduction in current and projected overruns over a four-month period. Her Division also decreased the number of hours behind schedule by a whopping 56% in the same time period. Those on the other side of depot operations say they believe the PPD is equally effective at supporting production floor improvements.

“This [the PPD] is an excellent resource for the production team to see how we are performing. It is a new tool that gives you everything on one page and allows you to make better educated decisions,” said Anthony Brandi, chief of the SATCOM Division. Brandi oversees the STT production team as well as a number of other high-visibility programs.

The PPD has also been useful for reporting requirements with customers and higher headquarters, according to Edward Glinecki.

“Tobyhanna has to answer monthly to Army Materiel Command (AMC) on program overruns and what we are doing to address them. Having a weekly view of the data allows me to easily track this information,” he said, adding that the metrics targeted by the PPD directly align with areas of focus from AMC.  Glinecki works in the PM Directorate.

Toby2028 team members believe the PPD is an important part of depot growth in the future.

“Looking ahead, we plan to consolidate and transition as many reports as possible over to the visual dashboard format,” said Joseph Bilotta, a logistics management specialist and co-dashboard developer. “The goal is to give leaders and other stakeholders the intuitive tools they need to have targeted conversations that move our business forward into the future.”

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 4,000 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.