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AECOM employees from projects across the Department of Energy complex and United Kingdom attempt to construct a mythical Duckbot 5000 using toy Legos during a Savannah River Remediation Lean Academy exercise held recently at the Savannah River Site.

Savannah River Remediation 'Lean' Business System Produces Results in First Full Year

July 13, 2015


AIKEN, S.C. – Employees of one of Savannah River Remediation's (SRR) parent companies, AECOM, gathered at the Savannah River Site (SRS) recently to attend SRR's Mission Excellence Lean Academy, an informational two-day school that teaches waste identification and elimination in work, while promoting continuous improvement.


Representatives from AECOM projects came from Department of Energy sites in Richland, WA, Paducah, KY, Oak Ridge, TN, and SRS. Representatives from an AECOM project in Dounreay, Scotland, and corporate offices also participated.


SRR's Lean Academy was developed to aid employees in seeking improvement as a part of their everyday work by identifying and removing waste and challenging current paradigms. Part of the event was a simulation where participants used toy Legos to construct a robotic duck (Duckbot), a mythical duck used by a mythical customer.


"Two groups of participants had to read a procedure, simulate travel to a materials center for the parts, assemble four Duckbot 5000s each in 10 minutes and have a quality inspection performed before the product was submitted to the customer," explained Laurene Rowell, SRR Mission Excellence Manager. "The simulation provided for numerous areas of waste, which were identified and eliminated by the teams."


She said during a second simulation, using Lean concepts like visual management, the participants successfully produced eight Duckbot 5000s in less than 10 minutes, proving that waste elimination can make for continuous improvement, which are core principles of Lean.


The SRR Lean Academy is being rolled out to all SRR employees beginning this summer.


SRR is completing its second year of its Lean initiative. Over 400 SRR employees have experienced Lean in 45 separate events.


Rowell explained SRR has positioned itself at the forefront of AECOM's Lean enterprise effort by becoming a resource for Lean examples and lessons learned and sharing this experience with other AECOM companies for use at their respective projects.


SRS is owned by DOE. The SRS Liquid Waste contract is managed by Savannah River Remediation, LLC, which is composed of a team of companies led by AECOM with Bechtel National, CH2M and Babcock & Wilcox. Critical subcontractors for the contract are AREVA, EnergySolutions and URS Professional Solutions.

Point of Contact: Rick Kelley , 803.208.2634




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