Project Storyboard: Reducing Cycle Time for Natural Disaster Response by 50%

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been under considerable criticism and has had dissatisfied customers for many years.
Charles White (GoLeanSixSigma Green Belt) started a project to assess FEMA’s processes and to show they were in need of significant improvement.

Root Cause Analysis

  • Two bottlenecks were located at the distribution center and relief sites
  • Lack of distribution centers, personnel (mostly volunteers), and Urban Search and Rescue teams cause added lead time and extended man hours
  • Lack of communication between federal agencies, state, and local governments needs improvement and standardization.

Solutions Implemented

  1. Implement supply container system
  2. Utilize trucks and equipment made for better mobility
  3. Implement downtime prepackaging of supplies in containers
  4. Implement downtime cross-training of all supporting agencies at all levels
  5. Increase the number of Urban Search and Rescue teams to 50
  6. Improve lines of communication between all levels of government

Project Results

  • Customers reporting higher levels of satisfaction
  • Less trucks are needed to transport containers because they can drop them off and go pick up other loads
  • Pre-packaging time eliminates wait time for loading supplies
  • Communication lines improve along all levels of government
  • Container loading Lead Time has reduced from 30 minutes to 10 minutes
  • Improved cross-training reduces wait time for hurricane survivors to get supplies

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