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CAMP CASEY, South Korea — Ken Schlueter and Oscar Lara didn’t need to reinvent the wheel to save time and money.

All they had to do was question conventional wisdom.

Whenever Schlueter asked, everyone said that the status of forces agreement required personnel to visit the Camp Kim office in Seoul to re-register their personal vehicles.

In light traffic, that’s a 90-minute one-way drive from Dongducheon.

Possibly as early as Sept. 7, drivers will be able to re-register their vehicles at Maude Hall on Camp Casey, which Schlueter, transition services program administrator in Area I, calculated will save an estimated $34,000 in annual labor hours.

Schlueter also is a trained “green belt” under the Lean Six Sigma program being developed in South Korea and throughout the Army.

Six Sigma refers to the theory that a process should not have more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. It’s a small-group-oriented approach taken from the business world to save money and time or improve quality.

Schlueter proposed the car registration change at a stateside Six Sigma training session in April. When he returned, he surveyed 133 people with personal vehicles, 100 of whom responded. Of that group, 98 people liked the idea.

The other two people apparently liked driving to Camp Kim — part of U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan — he said.

On average, each person spent about six hours re-registering their vehicle in Seoul, according to the survey.

Schlueter then turned to access-control officer Lara, who already was looking into the idea.

Lara ordered upgraded Defense Biometric Identification System scanners and equipment, which can be used for vehicle registration.

“The new system will be a lot quicker, and we’ll be able to handle a larger load,” Lara said.

However, anyone registering their vehicle for the first time or de-registering their vehicle still will have to do it in Seoul, Schlueter said.

A South Korean Department of Motor Vehicles employee must approve both transactions, and bringing a DMV employee to Dongducheon proved too costly, Schlueter said.

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