Tag: Eco-Friendly

Lean is Eco-Friendly – Coke Shows How

Today’s front page of the Toronto Star (Monday 22-Nov-09) featured an article on Coke’s new Eco-Bottle. The revolutionary plastic made from sugar cane byproducts is not biodegradable but can be 100% recycled.

Are companies beginning to understand how their product or service may be impacting the environment?  Coca Cola has taken corporate leadership to the next level.  For Coca Cola, understanding how the “complete” product affects the environment has driven tangible change to make a difference.

While Coke’s new eco-bottle is welcomed news, environmentally friendly or Eco-Friendly products are only one aspect to consider in terms of impact to the environment.  Other considerations include how and where the product is manufactured and end-of-life disposal.  At least Coke has addressed the end-of-life disposal aspect.

An extension to the manufacturing process is supply chain management from origination to the final consumer.  The transportation required to supply raw materials, produce, package, and distribute the final product  is as much a concern to the environment.

There is as much activity, if not more, in waste management and recycling than in the manufacturing and distribution processes.  Every stage or phase of a product’s life cycle generates waste in various forms.

Waste management companies are subject to the same environmental impacts through their own supply chain and distribution management, the recycling and disposal processes, and packaging of the product whether or recycled or deemed true end item waste.

Coke at least has demonstrated how large companies can take responsibility for the products they sell.  As consumers, we still have to do our part by making sure the bottle makes it to the recycling bin.

When you are the leading softdrink company in the world it follows that if you can’t improve your product then improve the packaging. We’re sure this will be part of a new marketing campaign to promote Coke as an eco-friendly company – and so it should.

From a Lean Manufacturing perspective, Coke has clearly demonstrated that Lean extends to every facet of the business – inside, outside, and beyond.  This is improving relentlessly.

Until Next Time – STAY Lean!

We are not affiliated with Coca Cola, Coke, or it’s products and services.

LEAN Environment: Waste Management and OEE

In recent years much emphasis has been placed on the state of our environment and LEAN can help our cause.  If we consider just how much energy and resources are consumed due to inefficiency and waste.  OEE is a measure of how effectively time is used as a resource; however, it does not necessarily reflect the waste that is created in other areas.

To understand the real implications of waste, we need to extend the impact outside of the manufacturing environment, beyond the factory walls.

Consider the cost of non-quality.  Scrap and rework costs are readily calculated since we know how much we pay for labour and materials.  However, we rarely consider the outside costs and potential impact to our environment.  This raises more questions than answers as these costs are beyond our realm of expertise and control.

What is the real cost of a scrap part?  How many trucks are on the road today carrying material to replace products that should have been made right the first time?  How much extra labour is incurred through the value stream to replace this material? 

What are the disposal costs associated with scrap material?  Can it be recycled?  What are the costs of recycling and what is the impact to the environment?  It is one thing to recycle products after they have served their useful purpose, but what about the costs incurred to recycle products that were simply defective and never made it to market?

How much energy and resources are wasted simply because capacity is burdened by inefficiencies in our manufacturing operations?  The costs of working overtime to manufacture parts due to “lost time” during the regular work week or to recover quality losses due to rework and scrap all have an impact on the environment.

How many employees are driving their cars to work overtime that could have been avoided or prevented?  What is the cost to work a shift of overtime at your company?  What is the cost to the environment?  How many cars made the trip to the plant burning fuel unnecessarily because of our inherent manufacturing inefficiencies and waste?

How much money is spent paying for trips to customers to replace defective material or to justify the reasons for failure?  How much expedited freight is incurred due to quality, process inefficiency, or capacity mismanagement?

We have identified many questions that should have some bearing on our social responsibilities as manufacturers or providers of goods and services.  The value stream of your products and services has an impact on the environment beyond your factory walls and affect the environments of communities around the globe.

The next time you scrap a part that was originally made offshore; consider the effort required to deliver it to your factory floor.  The implications of transporting products around the globe can’t help but stress the need to use them wisely.

Where does OEE fit into all of this?  If 100% OEE is the Ideal, then anything less is the opportunity to eliminate waste.  When we look at our operations and the problems we encounter on a daily basis we are reminded to: See, Solve, Share, and Start again.

Until Next Time – STAY Lean!