Tag: Environment

Unplugged – Earth Hour – 2012

The Earth – Unplugged

EARTH HOUR is now an annual event that is embraced around the globe.  For at least one hour, we will have the opportunity to “unplug” ourselves from the world to ponder and increase our awareness of how our “activities of daily living” can make a difference to the environment we live in.

Measuring Change

While the benefits of turning off the world for an hour are difficult to measure in the immediate sense, the longer term affect or impact will be determined and governed by our thinking first and actions second.

We have all learned to embrace the three (3) R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – as evidenced by the blue bins that regularly grace our streets on “recycling” day. We all make a personal effort to painstakingly separate items into various categories of “waste” to better serve the recycling process.

Companies have also taken a greater sense of responsibility for providing “green” or “earth friendly” products although, in many cases, the effort has more to do with the packaging than that of the product itself. Here in Ontario, Canada, our provincial government has imposed “environmental fees” on various products – such as electronics – to further support recycling programs. Locally, in and around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), plastic bags are subject to a fee of $0.05 each to curb consumers from using them.

From an energy perspective, we have been introduced to fully electric and hybrid cars. Nuclear energy and new sources of electricity such as wind mills and solar panels have replaced coal fired plants. Even my Logitech K750 keyboard is solar powered!

Behavior Changes

Sporadic record breaking high temperatures have marked this past winter as anything but Canadian. For some, climate change is cause enough to be an Earth Hour participant. I, however, believe that managing our finite resources in a more efficient and effective manner is something to think about and worthy of an hour of my time.

Behaviors must change, however, to do so requires us to first change our thinking. From a lean perspective, Earth Hour serves as a reminder to pursue perfection and pure value through the relentless elimination of waste. We can do so much more and all we need to do is take at least one hour to think about it – starting now.  There is always and better way and more than one solution.

Earth Hour will commence from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm EST on Saturday, March 31, 2012.

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

Advertisements

Get Lean for Earth Day! OEE Required.

Being accountable to society as responsible manufacturers, it only seems natural that lean is green – by design.

We encourage you to visit our Lean Environment page to gain a greater appreciation for how lean can help our environment and the bottom line.  (You can also see our Lean Environment page at the following address:  https://leanexecution.wordpress.com/lean-environment/ )

Being responsible stewards of our resources is part of being good corporate citizens.  It is unfortunate how much waste is, or can be, generated by our operations.  Of course we would also suggest that OEE could be an indicator of how well we embrace our environmental responsibilities.  Effective use of our resources can only be beneficial to the environment.

As a final note, those manufacturers who are also responsible for the design and packaging of their product or service need to understand their environmental responsibilities as well.  A recent television program focused on the disposal of electronics and the hazards that are created as a result.  We would suggest that the same could be true for other “high level technologies” such as automobiles.

What would the world look like if the creators and distributors of the products they sell were also responsible for the disposal and recycling of these products after they have served their useful life.  Perhaps as consumers, we too need to think about the end of life disposal of the products we buy – before we buy them.  Disposable diapers can’t be environmentally friendly – can they?

Wasted packaging, wasted transportation, wasted energy, all for the sake of anti-theft protection, advertising, and, of course, sales.

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

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!

"Click"