Hold the Date – 3rd Annual NZ CI Conference – 30th August 2017

Join us on the 30th August for the third annual Continuous Improvement Conference hosted at Massey University in Albany.

Building on the success of the past two events we are looking to bring you a great event, and a chance to network and learn from others

Our event also features the NZ book launch of 4 + 1: Embedding a Culture of Continuous Improvement in Financial Services by Dr Morgan L. Jones, Chris Butterworth & Brenton Harder

We are in the early stages of lining up a great selection of key note speakers and stream activities including additional speakers and workshop activities to make the day informative, engaging and fun. Our current line up includes:

Dr Morgan Jones – Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Paul Salmon – Lean IT

Chris Till – HR Institute NZ

Farah Palmer – Former Captain, Black Ferms

Adam Bentley – Countdown Supermarkets

Rob McGee – Auckland Leisure

We are finalising the full programme this month and aim to have the full details ready in early March.

So mark the diary and join us on the 30th August to join the throng!

Creating a Lean and Green Business System

Things that are good for the planet are also good for business. Numerous studies from the likes of the Economist Intelligence Unit, Harvard, MIT Sloan, and others indicate that organizations that commit to goals of zero waste, zero harmful emissions, and zero use of nonrenewable resources clearly outperform their competition.

Like lean thinking, greening your business is not just a ‘nice to have’; at least not anymore. It is now a key economic driver for many forward looking firms. This book is packed with case studies and examples that illustrate how leading firms use lean and green as simultaneous sources of inspiration in various sectors of industry – from automotive and retail to textile and brewing. Take Toyota as an example, the holy grail of economic efficiency for decades. This book, shows that Toyota tops the green chart too, describing Toyota’s notion of Monozukuri: sustainable manufacturing.

Creating a Lean and Green Business System: Techniques for Improving Profits and Sustainability offers opportunities for innovation that can simultaneously reduce dependence on natural resources and enhance global prosperity. It explores less understood aspects of lean and green – discussing their evolution independently as well as the opportunities that exist in their integration, highlighting the importance of a cultural shift across the whole company.

Outlining a systematic way to eliminate harmful waste while generating green value, the book explains how to:

  • Become economically successful and environmentally sustainable by adopting the lean and green business system model
  • Adopt a systematic approach to become lean and green, and develop your own roadmap to success
  • Use the cutting edge tools, techniques, and methodologies developed by the authors
  • Translate the techniques and culture that underpin lean into environmental improvements

Creating a Lean and Green Business System: Techniques for Improving Profits and Sustainability supplies a new way of thinking that will allow you to boost improvement efforts and create a positively charged work environment – while contributing to the long-term well-being of the environment.

Purchase this book.

Your opportunity to join the newly formed Lean and Sustainable Industry Consortium

A unique opportunity to collaborate with like-minded organisations and leading thinkers on Lean and Sustainable issues has emerged.

The next GEMBA exchange is being held at the Vaillant group on the 3rd March. The Vaillant Group were the winners of the best Factory Award for 2015. They are at the forefront of sustainability management and have set a benchmark in the areas of ecological, economical and social sustainability. The agenda for this meeting can be viewed by opening the agenda PDF.

Membership in this network provides you and your organisation the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded individuals in a safe, engaging and open environment. The consortium’s vision is to form a selective group of senior industry players who are currently leading the creation of leaner and greener business practices within their companies. This will be a small group of around 15 leading edge organizations, coming together regularly to build a global lean and green community. There are a number of key benefits for the members:

  • Participation in the consortium events such as quarterly facilitated “Gemba exchanges”, online forums and regular seminars.
  • First hand observation of how other businesses, from diverse sectors, create lean and green and how they sustain the results.
  • Facilitated “lean and green maturity assessment” for your selected sites and creation of your own bespoke lean and green business roadmap where needed.
  • Credibility of thought leadership and university collaboration.
  • Opportunity to influence the direction of your own business as well as being directly involved in shaping the direction of “lean and green business” on the global stage.
  • Staff training and Gemba coaching opportunities. All members will be offered to go through the Lean & Green training programme accredited through Cardiff University.
  • Access to lean and green experts and facilitators, expert trainers and training material, tools, and cutting edge of knowledge.

The Lean and Sustainable Industry Consortium is owned by its member organisations and will be governed by a board directors consisting of the ‘Lean and Green’ Shingo award winning authors, Andy Wood (Chairman), Hunter Lovins, Keivan Zokaei and Prof. Peter Hines.

To find out more about this opportunity, download the PDF benefits document.

You can also contact Keivan Zockaei at keivan.zokaei@sapartners.com, or call him on +44 (0)7966 299598

Hunter Lovins Writes about Reinventing our Economy:

A corporate commitment to behaving more sustainably is ever more important. As news from the scientists gets grimmer – September was the hottest month ever on record; New Scientist’s recent report showed that the world is warming faster than previously believed, and the new IPCC report will say much the same – people need somewhere to turn for hope. From the recent Dark Mountain article in the Guardian to advocates of “Near-term human extinction” claiming that global warming will end human history by 2050, people are giving up. If they do, the catastrophists will get to be right.

Corporate leaders are needed now more than ever to implement what we know: we have all of the technology that we need to solve all of the challenges facing humankind, and do so at a profit. Books like Peter Diamondis’ book Abundance, Jigar Shah’s Creating Climate Wealth and my book, The Way Out: Kickstarting Capitalism To Save Our Economic Ass all show that moving smartly to solve the climate crisis will deliver better returns than business as usual.

Dr. Mark Jacobson, the Stanford Professor who showed that the world can meet its needs for energy solely through renewable energy, has created the Solutions Project to detail how every state in the US can achieve energy sufficiency, while moving off fossil fuels.

Agriculturalists from Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, to Allan Savory, are showing that properly done, farming and ranching can increase profits and pull carbon from the air, returning it to the soil where it nourishes life.

Walter Stahel’s approach of the Circular Economy is now being shown to be dramatically more profitable for business, create jobs and save at least $1 trillion per year.

Time grows short. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution? Our book Creating a Lean and Green Business System can show you how you can grow your profits while solving the challenges. Join us….

Going Lean & Green

Its 1997 I am making technical engineered plastic moulded parts and assemblies- I am striving to be the third Company in Wales to achieve ISO14001 and shoot up the charts in the Rover supplier Association. dreams of winning exclusive rights to the MG windscreen wash system beckoned. I have no idea what ISO14001 is all about- but RG2000 stated I had to create an “Environmental Management System”….so I went on a few courses run by the local Tree Huggers and was introduced to the term Mass Balance whilst developing a taste for vegan coleslaw.

image of cloeslaw in bowl

We had previously been on a three year quest to develop a “Continuous improvement programme focusing on waste reduction with the order fulfilment process” and had wrestled with various Japanese techniques that all had acronyms and involved lots of floor marking tape, graphs, labels and taking photographs of everything. Continuous improvement had become a task something we show cased for our customers- if I am honest with myself- it looked pretty, it was safer, it ran faster, but I am not sure it was saving that much.

Mass balance talked about understanding your inputs to minimise your outputs- only use what you have to, don’t use anything unless its essential, make sure everything you use is working properly, consider all inputs – i.e. people, materials, environment etc. If you can balance these correctly you should reduce your outputs and so lessen your impact on the environment. Less cardboard in the skips, less oil in the barrel, less water down the drain etc.

Makes sense doesn’t it?  What I realised was – it doesn’t only reduce your environmental impacts it also reduces the impact on your P+L. So we had a look at our “Continuous improvement programme focusing waste reduction in the order fulfilment process” and opened it up a bit to include and “Environmental Management System”

image of injection moulding machine

Running an injection moulding machine needs the following 8 elements:

  1. A big shed to put everything in
  2. Plastic
  3. Some electricity
  4. A machine
  5. A mould to make the parts
  6. Some people
  7. Water to cool the mould
  8. Packaging to put the parts in
  9. Somewhere to store the stuff
  10. A van to deliver the stuff to the customer

Our “Continuous improvement programme focusing on waste reduction with the order fulfilment process” had focused only on making things faster (i.e. elements 4, 5, 6 above). By looking at the mass balance we developed a deeper focus on waste within the operation:

  • A big shed to put everything in – Our big shed was lit by poor lighting – which was expensive and made inspection difficult.  Working with the local government we were able to secure a grant to replace our lighting and improve our inspection. The layout in the big shed was awful – covering an area of around 4 football pitches our forklift actually managed to travel over 250 miles in one week. We improved flow and location of materials and reduced this to under 20 per week – forklift driver became our stores manager – drank more tea and built more spreadhseets- life complete
  • Plastic – Our plastic was delivered in 25kg bags – which would split and give us cleaning issues.  We changed from bags to returnable bins with our suppliers – massively reducing handling and disposal costs whilst making the process less labour reliant. Creation of kanbans, buffer stocks and training programmes enabled us to manage materials and storage far better.  We ended up buying the plastic cheaper than before – don’t tell the customer though – keep the savings for us!
  • Some electricity – Nobody looked at the electric bill – it just happened. We analysed machines and found that we could reduce heat loss by lagging barrels with jackets, running certain machines 24/7 and managing our planning better so changeovers were optimised. Also see the next point below- running the machines more efficiently took less electricity – happy days!
  • A machine – if the machine breaks down we cannot make stuff.  We developed a machine maintenance programme that ensured we had appropriate spares and that machine ran at their optimum rates. People were developed to carry out routine maintenance so enabling consistency of operation.  Machines available and running to plan – life is better!
  • A mould to make the parts – moulds were not maintained properly.  We found missing cavities, damaged cavities – average machine performance was around 55% OEE, a development programme was created looking at each machine.  An average OEE of 75% was created – Not WORLD CLASS but definitely WELSH CLASS!
  • Some people – training had been neglected.  People were operators or setters.  Operators owned production whilst setters owned moulds machines.  Operators couldn’t care less about machines and moulds setters couldn’t care about operators – so change the roles and everyone owns production – everyone owns OEE- even the English were proud to be WELSH CLASS!
  • Water to cool the mould – the water cooling system was full of leaks which endlessly had to be mopped up- what a pain!  But is worse than that, if the water is leaking it’s not doing what it should – so we set about fixing all water leaks enabling the system to run at its best. Saving water to make cash flow!
  • Packaging to put the parts in – excessive use of cardboard.  The introduction of recyclables – plastic recyclables repaying for themselves after 6 trips (2 months) – Pack up your troubles!
  • Somewhere to store the stuff – the old philosophy was ‘if its running keep it going’.  Now only make what we can sell – big cash impact and reduction in floor space required – a place for everything!
  • A van to deliver the stuff to the customer – train the van driver to talk to the customer, visit the line and understand what is happening – listen to our customers!

So by adopting a wider approach to waste management and fully understanding the wider inputs to the process savings can be made across the organisation. We probably overdid it on the input side as the ISO14001 Auditor gave us a tough time at the audit.  He wanted to see more around waste segregation, bunds and emergency response systems.  I remember debating the merits of spending our time managing waste versus segregating waste produced – unfortunately he was the auditor so we went out and bought a load of stuff.

Great story, happy ending? Yes in a way we achieved ISO14001, thought differently, saved a ton of cash but then Rover went bust – still the Medical Device boys liked what we’d done and it helped us open up that market.

New Lean and Green Qualification

Lean & Green Production Systems have become the new paradigm for excellence in value generation and delivery for the most competitive companies in the world.

A Lean & Green Production System can be defined as a system designed for improving operational efficiency and sustainability simultaneously in order to enhance radically the ability of either an organisation or a supply chain for generating and delivering value to its customers and to the society as a whole.

The Master in Lean & Green Supply Chains (http://leanandgreenmaster.com/en/) of the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) is a joint initiative of a UPM team, led by Prof. Joaquín Fuentes-Pila, and Dr. Keivan Zokaei (of S A Partners and Enterprize Excellence who is also a visiting professor at UPM). The Masters degree, which is delivered in both English and Spanish, is attracting leading-edge companies which desire to train their next generation lean and green thinker executives.

On 14th July, Joaquin and Keivan delivered an interactive workshop involving graduate students, industry experts and professors at UPM. This was an opportunity to openly discuss the most critical lean & green opportunities across different industries. UPM are currently accepting applications for this Masters degree (delivered in both English and Spanish).

S A Partners are running a 2 day workshop and free webinar on going Lean and Green, both run by Keivan Zokaei.

Next Lean & Green Consortium GEMBA in June

After the very successful visit to Assa Abloy in February, the next Lean & Green Consortium GEMBA exchange will be held on the 2nd June at Accolade wines.

The consortium visited Assa Abloy’s plant in Wolverhampton on the 25th February. Notable was that Assa’s site is a significant manufacturing footprint and “not just a warehouse for goods from China”. This has been achieved through streamlining the operations and at a finance level through aggressive acquisitions and amalgamation of operations at division level. Following a predefined agenda the group visited the Gemba and spent time with Assa management team to dive deep into their operations.

Several Key areas were identified and discussed during the visit with lots of positive points observed about ASSA’s plant in terms of change readiness and improvement already carried out. The members left feeling very positive and now look forward to the next visit at Vale, in Clydach Swansea, who are Shingo Medallion winners.

To find out about the Lean & Green Consrtium you can download the brochure or visit the consortium page.

Keivan Zokaei writes about Lean & Green for the Lean Management Journal

Keivan Zokaei has recently completed a book on Lean and Green together with Hunter Lovins, Andy Wood and our own Peter Hines. As a result of this I had the pleasure of writing a third article on Lean and Green yet, there are still too many companies out there that delay the integration of green into their lean operations, arguing that investment in green will disadvantage them against the competition.

If you are a manager and you still don’t have a solid plan for going green or, even worse, if you are in doubt whether going green pays off, have a look at companies like Toyota, WalMart, DuPont, Tesco, Unilever, Marks and Spencer and General Electric, all of whom have invested heavily in greening their products and processes over the past few years.

Unilever plans to double its revenue over the next 10 years while halving the environmental impact of its products. GE aims to reduce the energy intensity of its operations by 50% by 2015. Tesco has announced that it will reduce emissions from stores and distribution centres by half by 2020 and that it will to become a zero-carbon business by 2050. WalMart’s Zero Waste initiative claims that more than 80% of waste generated in its U.S. operations has been diverted from landfill while the company’s goal is to generate zero waste in the first place. In 2010, WalMart announced that it will cut total carbon emissions by 20 million metric tons by 2015. Toyota, in its Fifth Environmental Action Plan, announced that it will improve the average fuel efficiency of its vehicles by 25% in all regions by 2015 compared to that of 2005. In production, Toyota has already reduced emissions per vehicle by 37% between 2001 and 2012.

All these companies have elaborate environmental plans and invest significant time and resources in ‘green continuous improvement’. None of them, however, have joined the Greenpeace. So why bother? There are three simple reasons. First of all, cutting environmental waste and cutting cost are almost always aligned. Secondly, investing in green continuous improvement (CI) unlocks great amounts of innovation and vigour across the organisation which in turn underpins future success. Finally, with most industries there is a substantial and growing market for sustainable products.

But ironically, today economic and environmental CI are separate organisational silos that sometimes come into conflict with each other. This is one of the biggest opportunities missed across industries. There is a window of opportunity for lean managers to take on more responsibility in greening their firms. Green managers, at least so far, seem to be more concerned with technical fixes and top-down implementation of end of pipe solutions which hardly leave a lasting cultural change. Lean thinkers can provide valuable experiences, techniques and methodologies for engaging with the workforce, bringing about sustainable cultural changes and deploy proven tools for systematic lean and green improvements.

View this article as a PDF document.

 

 

My predictions for 2015

I start off writing these predictions for 2015 with more than a little apprehension. My first prediction last year would be that the resource crunch would shoot up the political agenda, but I, like every other observer, failed to predict the collapse in oil prices in the second half of 2014. The reasons for the collapse are complex – countries raising production while demand slumps – and it remains to be seen how long low oil prices will continue. So I think I’ll steer clear of making another bold pronouncement on that one!

So, here are my predictions for the year ahead:

1. Sustainability will not feature much in the UK general election

The green agenda seems to have become strangely depoliticised in the UK of late. At the end of 2014, the UN rated the UK as the third best country when it comes to tackling climate change, yet the Government and media remained surprisingly muted about it.

The election battle lines have already been drawn: the Conservatives will fight on the economy, Labour on the NHS, Lib Dems on their moderating influence in coalition and UKIP on immigration. The Greens will see a surge in votes from those disillusioned with the other parties, but whether this translates into seats is debatable. In fact their sole MP, Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion, faces a fight to keep her seat given the implosion of her local party after taking charge of Brighton Council.

So my prediction for 2015 is that sustainability progress will continue in the background without clear political leadership.

2. International agreement in Paris will be fudged, but this may be a good thing.

As with Lima this year, the big UNFCCC shindig in Paris at the end of 2015 will come to an agreement, but it will be a loose one. The current approach – individual nations signing up to individual carbon reduction plans – is a strong one in my opinion as it ends the endless unicorn hunt for a set of robust agreements that everybody can sign up to, from Bogota to Beijing and Washington to Warsaw.

Giving nations ownership of their own plans makes implementation much more likely – unlike, say, Kyoto, which the US agreed to but never ratified. The plans may fall short of what is required, but at least some forward momentum will be created.

3. Clean energy will scale new heights

An interesting trend has been the continued installation of large scale renewables while investment peaked in 2012. In the UK, renewable energy provided 9.3% of electricity in 2014, up from 7.8% the previous year, yet investment appeared to stall.

This demonstrates the plummeting price of renewables technology as economies of scale and technological advances start to kick in. In fact, one thinktank has predicted that solar will have ‘grid parity’ with fossil fuels in the UK by 2020.

So my prediction is many more records will be broken on renewables around the world, leading pressure on the grid, which in turn will see more developments in the smart grid.

4. The Smart Grid will continue to emerge

I predicted last year that we would start to see the elements of the smart grid starting to emerge. In early 2014, the UK Smart Grid Forum was established by the Government, a route map published and a £500m low carbon network fund made available. Already in 2015 the Government has let a contract to connect energy companies to the ‘smart meter infrastructure’ – another important stepping stone. However doubts have emerged over whether the 2020 target for an active smart grid will be met.

But this centralised effort may be overtaken again by people and organisations forging their own routes to develop technology. Tesla’s successful model of selling repackaged car batteries to householders with solar panels will spread creating mini-smart grids in homes and industries across the world. The question is when will the first ‘eco-smart fridge’ – one which will delay starting its compressor during periods of high demand – come on the market?

5. The Circular Economy will become the new normal

At the end of 2014, the EU withdrew its ‘circular economy package’ for a revamp. The trigger was the realisation that the measures focussed at the wrong end of the loop – trying to divert as much waste material into the recycling industry as possible. Wiser heads have pointed out that the only way to develop a mature circular economy is to create pull through demand ie at the new product stage.

While the Eurocrats beaver away on their new set of measures, industry will get on with their own efforts, driven in the main by large retailers such as Marks & Spencer and B&Q. More of what you buy will have been ‘pre-loved’, but you mightn’t notice!

Gareth Kane is a sustainability consultant, author and speaker. You can follow him on Twitter @GarethKane.

Creating new ways for profitable sustainability

Creating new ways for profitable sustainability requires participation from the best. For the first time a number of leading edge companies and thought leaders have come together to share their knowledge and best practice across different industry sectors. The Lean and Sustainable Industry Consortium, is now established with participation from companies such as Nike, Adnams, Mars, Vale, Accolade Wines, Toyota, Sakab and several other industry leaders.

On 8th October the group met in Southwold, UK to learn from Adnams. Adnams CEO, Dr. Andy Wood, OBE explained company’s journey and how principles of lean and sustainable thinking have boosted company’s profitability for decades. Since this was the consortium’s first ever Gemba Exchange, participants spent some time discussing about the consortium’s structure, vision and activities over the next 12 months. There will be four Gemba Exchanges per year, development of a bespoke lean & sustainable roadmap for each member, on-site Gemba coaching and an ongoing online forum as well as a number of other membership benefits.

To join this new exciting network, or to find out more you can download the brochure, visit the consortium webpage and contact info@enterprizeexcellence.com. The lean and green consortium is governed a by its board of directors, currently consisting of Dr. Wood of Adnams PLC (Chairman of the board), Dr. Zokaei and Prof Hines from S A Partners, and Hunter Lovins from Natural Capitalism Solutions.

Lean and Green Consortium Gathering Pace

After the initial launch of the proposed Lean and Green Consortium back in February, events are gathering pace with leading companies such as Nike, Mars, Adnams and Toyota to name but a few joining the group.

The first meeting of the consortium will take place on October the 8th 2014 at Adnams Southwold, and there is still an opportunity for interested parties to get involved and come along.

The Lean and Green Consortium will be owned by its member organisations and will be governed by a board directors consisting of Andy Wood (Chairman), Hunter Lovins, Keivan Zokaei and Prof. Peter Hines, authors of the Shingo Research Award winning book ‘Creating a Lean and Green Business System’.

This is an opportunity to influence the direction of your own business as well as being directly involved in shaping the direction of “lean and green business” on the global stage with access to lean and green experts and facilitators, expert trainers and training material, tools, and cutting edge of knowledge.

To find out more you can download the brochure, visit the consortium webpage and contact register@leanandgreenconsortium.com.

 

Britain’s Top 10 Lean and Green Leaders

It looks as though the number 1 position for Britain’s top Lean and Green company is taken by Kingfisher, the owner of B & Q, due to its ambitious targets for zero waste at stores and exceptional rates of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification of timber. Since the 1980s Kingfisher has been transformed from a UK based multi-retail sector conglomerate into an international retailer concentrated on the highly attractive home improvement sector. Currently, Kingfisher has a turnover of over 11 Billion, serves 9 million customers and operates in 9 countries.

B&Q UK currently sources over 70 per cent of its timber from FSC sources. Europe’s largest home-improvement retailer works with WWF and the Tropical Forest Trust on timber sourcing issues. It also has a proactive stance on chemicals. All of Kingfisher’s operating companies are required to have an action plan in place by 2008 to identify products containing certain chemicals and work with vendors to investigate opportunities for removal or substitution.

Because of our work with B&Q, Ray Baker, Director of Group Corporate Responsibility at Kingfisher plc, attended one of our conferences a while ago and talked about lean and green in their orgisation, and how its improved their performance significantly.

Below is Ray Baker talking at one of our Lean and Green conferences in 2011, while in this article, Keivan Zokaei talks about what being Lean and Green is all about, and the benefits that are gained.

You can see who the rest of the top 10 best Lean and Green are by visiting the story at the independent.

South Australia can be a lean and green fighting machine

While on a recent visit to South Australia, Keivan Zokaei said there is a clear global trend of increasing demand for sustainable “clean and green” food products. During the interview with the inBusiness online magazine, he also highlighted the need to reduce costs as to ensure they are competitive with existing products.

He went on to say that in many ways, South Australia is well positioned to take advantage of the trend to focus on sustainability of food products, as long as they can improve the efficiency of the overall food supply chain. South Australian products are well on the way to achieve this with a clean environment, however they need to focus on managing the entire supply chain from the farm to the supermarket.

He added that while only limited progress has been made in Australia in the lean and green area, early indications are that the industry will continue to move in the direction of the major European and American markets.

 

My predictions for 2014

It’s that time of year when we all look in our crystal balls and try and predict what will happen in the next 12 months. To avoid wishful thinking, I’m not going to predict sudden disruptions to the status quo (those are by definition unpredictable), but the likely repercussions of existing trends:

1. The ‘resource crunch’ will surge up the political agenda

Give or take the occasional blip like the 70s oil crisis, commodity prices spent the 20th Century falling as new technologies allowed resources to be produced more efficiently. However at the turn of the millennium, something strange happened – prices suddenly started shooting up and are currently higher than at any time in the last century. Despite the shale gas revolution in the US and a sluggish global economy, oil prices remain stubbornly high.

The pressure is starting to tell on business. A recent EEF survey found 80% of senior manufacturing executives thought limited access to raw materials was already a business risk. For one in three it was their top risk.

Unfortunately this threat has yet to penetrate the political debate, but I can’t see how it can be brushed under the carpet any longer. By the end of the year, politicians will start talking resources and the new economy.

2. Renewable electricity will hit several new tipping points

A decade ago, the proportion of electricity generated from renewable resources barely bothered the statisticians – and what was generated came largely from massive hydroelectric schemes. In recent years there has been an extraordinary boom in sustainable energy. Renewables accounted for 15.5% of UK electricity in the second quarter of 2013. Portugal generated a whopping 70% of their electricity from renewables in the first quarter. In Spain, wind power was the largest contributor to annual electricity production with 21.1%, pipping nuclear to the post. And of course that’s just the electricity that flows into the grid – many renewable energy systems are off grid, whether a wind turbine on a remote farmhouse to a solar powered motorway sign.

This soaring contribution of renewables will continue to drive down costs, creating a virtuous circle. I believe we should ignore the reported fall off in investment (partially due to lower costs) – renewables will muscle their way to new records in 2014, leading us to my next prediction…

3. New energy synergies will be identified and exploited

It is well known that a centralised power grid, designed to distribute energy generation from fossil fuels to passive consumers, is not the most efficient or effective way to manage distributed renewable energy. Already we are shifting from the centralised model to what I call Energy 2.0 where the line between generator and consumer has blurred. The rise of other compatible technologies such as electric vehicles, mobile computing and home energy management systems will start to trigger new thinking and synergies. We have seen this already in 2013 with the Nest intelligent thermostat and the use of Tesla EV batteries to store solar energy in individual houses in the US. By the end of the year I predict that we will see the essential building blocks of local smart grids starting to emerge, although I expect it will take another few years for those grids to take over a significant proportion of distribution.

4. The focus of sustainability will move from the organisation to the whole value chain

For most organisations, sustainability is still focussed within the factory fence/office walls. However the resource crunch and the continued focus of NGOs on supply chain issues – targeting brands on issues like deforestation and palm oil production – will bring the whole value chain into the mainstream. You might say “but we already manage our supply chain impacts”, but what I am predicting here is companies actively aligning their supply chain and business models to sustainability principles. Suppliers will increasingly find themselves being dropped not because of poor environmental performance per se, so much as the fact they are offering redundant products and services.

5. Sustainability will start reshaping the economy

As a result of prediction 4, I believe we will start to see the rapid maturity of the circular economy in particular as economies of scale start to kick in to the production of secondary materials to the point where they start to compete with primary materials (due to the resource crunch in prediction 1). This has already occurred in niches such as glycerol production where the virgin glycerol sector has all but been wiped out by the glycerol by-product of biodiesel production. My prediction is that this effect will start to spread to other non-food commodities, a surge of creative destruction which will threaten many established businesses, or even entire sectors, and provide opportunities for many others. Be warned!

Gareth Kane is a sustainability consultant, author and speaker. You can follow him on Twitter @GarethKane.

Shingo Prize Research Award goes to

We are delighted to announce that two of our team members Dr. Keivan Zokaei and Prof. Peter Hines have become the most recent recipients of the Shingo Prize for the Research and Professional Publication Award per the recommendation of The Shingo Board of Examiners, for their latest publication “Creating a Lean and Green Business System: Techniques for Improving Profits and Sustainability” co-authored with Hunter Lovins and Andy Wood.

According to the awards jury: “Creating a Lean and Green Business System is an excellent book that demonstrates the close link between eliminating economic waste versus environmental waste […]The authors do a fantastic job of taking two separate initiatives and linking them as one effort to improve operations. The book’s flow allows for thoughtful scientific application starting with a principle-based, systems-driven approach.”

Aiming For The Shingo Prize?

S A Partners are running Shingo Prize Training workshops for Discover Excellence around Europe and Australia and have several workshops planned through to the end of the year.

View the European Shingo Discover Excellence workshop details and dates.

View the Australian Shingo Discover Excellence workshop details and dates.

Shingo Institute for Operational Excellence is a not-for-profit organisation housed at Utah State University and named in honour of  Dr. Shigeo Shingo, credited as one of the fathers of the Toyota Production System. Dubbed the “Nobel Prize of Manufacturing” by Business Week, the Shingo Prize is recognized as the premier award for operational excellence. Keivan and Peter are honoured to be included with such an illustrious list of previous Research Award winners, such as Jeff Liker, Steve Spears, Mike Rother and Norman Bodek.”

The Book

“The book explains how to: Become economically successful and environmentally sustainable by adopting the lean and green business system model.” 

Creating a Lean and Green Business System: Techniques for Improving Profits and Sustainability offers opportunities for innovation that can simultaneously reduce dependence on natural resources and enhance global prosperity. It explores less understood aspects of lean and green – discussing their evolution independently as well as the opportunities that exist in their integration, highlighting the importance of a cultural shift across the whole company. Outlining a systematic way to eliminate harmful waste while generating green value.

Find out more about the book by visiting the Creating a Lean & Green System website

Or purchase your copy from Amazon

Creating a Lean and Green Business System

 Download the Press Release

Bill Bellows reviews Creating a Lean and Green Business System book

Bill Bellows, Associate Fellow at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, reviews ‘Creating a Lean and Green Business System’ by Keivan Zokaei, Hunter Lovins, Andy Wood and Peter Hines.

This review first appeared on www.2degreesnetwork.com 

“The boundary of the system…may be drawn around a single company, or around an industry, or as in Japan in 1950, the whole country. The bigger be the coverage, the bigger be the possible benefits, but the more difficult to manage. The aim must include the future.” W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics

Beginning with his first visit to Japan in 1946, Dr. W. Edwards Deming encouraged organizations to see their internal operations as a system, with an endless connection to suppliers and customers. According to Dr. Deming, management of an organization or a work group requires management of the parts and management of the relationships among the parts of the organization.

In doing so, his cyclical model for seeing production as a system bears a strong resemblance to the cyclical model used by environmentalists to remind us that “what goes around, comes around.”

Amongst the hundreds of executives inspired by Deming during his 1950 lecture series was Shoichiro Toyoda, whose efforts to improve the quality of Toyota’s automobiles led to a Total Quality Control effort that is integral today to Toyota’s Production System. Fast forward to 1991, when Toyoda offered this testimony, “There is not a day I don’t think about what Dr. Deming meant to us. Deming is the core of our management.”

The ability to see the parallels between “Lean” and “Green” may be lost on those who associate Lean narrowly with a multitude of tools and techniques of industrial engineering, many copied from Toyota’s renowned Production System, and those who associate “Green” with a primary focus on one relationship, with the environment, and focus less on relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities in which they operate.

Creating a Lean & Green Business System

In writing Creating a Lean and Green Business System, Keivan, Hunter, Andy, and Peter have provided a highly valuable beginners guide to the possibilities that may emerge when Lean practitioners look beyond their tool box and focus on the environment, the open system their organization operates within.

With a generous basic perspective on both Lean and Green, the authors have also provided an invaluable guide for “Green” advocates to expand their environmental systems perspectives to include systems that operate within organizations.

Beyond the well-documented basics of both Lean and Green, the authors progress from essential theory and informative background to highly detailed and wide-ranging application examples, beneficial to both newcomers and experienced practitioners.

The dedicated chapter-length accounts of how three well-known companies, Adnams, Tesco, and Marks and Spencers, continuously engage employees to seek new opportunities for investment, provide easy to understand examples and explanations that a sustained systemic view of organizations yields results that can be measured in terms of undeniable superior profitability.

The financial results of these efforts represent the essence of sustaining any new order of thinking for how organizations operate. These accounts and evidence provided by this book offer an exciting reminder from Dr. Deming to Lean and Green leaders that “The bigger be the coverage, the bigger be the possible benefits.”


Order your copy of the book from Amazon.

The 21st Century – The Principles of the Lean Business System: #7 Planet

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As you may have read in my previous blogs, Lean is rapidly evolving. It is moving past the traditional tools and one off events stage. People are also challenging whether the original concepts we learned about in the last century are really right. One of these is the lack of focus on being a corporate citizen and our wider responsibility to society and the environment. In today’s business environment this area can no longer be ignored.

For those of you not familiar with the series and the idea of the Principles behind the Lean Business System, I will just summarise for you:

THE 8PS OF LEAN THINKINGI believe it is a more holistic or systems based approach balancing traditional hard methods within multiple processes as well as a range of enabling mechanisms within the strategy deployment, leadership and engagement areas of work. In other words the secret lies in thinking about Lean less in simple cost reduction terms and more as a way of thinking, behaving and improving, impacting on every aspect of work inside a business. I call this a Lean Business System.

So how do you go about developing this modern lean approach? Those of you that read my previous blogs will know that I believe the starting place is not copying some exemplar such as Toyota who almost certainly is in a different industry, faced with different circumstances and at a different stage of its evolution. What is needed is to start from a simple set of Lean Principles that can be applied to any industry and using this to guide your journey. Having learned from 25 years of application of lean I have defined 8 such principles: the 8Ps of the Lean Business System.

This framework helps companies in any industry, and at any stage of Lean maturity, to reflect on how they are deploying Lean in their business. It helps to take the focus away from point-kaizen activity towards a more contingent approach, a more aligned approach, a more human approach and ultimately, a more sustainable approach. Indeed it is part of a move to Lean becoming a cultural journey towards everyone in the organisation actively working towards a fully aligned ‘tomorrow better than today’ system.

It was just after the turn of the millennium that Jim Womack wrote:

“Lean thinking must be “green” because it reduces the amount of energy and wasted by-products required to produce a given product…Indeed, examples are often cited of reducing human effort, space, and scrap by 50 percent or more, per product produced, through applying lean principles in an organisation….this means that…lean’s role is to be green’s critical enabler as the massive waste in our current practices is reduce.”

graphic showing three respect areasOne of the first to put the green agenda on the map was the then Norwegian Prime Minister, Dr Gro Harlem Bruntland when she introduced the concept of sustainable development, describing it as being made up of three areas: economic, social and environmental sustainability.

For a company we might translate this as a focus on a ‘respect for profit’ (economic), ‘respect for people’ (social) and ‘respect for environment’ (environmental). To think in very simple terms:

  • A traditional Lean approach might be described as understanding customer’s needs and values and then reviewing the system and processes that produces them so that the traditional eight wastes can be minimised
  • Green might be described as understanding society’s needs and values and then reviewing the system and processes that delivers them so that the eight environmental wastes can be minimised

 

collage of 2 images showing woman picking item off shelf

So what is the difference? Well apart from the fact that individual customers are multiplied to become society and the environmental wastes have a slightly different character than the traditional lean wastes, not a lot.

What is necessary is to include a set of diagnostic mapping tools and implementation tools that addresses the wider Planet issues and the Voice of Society. In other words, an extra Environmental pillar has been added to the traditional Lean House.

business improvement graphic

For further information about this blog series or the accompanying webinar series please contact Dr Donna Samuel, donna.samuel@sapartners.com the series manager.

Environmentally-friendly business is profitable business

Environmentally-friendly business is profitable business

Many associate sustainability with expense, but companies that have embraced it are financially outperforming.

This excerpt is taken from www.theGuardian.com

The failure of policymakers to make binding commitments at the Rio+20 Summit resulted, at best, in a lowest common denominator agreement that delivers few real benefits. In 2010, the UK Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) was axed as part of the government’s spending cuts. In the US, Republican efforts to defund the entire Environmental Protection Agency risk even deeper structural shifts.

International governments’ inaction and lack of leadership is clearly worrying but, at the same time, the proactive approaches of a few leading-edge companies are encouraging. Toyota, Sainsbury’s, WalMart, DuPont, Tesco, UnileverMarks & Spencer and General Electric have made tackling environmental wastes a key economic driver. As Jonathon Porritt, director of Forum for the Future, observed, a “governance shift” is occurring in the field of sustainability, with governments stepping back and businesses stepping forward to lead the change.

DuPont, one of the early adopters, committed itself to a 65% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the 10 years prior to 2010. By 2007, DuPont was saving $2.2bn a year through energy efficiency, the same as its total declared profits that year. General Electric aims to reduce the energy intensity of its operations by 50% by 2015.

Unilever plans to double its revenue over the next 10 years while halving the environmental impact of its products. In 2010, WalMart announced that it will cut total carbon emissions by 20m metric tons by 2015. Closer to home, Sainsbury’s has announced its industry-leading “20×20 Sustainability Plan” which is the cornerstone of the company’s business strategy. It seems to be on track. In April this year, Sainsbury’s said it had achieved its target of a 50% relative reduction in water consumption.

Tesco has announced that it will reduce emissions from stores and distribution centres by half by 2020 and that it will become a zero-carbon enterprise altogether by 2050. Toyota, already in its fifth five-year Environmental Action Plan, announced that it will improve the average fuel efficiency of its vehicles by 25% in all regions by 2015 compared to that of 2005. In manufacturing, Toyota has already reduced emissions per vehicle by 47% between 2001 and 2012.

Companies such as Tesco and WalMart, are not committing to environmental goals out of the goodness of their hearts, and neither should they. The reason for their actions is a simple yet powerful realisation that the environmental and economic footprints are most often aligned. When M&S launched its “Plan A” sustainability programme in 2007, it was believed that it would cost more than £200m in the first five years. However, the initiative had generated £105m by 2011/12 according the company’s report.

When we prevent physical waste, increase energy efficiency or improve resource productivity, we save money, improve profitability and enhance competitiveness. In fact, there are often huge “quick win” opportunities, thanks to years of neglect.

Environmental waste is the best proxy for identifying and eliminating economic waste. That’s the secret of these companies.

Read the full article 

‘Lean and green is free, but it is not a gift’ writes Keivan Zokaei for leanblog.org

What follows is a guest post by Keivan Zokaei about the necessary and unsurprisingly overlap between Lean principles and environmental stewardship. The following article featured on www.leanblog.org

“Lean and green is free, but it is not a gift[i]”. It might seem counterintuitive, but lowering our impact on the environment means lowering costs. The reasons are the same ones that underpinned the “quality movement” of 1960s and 1970s. When making poor quality products (or services), we waste time, energy, and resources. So, not making mistakes in the first place is much cheaper and also guarantees better customer satisfaction. By the same token, sustainable business means not wasting resources and energy, which, in turn, means cheaper and better products.

Today, the “sustainability movement” stands where the “quality movement” stood around 40 years ago. As with the quality movement, the issue with Lean and green is NOT what people don’t know, but rather what people think they know about it. The prevailing paradigm for Lean thinkers is that “environment is a cost”. That’s why far too many Lean practitioners delay the integration of Lean and green.

Read the full article on www.leanblog.org

Environment is Free; But it’s Not a Gift

The whole idea that democratically elected governments should care for the future generations and put the notion of sustainable development at the heart of their policy making, unfortunately, seems to have failed. Look at the utter failure which was the Rio+20 Summit. Last summer, at Rio+20, leaders of 190 countries grouped together to celebrate “The Future we Want”. What they actually committed to, at best, can be described as the lowest common denominator consensus “that we don’t really benefit from”!

According to Jonathon Porritt, Founder and Director of Forum for the Future, a “governance shift” is occurring in the field of sustainability, with governments stepping back and businesses stepping forward to lead the change. There is more to the story. In 2010 the UK government axed the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), the country’s main sustainability watchdog, as part of the coalition governments spending cuts. And in the US, in 2012, neither presidential candidates thought climate change worthy of a mention during their campaigns. On the contrary, some private sector companies are stepping up to the plate to take responsibility for their actions.

Whilst the governments’ inaction and their somewhat lack of leadership is worrying, I am encouraged by the proactive approach of a few leading-edge companies. Going green has become a key economic driver for forward-looking firms such as Toyota, Sainsbury’s, WalMart, DuPont, Tesco, Unilever, Marks & Spencer and General Electric, all of whom have invested heavily in greening their products and processes over the past few years.

Unilever plans to double its revenue over the next 10 years while halving the environmental impact of its products. GE aims to reduce the energy intensity of its operations by 50 per cent by 2015. They have invested heavily in the Eco-magination project which according to GE is “a business strategy designed to drive innovation and the growth of profitable environmental solutions while engaging stakeholders”. Tesco has announced that it will reduce emissions from stores and distribution centres by half by 2020 and that it will become a zero-carbon business by 2050. In 2010, WalMart announced that it will cut total carbon emissions by 20 million metric tons by 2015. In the UK Sainsbury’s announced their industry-leading “20×20 Sustainability Plan” which is the cornerstone of the company’s business strategy. They seem to be on track against plan. For example, in April this year, Sainsbury’s said it had achieved its target of a 50 per cent relative reduction in water consumption.

Toyota, in its Fifth Environmental Action Plan, announced that it will improve the average fuel efficiency of its vehicles by 25 per cent in all regions by 2015 compared to that of 2005. In production, Toyota has already reduced emissions per vehicle by 37 per cent between 2001 and 2012. Similarly, DuPont committed itself to a 65 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over a ten year period up to 2010. In 2007, DuPont saved $2.2 billion through energy efficiency. In the same year its total declared profits was not much more than $2 billion.

So why do these companies care? Their secret is in a simple yet powerful realisation that their environmental and economic footprints are aligned.

When we prevent physical waste, increase energy efficiency or improve resource productivity, we save money, improve profitability and enhance competitiveness. In fact, there are often, huge opportunities which we can call “quick wins”, thanks to years of neglect. Environmental waste is the best proxy for identifying and eliminating economic waste. That’s the secret of these companies.

Today, the “greening industry” movement seems to stand where the “quality movement” stood around 30 years ago. During the past 30 years, industries realised better quality can be (and often is) cheaper to make. Similarly, and as many of the greatest thinkers of our century such as Hunter Lovins and Jonathon Porritt have argued for years, going “green” is free – and in fact cheaper.  Lowering our impact on the environment, rather counter-intuitively, means lowering costs.

The reasons are exactly the same ones which underpinned the “quality movement” of 1970’s and 1980’s. When making poor products (or services) we waste time, energy and resources. So not making mistakes in the first place is much cheaper, while also guarantees better customer satisfaction. By the same token, sustainable business means not wasting resources and energy, which in turn means cheaper and better products.

The “quality movement” is variably referred to as TQM, Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma, or just lean thinking. Similarly, I like to refer to the “greening industry” movement or the sustainability project as ‘lean and green’, because it emphasises the possibilities for better and more profitable business.

That’s why, today, greening your business is not just a “nice to have”— it is now a “must have” just the way lean thinking has been an absolute necessity for most businesses for decades.

Lean means doing more with less. That’s why lean thinking supports green thinking and vice versa. Nonetheless, today economic and environmental continuous improvement are separate organisational silos and sometimes even come into conflict with each other. This is one of the biggest opportunities missed across most industries.

Here is an example. A couple of months ago we worked with one of the largest sandwich factories in the world. A team of great men and women engaged in a programme to reduce physical waste. They used simple techniques such as value stream mapping and A3 problem solving. The results were staggering. No one (including me!) expected to see nearly 1000 tonnes of waste prevented in just a few weeks, in a very mature industry. Add to that, the fact that they also saved 9 million litres of water from going down the drain every year. The commercial benefits where even more staggering. You will be pleasantly surprised when you put lean and green together.

In our book, “Creating a Lean and Green Business System: Techniques for Increasing Profits and Sustainability”, we discuss more case studies and examples of leading firms who use lean and green as simultaneous sources of inspiration in various sectors of industry—from automotive and retail to textile and brewing.

Just to give you a little flavour of what my co-authors and I found in the process of researching for the book, I can give you an update about our benchmark study into the automotive sector. Our benchmark was done 20 years after the original IMVP Programme benchmark which led to coining the term “lean”. Interestingly we found out that Toyota — the holy grail of economic efficiency for decades — tops the green charts too. This led us to discover more about Toyota’s notion of Monozukuri which means sustainable manufacturing and lies at the very heart of Toyota Production System (or lean). For more information about the book and the power of “lean and green” visit: www.leanandgreenbusiness.com

 

Critics of Lean

To view, use the green download button.

The Machine That Changed The World (Womack and Jones, 1996) is the book that made lean a popular phenomenon. However, when the book was first published, it and lean encountered a good deal of criticism from within the academic community.

In this paper Dr. Samuel provides an overview of the various lean critics so that you can begin to evaluate the validity of their views. More than twenty years on from when the book first appeared, it would seem that lean has emerged triumphant. After all, today there is still tremendous interest in lean among the practitioner community many of whom remain driven to follow the imperative set out in this original seminal text.

Nevertheless, it is still valuable to have an appreciation of who criticised lean and why.

 

Book Launch is a Resounding Success

S A Partners were delighted to co-host the official book launch of the recently published book Creating a Lean and Green Business System, together with Adnams Plc. The evening event took place at an Adnams pub located at Tower Bridge in London. It was a great evening, very well attended and there was a great deal of interest in the book and its content.

Talks were given by three of the book’s authors: Peter, Keivan and Andy. Also an inspiring short speech was also given by Steve Hope, General Manager, Environmental Affairs and Corporate Citizenship at Toyota Motor Europe.

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One of the authors, Keivan Zokaei introduces the book
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Steve Hope, General Manager, Environmental Affairs and Corporate Citizenship at Toyota Motor Europe speaking at the event.

Toyota is one of the books’ detailed case studies. Steve described Toyota’s strategy to making eco-friendly cars, built by eco-friendly members in eco-friendly plants. This strategy has enabled them to produce cars in Europe with the best CO2 by kilometre record over any other manufacturer. Steve explained why being sustainable also makes good business sense:

‘After all, anything we buy, we emit, send down the drain, burn in an incinerator or put into landfill, we pay for. If we can save it we will automatically contribute to our bottom-line. Therefore it has to make good business sense’

Another great piece of news is that Karen Hester, a featured case study in the book, has now won the First Women Business of the Year award. Our congratulations to her.

Purchase your copy of the book from Amazon

 Creating a Lean & Green Business System

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of our colleagues in Denmark summarised the book in the following way:

‘The secret of business success is that Lean and Green are equal and mainstays of their business strategy and permeates their entire culture and values’

Read their full book review, if your Danish is not up to scratch, hit translate.

An S A Partners client commended for their improvement efforts

S A Partners would like to congratulate the Greencore ‘Food to Go’ team at Manton Wood on being highly commended at the Made In Midlands Awards for its initiative which has driven a significant reduction in wastage at the site. The Made In Midlands Awards, organised by Business Insider Media, recognises the achievements of businesses across the Midlands region of the UK.

S A Partners worked with the Greencore at Manton Wood providing consultancy services and mentoring to the team. We would like to extend our congratulations to both the site leadership and team for their impressive achievements in such small space of time.  Keep up the good work guys!

Creating a Lean and Green Business System

Making your business lean and green should be a top priority, says Keivan Zokaei.

Like lean thinking, greening your business is not just a “nice to have”—it is now “must have.”

It is a key economic driver for many forward-looking firms. If you are a business manager and you are yet to develop a solid plan for going green or if you are in doubt whether going green pays off, have a look at companies like Toyota, WalMart, DuPont, Tesco, Unilever, Marks & Spencer and General Electric, all of whom have invested heavily in greening their products and processes over the past few years.

Challenging targets

Unilever plans to double its revenue over the next 10 years while halving the environmental impact of its products. GE aims to reduce the energy intensity of its operations by 50% by 2015. Tesco has announced that it will reduce emissions from stores and distribution centres by half by 2020 and that it will to become a zero-carbon business by 2050.

WalMart’s Zero Waste initiative claims that more than 80% of waste generated in its U.S. operations has been diverted from landfill while the company’s goal is to generate zero waste in the first place. In 2010, WalMart announced that it will cut total carbon emissions by 20 million metric tons by 2015.

Toyota, in its Fifth Environmental Action Plan, announced that it will improve the average fuel efficiency of its vehicles by 25% in all regions by 2015 compared to that of 2005. In production, Toyota has already reduced emissions per vehicle by 37% between 2001 and 2012.

If that wasn’t enough then look at DuPont which committed itself to a 65% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over a ten year period up to 2010. In 2007, DuPont saved $2.2 billion through energy efficiency. In the same year its total declared profits was not much more than $2 billion! And the list grows longer with many small and medium size companies following suit.

The secret to Unilever’s success

However, there are still too many companies out there who push environmental improvements to lower priorities. They are oblivious to the reasons behind why the likes of Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, have been so passionate about sustainability. Unilever, alongside the rest of the companies mentioned in the above, invest significant time and resources in ‘green continuous improvement’. None of them, however, have joined the Greenpeace! So why should they bother?

The secret of Polman’s recipe is simple. It’s a simple yet powerful realisation that the environmental and economic footprints are aligned. When we prevent physical waste, increase energy efficiency or improve resource productivity (they all mean the same thing by the way!), we save money, improve profitability and enhance competitiveness. In fact, there are often, huge opportunities which we call “quick wins”, thanks to years of neglect. That’s the secret of those companies.

There are other benefits too. First of all, investing in green continuous improvement (CI) unlocks great amounts of innovation and vigour across the organisation which in turn underpins future success. Secondly, with most industries there is a substantial and growing market for sustainable products.

Lean means doing more with less. That’s why lean thinking supports green and vice versa.

Nonetheless, today economic and environmental CI are separate organisational silos and sometimes even come into conflict with each other. This is one of the biggest opportunities missed across most industries. Too many greening interventions are concerned with technical fixes and top-down implementation of end of pipe solutions which hardly leave a lasting cultural change. Lean and continuous improvement practitioners, on the other hand need to obtain essential knowledge about the key environmental measures and priorities. The power of lean and green is to bring the two together.

Reducing waste by 1,000 tonnes

Here is an example. A few weeks ago we worked with one of the largest sandwich factories in the world. A team of great men and women engaged in a programme to reduce physical waste. They used simple techniques such as value stream mapping and A3 problem solving (well know lean tools). The results were staggering. No one (including me!) expected to see nearly 1,000 tonnes of waste prevented in just a few weeks, in a very mature industry. The commercial benefits where even more staggering. I am constantly surprised – in a very pleasant way – when we put lean and green together.

Our forthcoming book, “Creating a Lean and Green Business System: Techniques for Increasing Profits and Sustainability”, is packed with case studies and examples of leading firms who use lean and green as simultaneous sources of inspiration in various sectors of industry—from automotive and retail to textile and brewing.

Just to give you a little flavour of what my co-authors and I found in the process of researching for the book, I can give you an update about our benchmark study into the automotive sector. Our benchmark was done 20 years after the original IMVP Programme benchmark which led to coining the term “lean manufacturing”. Interestingly we found out that Toyota — the holy grail of economic efficiency for decades — tops the green charts too. This led us to discover more about Toyota’s notion of Monozukuri which means sustainable manufacturing and lies at the very heart of Toyota Production System (or lean thinking). Why not find out more information on our Lean Manufacturing page.

For more information about the book and the power of the “lean and green concept” visit: www.leanandgreenbusiness.com