Q&A Blog with Bill Shema of Paper-Less LLC

In Guest Blog by Staff Report

Bill Shema, Senior Manufacturing Consultant with Paper-Less, LLC was nice enough to participate in a special Q&A for our blog this week to give us a preview of his session at FABTECH Lean Principle: Design Sustainability for the Job Shop on Wednesday, November 16, 2016: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM. Learn more here and check out the Q&A below.

Why is it important to connect Lean Manufacturing with Environmental Improvement efforts?

It is important to connect Environmental Improvement efforts with a company’s Lean Manufacturing initiatives because like the other wastes, found in Lean Manufacturing, these wastes do not add value to the customer.  These efforts are most commonly overlooked because they fall under the expense umbrella with most companies.  Most Lean Manufacturing initiatives already have some environmental benefit with the reduction of the existing seven wastes that are still overlooked and not managed.

What are the most common environmental wastes?

The most common types of environmental wastes found in manufacturing are energy, water resources, raw materials, generation of hazardous wastes, air pollutant emissions, product life cycle impacts, and the production process impact

The common obstacles with using Lean techniques for environmental considerations?

The common obstacles begin with the metrics for determining the success of a Lean Kaizen.  These metrics often use either time (labor) or resources (materials) as catalysts for the continuous improvement, and do not look at the more hidden (expense) account items such as energy, water, sewer, etc.  The more standard metrics found in most Lean organizations, though beneficial indirectly, are not concerned with the environmental initiatives.  Most companies do not combine both the Lean practitioner with the environmental specialist with their continuous improvement programs because they are not thought of as related, even though both provide future cost savings to an organization.

What are the common environmental KPI’s used in industry today?

Some of the environmental KPI’s used in industry today are…

  • Water pollution/waste water
  • Water usage
  • Hazzardous waste
  • Solid waste
  • Air emissions
  • Energy usage
  • Materials usage
  • Scrap/Non-product output

Can just implementing Lean Manufacturing techniques already have an environmental impact?

Implementing Lean Manufacturing techniques already has environmental benefits through the removal of wastes found in production.  These wastes begin with building to the customers demand rather than creating more product than the market requires (over-production).  This reduces the consumption of resources (energy, material, water, etc.) that goes into making the unnecessary product.  This along with the reduction in defects, another one of the 7 wastes, reduces the amount of resources used to manufacture to the customers demand.  Many of these environmental benefits are not noticed because they are grouped into a company’s expense account and not separated out like labor and materials.

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