Help for Lean and Six Sigma Professionals

As an improvement expert, you may be having a positive impact on the environment already, and just not realized it. If you are aware of some projects, events or activities that have reduced environmental impacts, you might consider our Earth Belt certification >>>

What are some ways to modify Lean and Six Sigma application to better address environmental issues?

  • Find case studies that give you ideas, or help sell this idea to others: 40+ Environmental Lean Six Sigma Case Studies | 8 Ways Lean Six Sigma Tools Can Reduce Environmental Impacts | State of Washington Lean and Green Case Studies
  • Enhance the definitions of the lean wastes by including the environmental impacts for each waste
  • Make modifications to the Value Stream Map (VSM)
    • Include water, energy and solid waste numbers into the data boxes in order to bring attention to the impacts.
    • Modify the use of the timeline to show the environmental impact (energy, water, solids) that are coming into and leaving the process.
    • Extend the value stream beyond supplier and customer delivery (to include raw material extraction and transportation, and beyond the customer end of life to include recycling or reuse), and finally
  • Gemba Walks and Go and See activity will need to take place outside of normal working hours (when gemba is NOT happening), in order to observe waste in energy, water and other environmental impacts. Read more.
  • Consider modifying your FMEA analysis to include environmental issues into the Severity column.
  • Conduct Lean events and Six Sigma projects specifically to environmental impacts: Six Sigma project to reduce electricity | Go and See lean events to reduce energy
  • Higher level issues to consider: Top 5 Reasons Why Lean Doesn’t Cover Environmental Issues
  • Make sure you conduct your lean events and 5S events in a “green” environmentally-friendly way: 10 Tips for Greening your 5S event | Tips to Green Your Lean Event
  • When completing a Supplier-Input-Process-Output-Customer (SIPOC) diagram, make sure that the Earth/Environment is listed as a customer. SIPOC diagrams are useful for determining who to include in events.
  • Ensure someone in the event is representing the environment, which usually is the Environment, Safety and Health (ES&H) expert. If they cannot attend, invite them to the daily outbriefs, or you can use this Lean Event EHS checklist from the EPA to check to see if there are any potential issues.
  • Integrate environmental metrics into visual management and communications boards. Example of adding “E” to QDIP board
  • Incorporate equipment shutdown, turning off lights, recycling and composting (and more) into daily 5S activities for employees.
  • Include energy consumption into Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) calculations.
  • Add a “Green It Up” step to your DMAIC approach (called DMAGIC), to assess the environmental impact before you start the Improve phase.

You can learn more about these approaches at our “Solving Environmental Problems Using Lean Six Sigma” training classes >>>

If you want to better capture what impact you are having as a Lean Six Sigma expert, or work on efforts specifically targeted to environmental problems, you’ll also need some additional training and information in these areas:

  • Common environmental impacts within business (W.A.S.T.E.)
    • Water
    • Air Emissions
    • Solid Waste
    • Toxins
    • Energy
  • Environmental issues (climate change and carbon footprint)
  • Environmental science (how does the earth function, carbon cycle, water cycle, toxins and hazardous materials, air emissions, industry impacts, legislation and regulations)
  • The business case for Sustainability and the “triple bottom line” on companies and organizations
  • Externality costs of environmental issues (polluters don’t always pay, or pay enough)
  • EPA’s Lean and Green materials
  • Dealing with non-normal data (common with environmental data)
  • Using R statistical software (free and popular among experts and professionals)

We have some free resources to get you started:

We also offer a 1 and 2-day training class in Portland, to review Lean and Six Sigma tools and how they can be applied to environmental impacts >>>

If there is something we forgot. We also offer training on these topics, if you would like classroom or online training. Contact us for more information.

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