Lean and Six Sigma are two powerful business improvement systems that are rapidly being deployed across multiple manufacturing and service sectors.
Lean and Six Sigma both rely on a continuous improvement culture that is very conducive to pollution prevention and sustainability. Compelling reasons for linking Lean, Six Sigma, and environmental improvement efforts include:
-Fast and Dramatic Results: Lean produces compelling results quickly. Lean events typically last 2–5 days, during which teams dramatically reduce production lead times and costs, while improving product quality and customer responsiveness. Leveraging Lean efforts to include environmental issues can yield impressive environmental results as well.
– Continual Improvement Culture: Lean and Six Sigma tools engage employees throughout an organization in identifying and eliminating production wastes. When environmental wastes are included, Lean and Six Sigma become powerful vehicles for engaging employees in identifying and implementing environmental improvement opportunities.
– Avoided Pitfalls: Integrated “Lean and environment” efforts can minimize environmental impacts and navigate regulatory and permitting issues that may arise in operational changes from Lean and Six Sigma.
– New Market for Environmental Improvement Ideas: By connecting with Lean and Six Sigma practitioners, environmental professionals can connect the wealth of environmental resources with those who are driving strategic and fundamental operational change
How Lean and Six Sigma Relate to the Environment
On their own, Lean and Six Sigma efforts can result in significant environmental performance gains. However, since these approaches are not environmentally driven, they can miss opportunities to achieve even better environmental results. By adding environmental wastes to Lean’s deadly wastes, organizations can harness the powerful drivers behind Lean and Six Sigma to make businesses more competitive while reducing environmental impacts and wastes.
While Lean and Six Sigma have many similarities with environmental initiatives, they also have important differences, including the following:
– Similarities: Lean, Six Sigma, and environmental improvement initiatives incorporate a philosophy of continual improvement, “waste” elimination, and employee engagement.
– Differences: The drivers for Lean and Six Sigma are fundamentally about competitiveness. Lean and Six Sigma practitioners also use different languages (including Japanese terms such as kaizen, kanban, and muda) and employ different tools (including value stream mapping, kaizen events, and 5S) than those used by environmental professionals
It is important for environmental professionals to understand how to talk to Lean and Six Sigma practitioners in a way that maximizes the likelihood of successful partnerships. Attempts to shift Lean and Six Sigma efforts away from their competitiveness drivers are likely to be less effective than efforts to integrate environmental considerations into the Lean and Six Sigma methodologies
Integrating Lean and environmental improvement efforts
There are a range of ways environmental professionals can improve results by leveraging Lean and Six Sigma efforts. “Lean and environment” approaches refer to strategies for integrating environmental considerations and tools into Lean and Six Sigma implementation. Examples of Lean and environment efforts include:
– Connect Lean, Six Sigma, and Environmental Efforts at Facilities. Environmental health and safety personnel can support operations-driven Lean and Six Sigma efforts, expanding their traditional scope, revealing hidden wastes, and improving environmental and operational results.
– Deliver Lean and environment technical assistance. Environmental technical assistance providers can partner with Lean and Six Sigma service providers to jointly deliver Lean and environment services.
– Use Lean to enhance environmental programs and processes. visual controls and other Lean concepts can improve the effectiveness of compliance-assistance efforts, and environmental agencies can use Lean to reduce waste in administrative processes such as permitting processes.
The ultimate goal of Lean and environment efforts is to seamlessly integrate environmental considerations into Lean and Six Sigma so that eliminating environmental wastes becomes just another part of embracing Lean.
LEVEL 1 CERTIFICATE OF INTRODUCTION TO LEAN TECHNIQUES
ETA’s Level 1 Lean qualification is the only one
of it’s kind in the country, and is cross sector
so it has relevance to most jobs and industries,
service and product. It’s core is of course lean
thinking which as a mindset starts to build up an
understanding of how to identify/solve problems,
maximise productivity, reduce waste and sustain
improvements over time, not just as a one off!
Whether it’s a Lean Kitchen, Lean Office, Lean
Warehouse or Lean Production Line – efficiency is
LEVEL 1 AWARD IN RECYCLING & WASTE MANAGEMENT
Suitable for any industry or sector, this qualification
provides a robust general grounding on how to identify,
sort and dispose of different types of waste within a
working environment. It highlights how we should all
take responsibility of recycling and requires a basic
understanding of how waste management impacts on
the wider environment. times and present themselves in
the workplace suitably prepared for the activities to be
undertaken. The learner will also be expected to report
any problems with health and safety issues, to the relevant
ETA is the End Point Assessment Organisation for the Level 3 Improvement Technician and Level 4 Improvement Practitioner apprenticeship standards. Both of which go hand in hand with the following types of roles; Environmental Compliance Technician, Environmental Health and Safety Inspector, Environmental Construction Manager, Environmental Data Analyst. These continuous improvement apprenticeships can play a vital role in managing environmental impact without compromising on the business benefits which they are designed to deliver.
EPA: LEVEL 3 IMPROVEMENT TECHNICIAN
Improvement Technicians are responsible for
delivery and coaching of improvement activity
within an area of responsibility, often associated
with Lean and Six Sigma methodologies. They can
be found across all industry sectors and functions
including automotive, banking, engineering, food
products, IT, property, retail, telecoms Local and
County Councils, NHS, Voluntary / Charity services,
Utilities, Pharmaceuticals, Insurance, Hospitality etc.
EPA: LEVEL 4 IMPROVEMENT PRACTITIONER
Improvement Practitioners use a blend of Lean
and Six Sigma, project and change management
principles and tools to identify and lead the
delivery of change across organisational functions
and processes. Improvement Practitioners can be
found across all sectors and functions including
automotive, banking, engineering, food products,
IT, property, retail, telecoms, Local and County
Councils, NHS, Voluntary / Charity services, Utilities,
Pharmaceuticals, Insurance, Hospitality etc.