Guidelines for a Strong Framework for Green Lean Six Sigma Implementation
For many organizations, there exist functional divides between the people who manage health, environment and safety issues, those in charge of environmental improvement, the people in regulatory compliance roles and operational improvement specialists such as Lean Six Sigma experts.
In addition, environmental technical assistance experts and Lean Six Sigma service providers may sometimes operate in what feels like parallel universes, which is ironic since both roles are involved in trying to improve the performance of their organizations.
Finding ways to bridge the lean and environmental management ‘universes’ can offer substantial benefits for each side involved. It does not necessarily need to be difficult to overcome the differences and break down the organizational gaps that prevent the achievement of common objectives of continuous improvement, elimination of waste and maintenance of green operations.
Below, we examine some of the guidelines that should be followed by Lean Six Sigma and environmental professionals in order to realize their shared objectives.
- Learn To Speak The Language
It is not necessary for environmental professionals to become experts in order to understand the language of Lean Six Sigma. Through listening, training and how-to spreadsheets, they can be effectively equipped to talk to Lean and Six Sigma experts about environmental effects of various processes. In the same way environmental professionals may be unfamiliar with the terminology used in Lean Six Sigma, Lean and Six Sigma audiences may find themselves in unfamiliar territory with regard to environmental acronyms and terms. An exchange of glossaries helps these experts to facilitate better communication.
- Use Lean Terms To Frame Environmental Issues
Convincing Lean and Six Sigma practitioners to become experts on environmental issues in order to achieve effective Green Lean Six Sigma implementation is unnecessary. This is because they love nothing more than identifying and eliminating waste. If environmental experts can assist them to find hidden waste, it goes without saying that they will be enthusiastic partners in efforts to improve the organization’s green programs. It also helps to identify specific entry points or places where, if a simple question is asked, Lean Six Sigma practitioners can establish areas where environmental wastes occur.
- Find an Acceptable Middle Ground between Environmental Sustainability and Business Goals
If environmental professionals are perceived as people who only say ‘No’ to Lean Six Sigma projects, they will find it difficult to be accepted in Lean and Six Sigma events. Instead, they need to be creative in their thinking with regard to addressing organizational challenges in order to achieve both operational and environmental goals. Through close collaboration, solutions can be developed that will help to eliminate worker safety hazards, reduce environmental waste and avoid any environmental problems that may arise as a result of regulatory compliance.
- Brand Environmental Sustainability Efforts
When it comes to process improvement, sustainability and the environment, there is a wide variety of terms which are used, including “Lean and Green,” “Lean and Clean,” “Lean Six Sigma and Environment” and “Green Lean Six Sigma.” The use of these terms is vital in drawing attention to an organization’s efforts to integrate Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma Methodologies and Environment. For the sake of providers of technical assistance, it helps to make a distinction between standard Lean Six Sigma and integrated services which combine process improvement, waste reduction and environmental expertise.
- Establish Appropriate Projects For Green Lean Six Sigma
While the principles behind Green Lean Six Sigma are applicable to a large array of organizational processes, it is essential that extra precautions are taken in the selection of appropriate implementation projects. In particular, this is true if Green Lean Six Sigma is being implemented by a business for the first time. Before settling on processes for improvement, it is essential for a business to perform risk assessment analysis to ensure that the project improvement will meet the objectives of both Lean Six Sigma and environmental protection.
All the evidence suggests that Six Sigma, Lean and Green approaches to business are positive contributors to the social, environmental and economic performance of an organization. Still, integration and implementation of Green Lean Six Sigma has challenges. The guidelines above provide a framework for organizations to adopt these approaches for the improvement of their performance.
To learn more, visit LeanSixSigmaEnvironment.org