Going green to achieve lean

By Brad Jeavons
Wednesday, 17 April, 2019

Going green to achieve lean

Traditionally, ‘Lean’ and ‘Green’ have operated independently within the business ecosystem. Organisations have looked to achieve economic gains through the implementation of continuous improvement techniques separately to achieving environmentally sustainable business changes.

Much of the Lean approach originated from the cultural and improvement techniques used at Toyota, which they call Toyota Production Systems (TPS). By practising a monozukuri manta, an all-encompassing approach to manufacturing, Toyota has become an industry leader within the continuous improvement sector and aims to create a more dynamic and sustainable automotive industry.

Toyota’s manufacturing ethos has inspired other organisations globally to adopt continuous improvement transformation programs and build cultures of continuous improvement using philosophies such as Lean to achieve improvements for their customers and, in turn, greater economic gains for the organisation.

On the other hand, Green is a separate initiative, which the industry has traditionally perceived only to provide social benefits and negatively impact an organisation’s economic performance. Making environmental improvements has historically been viewed as a corporate social responsibility (CSR). The challenge with this perception is that any impact on an organisation’s economic position can easily override environmental efforts. The survival of the business and financial position of board and shareholder reports can lead to a reduction in funds applied to environmental initiatives.

By working with leading global organisations such as Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Adnams, SA Partners has proven this dichotomic view to economic and environmental gains to be false and unwarranted. SA Partners has helped achieve a combined Lean and Green excellence journey for these organisations, where the two approaches work simultaneously to achieve dramatic improvement both economically and environmentally.

In Australia, organisations such as Signet and Perfect Potion are achieving the same results by combining their Lean and Environmental efforts. Signet, an Australian packaging manufacturer and distributor, is working with customers using Lean techniques to reduce, recycle and switch to alternative environmentally friendly packaging options to help them on their journey to the circular economy. Signet has a range of sustainable packaging options from Ranpak — 100% recyclable and paper packing solutions for in-the-box protection to 100% recyclable cartons and paper tapes.

Perfect Potion has always run its organisation with social and environmental needs at the forefront. Its journey into continuous improvement and Lean is enabling it to achieve both economic and environmental gains simultaneously.

Signet and Perfect Potion are at the start of their journey and continue to develop a culture of continuous improvement towards perfection that focuses on going Green to achieve Lean.

Lean and Green techniques will be explored in more depth by Brad Jeavons during the National Clean Technologies Conference and Exhibition at the Sunshine Coast from 29–31 May 2019.

Brad Jeavons is the Principal Consultant for SA Partners. He has worked with many organisations ranging from government, retail, packaging, supply chain, manufacturers, medical and social. As an Organisation Improvement Leader, his purpose is helping people reach their potential and socially and environmentally focused organisations achieve excellence and ultimately help their customers, society and the environment.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Romolo Tavani

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