Sustainable strategies for lean initiatives, energy management and reducing your carbon footprint! Regardless of the journey a company undertakes when it comes to being more environmentally focused, leadership remains key to driving commitment and engaging Team Members to undertake green projects and the opportunities are endless!
On behalf of Nottawasaga Futures and Bradford West-Gwillimbury Economic Development, EMC was very pleased to welcome Chad Metcalf, President of Value Stream Solutions to speak on Sustainable Strategies for Lean Initiatives and Scott McNeil-Smith, EMC's Director of Marketing & Development to address opportunities with respect to Energy Management and Your Carbon Footprint.
Chad opened our special event by challenging participants to think differently about the work that we do and to use green as a strategy for business. We need to do more with less - which realistically is a classic lean philosophy. More and more customers are asking about our plans to reduce our impact on the environment. With that thought in mind we explored green as a strategy and how it might fit in with our plans.
Essentially, there are four key levels of engagement in this regard:
Compliant - we do the minimum to meet government regulations...
Opportunistic - we take advantage of cost savings and opportunities that bring product mix and customers together and where it will best benefit...
Strategic - we move from reducing to eliminating altogether and use the principles of nature to form product design...
Transformational - we look at the whole concept of product through service life cycle...
We then looked at various lean tools that might enable us to begin plotting a course implementing green strategies such as 5-S, Value Stream Mapping and TPM as examples.
Our speaker utilized the example of a tree and how it lives in harmony with nature producing more energy than it uses. The product is represented by the leaves or the fruit that it bears. The tree, in turn, provides services for air and water purification. It feeds its growth through the dead leaves that fall to the ground, leaving no waste.
This analogy laid the foundation for disseminating the triple bottom line effect - economic prosperity balanced between social responsibility and environmental stewardship. It is difficult to manage people and planet accounts with traditional accounting methodologies, so we need to think outside of the proverbial box.
* Are recycling bins labelled and in the right place?
* Instructions optimized/standardized for efficient use of resources?
Value Stream Mapping:
* Current state maps can create a blueprint for change in the future
* Challenge is determining what needs to be measured
* What data is relevant and how best to collect it? (ie. natural gas or electrical usage per machine, etc.)
* Moving from preventative to predictive maintenance - maximizing efficiency and minimizing energy consumption
* Applying to both building and business processes
* Looking at opportunities with office and plant lighting, infared ovens, etc. etc.
Chad mentioned that having employees engaged with any initiative is critical. Oftentimes the impetus for change is a direct need for compliance or alternatively an opportunity that comes about from a government incentive program. What is really needed, however, is leadership and ownership in the commitment to build strategies around sustainability within the organization. Whether a company strives to achieve green as part of their branding, or recognition otherwise, to be successful in a journey of this nature, leadership will be key.
Complementing Chad's presentation, EMC's Director of Marketing & Development, Scott McNeil-Smith examined the global impact on the Canadian Energy Market including growing US energy independence, European economic activity, the Greece debt crisis, South America's import requirements, China's growth, and the Middle East oil and gas reserves. As we drilled down further and focused on the market as a whole, we looked at how forecasting takes place and discussed the inputs on supply and demand, on storage, on crude oil, the economy, and the overall long and short term views.
The uncertainty of shale gas supplies and the impact that may have on the market was also explored - particularly given the recent concerns on water tables and potential drinking water issues.
Scott then set the stage by sharing current energy conditions and present available supply. We also looked at the Global Adjustment which applies to all users in Ontario and covers the cost of contracted generation including conservation programs (such as the green initiative lighting project).
Through concerns over rising costs in energy, manufacturing members of EMC sought strategies to mitigate those costs and looked at the feasibility of developing an Energy Buying Group that would help take advantage of swings in the market, better manage and reduce this cost and provide a forum to educate our teams on strategies to manage consumption and to look at ways in which we could integrate solutions into our value streams.
Scott also explained the Buying Group approach which has an outstanding team of energy expertise behind it. The program itself was launched in 2008 and has a customized strategy for each of its Members. To date the Group has recognized savings anywhere from 15-46% against retail -- a tremendous achievement in today's very cost-competitive environment. This is a program with built-in flexibility that helps mitigate risk and volatility while achieving the best price possible. You can find additional information on EMC's Energy Buy Group here, and/or please feel free to touch base with me at anytime.
A natural foray from energy led to open discussion around developing a "smaller carbon footprint" while still growing our businesses. Scott spoke to the importance of getting to know and understand where our usage occurs and how to analyze that so that we may optimize consumption. He suggested taking a look at our Value Stream Maps, and consider where we may be able to add "green" initiatives within our Streams. We also discussed the opportunity to generate power and revenue through solar and wind co-generation.
Assessments and audits of the current state together with training and mentoring will render creative ideas and opportunities to implement green into the value stream. Funding incentives may help develop the process along the way. Scott indicated that given the rate the population is growing and resources diminishing -- ultimately the world is looking to us as a nation to do more with less - which echoing Chad's earlier statement - is a very classic lean philosophy! He also shared a great quote from Henry Ford - "Waste is something I purchased but never used."
Measuring the impact of sustainability initiatives needs to take into account a variety of factors - but there are opportunities galore! Consider energy in every value stream on both sides of the meter. Engage subject matter experts. Learn from the experience and challenge your Team to join you in an effort to mitigate your energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint!
Very special thanks to our presenters - Chad Metcalf and Scott McNeil-Smith - and to our hosts Nottawasaga Futures and Bradford West-Gwillimbury Economic Development for the warm welcome.
Think about your Sustainable initiatives and where Lean methodologies might play a role and your energy cost management strategies, explore the Energy Buy Group Program, and consider how you may reduce your environmental impact!
All the best!