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Environmental Value Stream Mapping Tips

Leverage your Value Stream Mapping exercises to become more environmentally friendly. This was the message conveyed when I met with another practitioner. Sometimes you need an outsider’s perspective to guide you to the obvious.

As many of you know I am a great fan of Enterprise Value Stream mapping since it takes you beyond the traditional shop floor and dives deep into the information and communication flows of your operation. I am also a strong advocate that if your annual operating plan is not supported by Value Stream Maps your plan is just a wish.

I have already enhanced my dialogue boxes within the Value Stream Maps to capture information revolving around the three pillars of;

• Inspired and Motivated People (Cultural)

• Robust Processes (Physical Assets)

• Lean Operations (Process DNA)

For example in the case of People I now capture casual absenteeism, turnover, amount of people cross-trained, tenure and the 5S score. Since the power of Lean is all about the respect for people it just makes sense to look at operations with high turnover to make them better.

So adding the environmental observation during your mapping exercise just expands the scope of opportunity. One of the key components of Value Stream Mapping is walking and observing the current state by actually being there. I am constantly amazed when I facilitate a mapping session how often even very seasoned managers find out new attributes of how the value stream is actually operating.

So now as you walk your value stream create your eyes to look at it from an environmental perspective in addition to the other attributes. Begin by looking in garbage cans and do a trash audit … what and why are certain things being placed in trash cans? Look in your swarf container … creating this swarf costs money what can be done to minimize the creation of swarf. In one case at a machine shop an employee installed a simple oil filter and collection container at the bottom of the swarf container to re-capture coolant that could be recycled back into the machine saving the company several hundreds of dollars annually.

After many iterations of value stream mapping it become more difficult to find great improvement opportunities so expanding your horizon to look at environmental opportunities is just a natural and profitable extension of observation. Plus it makes the world just a bit more environmentally friendly. For example what you find in the trash can may be a symptom of greater

opportunities …

• Excessive use of rags and or wipers can indicate that the machine has a leak.

• Smell … the fumes could indicate a toxic emission or that you are over processing within the operation.

• Noise … is the silent killer and we need to constantly find a way to make for quieter operations.

•Water, coolant spills … pumps consume energy and if this liquids are being pumped onto the floor you are wasting energy.

•Amp meters … can be a friend, log the size of motors being used and the amount of current that they are drawing … is there a better method?

•Pre-Start … many operations require the machines to warm up before they will perform effective operations… this idle time can be costly, is there an alternative opportunity?

In addition, look at what machines will be started at begin of shift or after the completion of a scheduled break. If several machines are started at the same time this will create a peak in your energy consumption. Many companies pay for energy consumption based on the peak usage determined during the day … staggered breaks can actually be a savings.

The list could go on but you get the picture ...

You can also contact us to facilitate a Enterprise Value Stream Mapping workshop where we will introduce you to our significantly enhanced templates and data collection methodology that now includes environmental attributes.


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