Lean and Safe - The Path to Sustainability in Product Design 2011-01-1252
Sustainability, Global Reporting Initiative, Corporate Social Responsibility, Lean, Continuous Improvement, Kaizen and “Green” are terms and initiatives that relate to each other as well as safety and environment, but often cause confusion. This paper first puts the various strategic issues into context to help participants better understand the “big picture” of strategic issues. The triple bottom line of sustainability (People, Planet and Profit or 3Ps) is a major issue for any organization.
Attainment of sustainable growth demands continuous improvement in both manufacturing and design. The paper addresses how continuous improvement based on Dr. Deming's principles should be the benchmark for leading culture change. Included in this organizational culture change is occupational safety woven into the company's DNA. A relatively new concept, the marriage of lean and safety becomes the enabler for continuous improvement and long-term sustainable growth.
Engineers and designers developing new product and processes that meet the challenge of the 3Ps of sustainable growth determine the future. The dilemma is that most tools, training and processes for lean and safe are developed for the factory floor. This paper shows how they can be applied in the office setting, allowing those designing the future to put into practice the things that are necessary for eliminating waste and continuous improvement.
Real world examples of how management and technical staffs can practice the integration of lean and safe in their daily work are given. Understanding how to identify and eliminate the seven forms of lean waste in the office leads to the design of processes that are not only lean but will minimize safety wastes (injury and illness) and environmental waste (air, water, solids, energy, etc..)
People - and their personal safety - along with the relentless quest to identify and eliminate waste become the driving force for sustainable growth.