E6S-093 Lean Six Sigma for Sustainability and the Environment; Interview with Brion Hurley - Part 2

Intro:  Welcome to the E6S-Methods podcast with Jacob and Aaron, brought to you by E6S Industries, your source for expert training, consulting, and leadership in business performance and continuous improvement methods, like Lean and Six Sigma. In this episode number 93 we continue our discussion with Brion Hurley, a Lean SIx Sigma practitioner and speaker, who offers insights into the Lean Six Sigma applications in Sustainability and Environmental programs.  Check out Brion's work at www.LeanSixSigmaEnvironment.org.  Here we go. http://bit.ly/E6S-093; http://bit.ly/E6S-iTunes

About Brion Hurley


  • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (process improvement), with over 15 years experience in a corporate environment.
  • Certified SME Green Manufacturing Specialist
  • Senior Certified Sustainability Professional
  • Certificate in Sustainability from the University of Iowa.
  • BS Statistics, and a MS in Quality Management and Productivity from the University of Iowa.

Lean Six Sigma and the Environment

·         5 types of environmental waste (W.A.S.T.E) = Water, Air, Solids, Toxins, Energy

o        NVA when not used to add value to product or service (leave lights on, run machine longer, leaks, etc)

·         Each of 8 forms of waste has environmental impacts (extra impact, often not captured in business case)

·         Can apply LSS directly to problems (electricity reduction BB project), or get indirect impact (lean event that reduced # of carts to replace)

·         Some tools are taken “as-is” such as 5S, visual controls, process mapping, RCA tools, SIPOC, VA and NVA

·         Some tools are modifications (VSM data boxes, modified Gemba walks, etc)

·         Some differences that LSS overlooks

o        Waste occurs away from gemba

o        Externalities not often seen

o        Costs not allocated to areas (applied based on size or employee count, not actual usage)

§         Hidden costs not seen (cost to recycle, print paper, deal with toxins, etc)

o        Lack of detailed data for utilities

o        Side benefits not anticipated (customer loyalty, employee engagement, community goodwill)

o        Assume usage is “cost of doing business” and cannot be reduced

o        Many more stakeholders (community, govt agencies, nonprofits, activists, etc)

o        Data often non-normal

o        Confusion on utility usage between VA and NVA (not often clear)

·         If an organization has neither sustainability or lean program, start with lean

Other benefits

·         Financial

o        1. Increased revenue

o        2. Reduced energy expenses

o        3. Reduced waste expenses

o        4. Reduced materials and water expenses

o        5. Increased employee productivity

o        6. Reduced employee attrition expenses

o        7. Avoided risk to profit

·         Soft benefits (goodwill in community)

Lots of low hanging fruit (recycled paper, composting, lighting upgrades, etc), but LSS helps to go to the next level, see more waste and opportunities, and tie it to the business

Tips for LSS practitioners

        Look at aggregate level (whole building or area), not individual process steps (may seem minor or insignificant)

        All process improvements naturally reduce impact on the environment, now capture them!

        Add energy, material and costs to data boxes on Value Stream Maps

        Add energy and material impacts to current waste definitions

        Focus Lean Six Sigma efforts specifically on environmental issues (W.A.S.T.E.) using traditional and modified tools

        Invite ES&H and Facility department to events and project teams

        Integrate environmental checklist into event templates

        Add Earth/Environment to SIPOC as a Customer

        Share this podcast and list of resources with others in your company that might be interested

Other topics

o        EPA Lean Toolkit has great resources and lots of case studies

o        Triple Bottom Line (People, planet, profit)

o        Waste Pyramid (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, Landfill)

o        Design for nature (biomimicry, National Geographic magazine during 3P events)

o        Sub optimization example from ASQ (turning up heat in one process saved time and money later on)

Outro: Thanks for listening to episode 93 of the E6S-Methods Podcast.  Remember to check out Brion's work at leansixsigaenvironment.org.  If you would like to be a guest on the podcast, contact us through our website.  Join our mailing list!  Subscribe to past and future episodes on iTunes or stream us on-demand with Stitcher Radio.  Don't forget to leave a review and share us with a friend.  Find outlines and graphics for all shows and more at www.E6S-Methods.com. “Journey Through Success”