Enhancing Sustainability In Manufacturing In America Final 1 2009
Enhancing Sustainability in Manufacturing in America
Article by Herb Rubenstein, President, Sustainable Business Group, Denver, Colorado and
Keith McAslan, Managing Partner, McAslan Consulting, Denver, Colorado
Introduction and publish detailed research across the tens of
thousands of manufacturers to identify the
Much work has been done in the area of sustainability oriented practices that have helped
sustainability in manufacturing in the United improve the environment, helped improve the
States. Virtually everyone agrees that much productivity of their workers, and helped
more needs to be done to improve energy improve their bottom line.
efficiency in manufacturing, reduce waste,
improve the development and management of the The Current Situation
workforce, and design and manufacture products
that use our scarce material and human resources Much information already exists on “green
in a more optimal manner. The National manufacturing.” Conferences are being held.
Association of Manufacturers (NAM) states on Books are being written. Engineering schools
its website: are focusing on sustainable engineering to attract
students who can find great jobs in meeting the
The NAM and our member companies are future manufacturing environments which will be
committed to working with Congress to establish embracing sustainability principles. A guick
sensible federal climate change policies that GoogleTM search reveals the following:
reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while
maintaining a competitive playing field for U.S. Green Manufacturing News
companies in the global marketplace. ManagingAutomation.com/Green.Mfg The
Latest News on Technologies, Business Practices
However, on the NAM website as of December and Trends!
30, 2008 there is not one paper telling
manufacturers about any best practices they IndustryWeek - Connecting Manufacturing's
could adopt to promote sustainability. It appears
that NAM has no such task force studying how
Making Green: Sustainability In
manufacturing concerns can create their current
Manufacturing And The Clean-Tech Economy.
products in a more sustainable manner or begin
Now that the green marketplace has firmly taken
to advance the state of the art in designing and
root, many manufacturers are ...
producing the next generation of products that
www.industryweek.com/MakingGreen - 46k -
are more sustainable, efficient, effective, and less
Cached - Similar pages -
harmful to the environment.
Possibly NAM and state associations promoting
Sustainability is good business
manufacturing and technology could undertake
The main business drivers of sustainability for The Laboratory for Manufacturing
manufacturing firms make a good strategic Automation
concept for improving business performance: ... lma. Creating sustainable technologies to
www.gdrc.org/sustbiz/good-susbiz.html - 11k - innovate manufacturing products, processes,
Cached - Similar pages - and systems. quot;A sustainable world... by designquot;.
Amazon.com: Sustainability in Manufacturing: lma trans.
Recovery of Resources ... lma.berkeley.edu/ - 3k - Cached - Similar pages -
Amazon.com: Sustainability in Manufacturing: Sustainable Manufacturing Summit ::
Recovery of Resources in Product and Material Corporate Climate Response ...
Cycles: Günther Seliger: Books. The Sustainable Manufacturing Summit
www.amazon.com/Sustainability- provides the opportunity to find out how top
Manufacturing-Recovery-Resources- manufacturers and their customers are lowering
Material/dp/3540498702 - 253k - Cached - their carbon emissions and ...
Similar pages - www.greenpowerconferences.com/corporateclim
Sustainable Manufacturing t.html - 64k - Cached - Similar pages -
Dec 10, 2008 ... Australian manufacturing firms
are being placed on a more sustainable footing Fifty Sustainability Experts To Speak At
by our research in eco-efficient technologies and Sustainable Manufacturing ...
engineering ... Jan 21, 2008 ... Sustainability experts are
www.csiro.au/science/SustainableManufacturi looking forward to sharing their carbon reduction
ng.html - 37k - Cached - Similar pages - strategies on April 8th and 9th at the upcoming
SUSTAINABLE LEAN www.environmentalleader.com/2008/01/21/fifty-
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as manufacturing-summit/ - 48k - Cached - Similar
HTML pages -
This set of slides is a brief introduction to the
perspective Act Now brings to Sustainable Lean Green Manufacturing Expo 2009
Manufacturing. This is not intended as Sustainable manufacturing, defined as the
actionable advice. ... “creation of manufactured products that use
www.actnowproductions.com/assets/files/sustain processes that are non-polluting, conserve energy
ability/Lean_Manufacturing.pdf - Similar pages and natural ...
- www.greenmfgexpo.com/ - 20k - Cached -
Similar pages -
Tips for sustainability in manufacturing -
11/18/2008 - Control ...
Nov 18, 2008 ... Controls engineers have quietly Information and Progress
done sustainability related efforts for years; we
call them quot;lean initiatives,quot; says Pack Expo The existence of information, conferences,
speaker. books, tips, be it from the U.S. or Australia in the
www.controleng.com/article/CA6614720.html - examples is an excellent first step in promoting
Similar pages - the improvement of manufacturing based on
sustainability principles. However, information
alone is not sufficient to propel manufacturing
concerns throughout the U.S. to begin adopting
on a large scale more sustainability oriented across an entire globalized manufacturing
manufacturing practices. concern.
One challenge to securing broader and more Where does a manufacturing concern start on the
rapid adoption of sustainability oriented path or expand its already existing efforts toward
manufacturing processes is that there is no becoming a more sustainable enterprise? This
universal agreement as to what “sustainability” article begins in a very small way to address this
really means. Tremendous work has been done question.
on creating very useful sustainability
“scorecards” and measures, and this is very 10 Recommendations to Promote
helpful. In an effort to give a simple, yet direct Sustainability by Manufacturing Concerns
definition of sustainability in manufacturing, we
offer the following definition. 1. Make the optimal use of human and
material resources in the production
“Sustainable manufacturing processes deploy process, a key performance objective goal
the optimal use of material and human of the company with metrics to measure
resources for the long term to produce the performance along this dimension. These
desired product.” metrics can be produced hourly, daily, or
weekly and shared with employees,
That is the official definition adopted by the stockholders and customers. They should
Sustainable Business Group concerning become a true source of pride in the
manufacturing and sustainability. It is simple and company.
direct and focuses on one key term: Optimal. 2. Create real incentives and rewards for
everyone in the company to be more
When a manufacturing concern can shave one energy efficient, deploy human talent
kilowatt or one cubic foot of natural gas use more effectively, reduce materials waste,
through energy conservation, without creating an reduce pollution and green house gas
inferior product or inferior work conditions, then emissions, and promote the design and
it is not operating in a sustainable manner manufacture of the next generation of
because it is not operating in an optimal manner. products that are more sustainable in the
Even when it can use less energy in peak times, it long run. Share in the savings being
becomes a more sustainable manufacturing generated by implementation of a “gain
enterprise since peak energy use is by far the sharing” type program to reward the
most costly (in dollar and environmental terms) employees and encourage creativity and
type of energy use that exists. savings.
3. Create real disincentives for employees
If the employees of a manufacturing concern are and managers who do not effectively
not properly trained and educated by the promote sustainability and reach the
company regarding how to conserve energy and sustainability oriented targets. Create the
materials use on their jobs, in their homes, their accountability systems that will show
churches, and in their life-style choices, then management and co-workers who these
these employees are not engaging in the highest employees are and how their
level of sustainable activities since their actions disincentives are meted out to them.
are not optimal. 4. Create and support a culture that
promotes sustainability in everything the
These are easy words to write, but brutally hard manufacturing concern does. This
to implement at the manufacturing plant level or includes enhanced communication,
testing of new methods/technologies and supply chain engaged, the business must
management support combined with a help define “what’s in it for me”, by
reward system to ensure the employees providing a cost benefit analysis for the
share a sense of ownership. suppliers to use in their ROI calculations.
5. Reengineer the business plan of the 10. Create “sustainability” as an integral part
manufacturing concern, adopt new of the marketing, public relations,
technologies, human resource systems, reputation, product development and
and financial reporting systems to ensure transportation processes of the company.
that the sustainability activities created A business that has successfully
are cost effective and promote enhanced implemented “sustainability” processes
profitability of the company. A key to can utilize the success story as part of the
the success of the reengineering is sales and marketing campaign as well as
assignment of “ownership” - managers communicate it to the community they
must be assigned responsibility and given reside, as a true green manufacturer.
the resources and support to succeed.
Additionally, relook at the manufacturing These 10 steps are general guides. Survey your
production schedule and ask the question, workers to ask them how the company can make
“Does it make sense to shift some real progress toward a more optimal use of
production from the first shift to the material and human resources. Employees know
second shift or third shift when there is a lot about this topic. Survey your customers and
less demand on the utilities (electric & ask them these same questions. Survey your
gas) and rates are typically lower?” managers and find out not only what their
6. Incorporate “externalities” (e.g., pollution suggestions are, but also identify and promote the
for which a company is not charged, managers who will actively promote
waste of materials and disposal of a sustainability and be willing to be held
product at the end of its life cycle accountable for reaching the sustainability
disposal for which a company is not oriented goals of the company.
charged, etc.) in business decision
7. Demand real progress be made starting
quickly and increasing cumulatively as In today’s recession, a new motto is arising in
the manufacturing concern learns how to manufacturing around the world and especially in
become more sustainable. Utilize the the United States. That motto is: “Change or
heat generated by the manufacturing pain.” The principles of sustainability promote
process to provide supplemental heating the right kind of change that will help existing
to the plant and office areas. manufacturing concerns survive and new
8. Develop plans in three phases: short term manufacturing concerns thrive as they develop
- focused on improvements in the next the new products our consumers need and our
1-3 years, medium term – focused on world requires to promote increased prosperity in
years 4 -10 and long term - ten and a sustainable manner.
twenty year plans for getting closer and
closer to achieving the optimal use of The CEO and the plant manager must be the
material and human resources CSC – Chief Sustainability Cheerleaders.
9. Demand that the supply chain used by the Someone in the company must be held
manufacturing concern adopt and accountable for improving the company every
implement sustainability planning and year towards the goal of the optimal use of
implementation. In order to get the human and material resources for the long run.
While every company will take a somewhat
different tack toward reaching the goal, the basic
strategy for reaching this goal should be very
similar across many manufacturing concerns.
Now is the time for Associations, educational
institutions, and government agencies that seek
to promote the economic improvement and the
longevity of manufacturing in the US and
throughout the world to gather and disseminate
the best practices, hold conferences, educate
workers and managers alike, and set their eyes on
one simple goal – to help manufacturers strive Keith McAslan is the Managing Partner of McAslan
toward the optimal use of human and material Consulting, a consulting firm to businesses
resources for the long run in developing their providing financial restructuring, turnaround
desired product. Company leaders and even management, interim management, business
company employees without significant analysis, merger & acquisition, strategy, finance,
managerial responsibility can help lead this effort accounting and management consulting. Mr.
McAslan’s executive experience includes: 10+
in your company, in your industry, in your
years as a CFO in manufacturing and technology, 3
locale, in your state, in your country, and yes, in
years as a CEO in manufacturing and over 2 ½ years
the world. The time is now for strengthening the
in investment/private equity. He has demonstrated
leadership in improving sustainability in
success leading private, public and private equity
owned companies and can be reached at
About the Authors
Herb Rubenstein is the President of Sustainable
Business Group, a consulting firm to businesses and
individuals in Colorado. He is the author of two
business books, Breakthrough, Inc.: High Growth
Strategies for Entrepreneurial Organizations and
Leadership for Lawyers, and over 100 articles on
business strategy, entrepreneurship, leadership, and
improving how organizations function and deliver
value. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He can also be reached at 303 279-1878. The
website for the Sustainable Business Group is