We define Lean(er) Chemical Solutions as: minimizing industrial chemical sourcing, use and disposal by employing Lean and Six Sigma principles for squeezing scrap, waste from each step. Leveraging the US military’s new normal known as the High Velocity Maintenance (HVM) program “to improve the availability of aircraft by reducing the downtime required for programmed depot maintenance” Ecolink works with government and businesses to redefine their relationship with industrial chemicals.

By improving the relationship between resources (i.e. industrial chemicals) used and value delivered is a simple way to align environmental performance and business performance.  How can you improve a product or process to deliver the most benefits to people with fewest tons (pallets, drums, contaminated gallons) of resources? Evaluating the interconnected relationships between materials, method, machine and people involved sometimes exposes hidden costs contributed by embarrassment, ignorance, poor planning, mismatch, distraction of activities and processes not core to your organization’s mission or business model.

How will you be green(er), lean(er) this year? Next year? Five (5) years from now? At Ecolink, our annual Green/Lean resolution for 20 years in service has remained the same: help industry and government create less chemical waste and pollution. We admire the straightforward and simple plea by companies such as Stonyfield Farm leading the way to cut chemicals out of our food. Considering the number and complexity of chemicals found in industrial cleaners, solvents and degreasers, compared to chemicals found in foods it is difficult for ‘non-chemists’ to guess which chemicals are toxic, flammable, volatile, etc.

Measuring sustainability performance needs to measure inputs and outputs and then manage the relationship between these critical factors.  You can measure input in terms of total tons of fuels and materials required to source, produce and ship a product.  Next, think of output as value delivered – not units produced or revenue generated, but value delivered to your organization. Improving the relationship between resources used and value delivered is a simple way to align environmental performance and business performance. 

Ready to use fewer industrial chemicals? We offer numerous lean-to-green alternatives for industrial chemicals. Call 800 563-1305 or email to start shedding inbound clean and outbound dirty industrial chemicals.

Lean(er) chemical solutions are open, clear and transparent.
Examples of public commitments include:

  • Zero landfill pledge
  • Reduce water use, carbon footprint
  • Recycle chemical and solid waste streams
  • Reduce/eliminate waste generation at source
  • Extend (industrial chemical) life cycles
  • Reduce energy consumption

Environmental, Lean, Quality, Six Sigma Management Systems that benefit from Lean(er) Chemical Solutions

AS 4360 Risk Management Standard from Australia ISO 31000
Australian Business Excellence Program Lean to Green
Baldridge National Quality Award National Enforcement Investigation Center (NEIC)
Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) NIST MEP, lean enterprise time wise ™ suite of tools
Compliance-focused EMS (CFEMS) Office Enforcement & Compliance Assurance (OECA)
DOE energy efficiency partnerships OSHAS 18001
EPA Code Environmental Management Principles (CEMP) OSHA VPP Certification
European Foundation for Quality Management Excellence Model (EFQM) PAS 2050 – British standard lifecycle Greenhouse Emitting Gases (GEG)
Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) P2 Technical Assistance
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Six Sigma procedure: define, measure, analyze, improve, control processes (DMAIC)
ISO 14001 5S (Sort = Seri) (Set = Seiton), (Shine = Seiso), (Standardize = Seiketsu), (Sustain = Shitsuke)
ISO 26000  

 

By addressing the ‘now’ with attention to the future, organizations can better manage their risk profile over longer time frames factoring more not less frequent changes to the way industrial chemicals are sourced, used, handled and disposed. There are clear competitive advantages from proactive operational processes instead of reactively responding to impacts. When Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) professionals operate separately (i.e. silo) rather than integrated into your organization’s structure it weakens your ability to leverage process-driven, systems-based activities including: process mapping, resource accounting sheets, Pareto charting, root cause analysis, generating alternative solutions, prioritizing solutions and creating action plans.  

When establishing environmental and quality management program goals we strongly recommend employee involvement at all touch points (sourcing, use, handling, disposal) and ‘visually’ displaying how each part fits into your enterprise-wide mission, vision and values. Facilitators, guides, consultants ensure you have more than one expert and serve as devil’s advocate to generate multiple points of view from a 360° assessment and assigning an ‘acceptable’ level. Balancing your current and future mix of internal and external team members assigned to present vs. future state maps allows you to focus on improving effectiveness of the business and its operational and business processes. For example, preparing a hierarchical process mapping for VOC abatement (especially important in the state of California) will document areas of your operation(s) that are lagging or leading. By building a feedback loop that gets updated regularly – Approach, Deployment, Results, & Improvement (ADRI) – you can prevent chemical-related waste and pollution by utilizing resources as efficiently as possible.

Taming your 8 deadly wastes: defects, over production, waiting, not utilizing people’s creativity, transport, inventory, motion, and excessive processing
Environmental wastes are expensive beyond the financial impact and demand continual improvement. Risk managers select ‘most’ significant improvement opportunities based on your organizations chemical-intensive activities in use by person/zone/area/shift per week. Separating your high soil/high frequency from your low soil/low frequency areas will save you tremendous amounts of money in your chemical handling and disposal fees, especially if you are contracting with Safety Kleen®.

High soil, High volume Low soil, High volume
High soil, Low volume Low soil, Low volume

 

Getting to the Root Cause of Chemical Waste & Pollution
If you only treat the symptoms or effects (high vs. low chemical intensity) you miss the opportunity to go ‘upstream’ to fix the root cause of your chemical waste and associated pollution. Some questions to ask for treating the root cause:

  • How Lean are your organization’s chemical processes?
  • What quantifiable impact do they have on your customers?
  • What quantifiable impact do they have on your employees?
  • What quantifiable impact do they have on your community, neighbors?
  • How do they solve or create a human problem?
  • What share (%) of revenue, payroll do your chemical processes consume?
  • How is your organization measuring its human, social and environmental impacts?
  • Which are leading indicators for your organization?
  • How do those impacts drive (or consume) profit and shareholder value?
  • How are your chemical processes reflected in your existing management practices?
  • Do your vision and metrics support a long-term, comprehensive view of your organization, customers and society?
  • Do all systems for accountability and all processes for making decisions include criteria for bigger profits and a better world?

Developing your own, customized application directory by product, asset and documenting associated chemical processes (before and after change, impacts) highlights existing or potential bottle necks in your operation allowing you to ‘true up’ where you are paying the most bills, affecting most products, people, and/or process. Separating your vital few (80/20) from trivial many (chemicals) explains why materials are in use internally and what are we doing about it externally (i.e. regulators, analyst, insurers).

Have you been fined, cited or experience an employee injury? Bad trends are reversible. Organizations too often fail because old, unchecked paradigms paralyze them. Becoming a paradigm pioneer of low impact chemical processes (material, method, machine and people) is safer, less expensive and more predictable. Utilizing Lean tools such as ‘mistake-proofing’ (poka yoke) help eliminate waste also known as muda in Japanese. Measuring acquisition cost from total cost of ownership (TCO) is visually quantifiable by taking inventory of the contents in your dumpsters and hazardous waste receptacles. For example, Burt’s Bees conducted a dumpster day with their employees and identified a number of ways to eliminate waste and pollution.

Our 90-Day Guarantee – NO CONTRACT
We have perfected a methodology that has saved millions of dollars and millions of tons of solid and hazardous waste from numerous communities. Our engagements are customized to your unique goals, work environment and local/state/national regulations. We offer a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with our results so you have nothing to lose except harmful, wasteful industrial chemicals.  Starting with an intensive one day, on-site consultation we review your 80/20 industrial chemicals for one production or maintenance operation as measured by annual spend to source, use, handle and dispose of and overlay with current and pending environmental, health and safety regulations and hazardous waste profile (small generator, large generator or conditionally exempt). We physically walk 5-10 bottles, cans or drums from point of purchase to application to inventory and finally pick up for landfill, incineration or landfill.  

Asking Why 5 times, we document:

  • single vs. multiple use
  • shelf life
  • storage requirements
  • adherence to internal vs. external requirements (ex: OEM or military specification, mil-spec)
  • method of sourcing (credit card, EDI, mail/fax, pick up in person)
  • vendor profile (large, small business vs. mandatory small business set asides [8A, Hubzone, SDVOSB] or other minority set asides)
  • product labeling
  • product and transportation packaging
  • MSDS for currency and accuracy
  • assess potential impact caused by chemical reaction
  • survey satisfaction from end users
  • verify more than one vendor for each chemical
  • assess current ‘fair’ market value vs. price paid
  • proximity from supplier to your facilities
  • freight rates by class of service (air vs. ground) assigned whether using your and/or their shippers.

Next, we undergo third party testing to assess efficacy and effectiveness for removing soils (greases, oils, carbon) without impacting surfaces (glass, plastic, metal, etc.) and track aspects and impacts both upstream and downstream. Our expert facilitators and technical service providers deliver ongoing coaching and networking supports as well as access to our application directory of best practices accumulated from peers inside and outside your industry. We offer maximum flexibility ranging from a la carte services up to a comprehensive solution or total package to drive out wasted time, money and risk and pollution from your entire chemical lifecycle. Working down from your top 80/20 industrial chemicals ‘by shop, by location’ we continue to tackle your lower volume, lower impact until the law of diminishing returns prohibits positive return-on-investment (ROI). The end result is an improved readiness for your organization to navigate the larger unknown future world of chemical bans, phase-outs and more stringent regulatory standards. Creating a map and inventory of your critical chemical processes allows us to align them and reduce duplication. We publicly account for our progress and results generated as measured by financial, environmental and human health & safety savings and again guarantee our work or you do not pay. Get started by email or calling 800 563-1305. We look forward to winning together.