Your Waste Problem is NOT In Your Skips
I spent another thoroughly enjoyable day yesterday delivering waste awareness sessions for the employees of one of our clients. We used my waste template to develop a simple model of the production process, identify waste streams and then apply ‘The Toddler Test’ – keep asking ‘Why?’ until you can’t answer – to trace those waste streams back to source.
Here are some of the results (translated into generic terms and which you will hear in any manufacturer):
- The quality of suppliers’ components is impacting on our production process and leads to waste.
- Our procurement people are making false economies – bulk buying supplies with short shelf lives which end up getting binned before they are used.
- If we purchased components in the dimensions we need, it would save us money on purchasing, the cutting process and waste disposal.
- Our process needs a redesign to take waste into consideration.
- Our product designs need to take waste into consideration.
You will notice that all of these root causes are some distance (in organisational and, often, geographical terms) from those responsible for filling and emptying skips. We need to see the material in those skips as a symptom of a deeper problem, and not as the problem itself.
Which takes us back to the basic principle that everybody in an organisation – designers, production engineers, buyers etc – needs to understand the impact their job role has on sustainability.